Here at Vantage Point, abstinence has to do with understanding the mechanisms of coping, and how coping can be a positive influence on your life – or the symptom of an underlying problem, manifested through a negative, or “maladaptive” mechanism. In short – we offer progressive abstinence as a way for you to progress towards the discovery of positive, healthy coping mechanisms while dealing with your mental diagnosis.
As professionals with an interest in helping you find the best way to manage and overcome your illness, coping is a topic very close to our hearts. We all cope with different things in different ways, such as coping with heavy stress, to coping with abuse, coping with trauma, and coping with mental illness. Some coping mechanisms are healthy – others, not so much.
How Coping Works
We’ve been in the industry long enough to know that every case is different – but some things are relatively safe to assume. One of them is that when problems occur or issues arise that the brain isn’t capable of handling on its own, it seeks out coping mechanisms to soften the blow. That’s a natural part of what it means to be human, and it is part of a really complicated line of research called psychopathology.
The issue is how we deal with these problems. Some people resort to utilizing alcohol, prescription drugs and other licit and illicit substances to basically seek out emotional and psychological comfort. Alcohol in moderation is acceptable, and according to some science even healthy – but when used as a crutch to deal with the emotional and mental stresses of a medical diagnosis, it can quickly turn into a very troubling and dominant problem – a maladaptive coping mechanism.
Comparing Maladaptive with Adaptive Coping
The difference between maladaptive and adaptive coping mechanisms lies in how well you function while under the influence of a coping mechanism. Maladaptive coping mechanisms decrease your ability to function whilst temporarily offering stress relief – only to actual reinforce the power of the underlying issue. Basically, they offer temporary relief from a problem without helping you fix it. They can be a behavior or a substance. Take alcohol, for example. Drinking alcohol will help you cope with the stress of your diagnosis, but it won’t improve your situation. Other examples include:
- Social Withdrawal
- Blaming Others
- Prescription Medication
Adaptive coping mechanisms, on the other hand, actively improve your life and double as stress relief. They’re the best way to deal with the stress of a mental disorder and can help you strip away at mental symptoms to reveal the underlying cause of your condition. They include:
- Healthy Cooking
- Healthy Sleep
- Playing an Instrument
- And more
Helping Your Redefine Your Coping Mechanisms
Now don’t get us wrong, the process of discovering “Adaptive” or “Healthier” coping mechanisms is not the holy grail of treatment. Where it is a critical piece of a complex puzzle, a mental condition is often the symptom of a deeper-seated issue, such as a trauma. Without dealing with the root cause, eventually the pain of the issue becomes greater than any coping strategy you throw at it.
Here at Vantage Point, where one of our main goals is to replace all your existing maladaptive coping mechanisms with adaptive ones – our ultimate goal is to build a new character more in alignment with who you want to be so you can participate in the rollercoaster of life all while creating life beyond your wildest dreams.