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What Are Self-Destructive Behaviors?

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Self-destructive behaviors fundamentally affect an individual’s daily life, impacting their perceptions of self-worth to the use of addictive substances like drugs or alcohol. Self-destructive behaviors encapsulate a wide array of different actions, and there is no single way in which these behaviors can manifest. 

For some, these behaviors can be overt, while others may occur without an individual realizing it. Those navigating mental health disorders, addiction, or even stress can engage in these behaviors subconsciously, which further complicates their health. 

Self-Destructive Behaviors

Self-destructive behaviors are any kind of behavior, whether conscious or subconscious, that an individual does that result in personal negative consequences. These detriments can be physical or emotional in nature, each with its own effects. For some, these self-destructive behaviors can be frequent and habitual, and they may engage in them without being cognizant of their ramifications. Others may be isolated events or happen infrequently. Even infrequent self-destructive behaviors can have large implications on one’s physical and mental health.

The Importance of Identifying Self-Destructive Behaviors

There is a myriad of reasons that make identifying and changing self-destructive behaviors beneficial for a person’s physical and emotional health. For some, these behaviors compromise their mental health, introducing feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, guilt, and self-doubt, each of which is incredibly difficult to process. These feelings can be very intense. Without identifying the source of why one feels this way, challenging these feelings and engaging in effective recovery strategies is exceptionally difficult. 

Others may address these behaviors to facilitate recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The emotional trials caused by self-destructive behaviors can cause an individual to attempt to self-medicate with the use of these destructive substances. Addiction can exacerbate these negative feelings, and even cause an individual to become trapped in a cyclic situation where self-destructive behaviors beget the use of addictive substances. These substances then facilitate more self-destructive behaviors. Breaking this cycle requires an individual to identify these behaviors and change them for the sake of both their emotional health and sobriety. 

Overcoming addiction while engaging in these self-destructive behaviors can also be incredibly difficult as an individual may compromise coping strategies or introduce unnecessary negative feelings into an already difficult recovery journey. Whether one is looking to stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors for the sake of sobriety or mental health, identifying these behaviors is the first step toward creating a healthy, positive recovery strategy. 

Physical Behaviors

Physical self-destructive behaviors can be the most apparent and have negative implications for one’s physical and mental health. Some examples of these self-destructive behaviors can be:

  • Self-harm, such as cutting or burning
  • Excessive risk-taking, such as unsafe driving habits
  • Unsafe sexual practices
  • Binge eating
  • Use of drugs and alcohol

These kinds of self-destructive behaviors can be conducted either directly at the detriment of one’s physical self, or they can be done with disregard for one’s physical well-being even if a direct injury is not incurred. Those engaging in these kinds of self-destructive behaviors may do so knowing the risks, but find themselves compelled to engage anyway for a number of reasons. These kinds of behaviors can stem from a variety of sources, such as depression, anxiety, guilt, or trauma, but can continually inform how one perceives their own self-worth and value. 

Emotional Behaviors

Self-destructive behaviors that directly affect one’s emotional state can be difficult to identify and often occur without an individual realizing it. These types of behaviors can include:

  • Self-derogatory language, such as belittling one’s own intelligence or appearance
  • Changing one’s looks or actions to please others at the cost of personal stress or wishes
  • Confrontational, defensive, or otherwise distancing language
  • Self-pity
  • Admitting guilt for things out of one’s control
  • Isolationist tendencies
  • Excessive procrastination
  • Excessive doubt in one’s abilities or attributes

These kinds of self-destructive behaviors directly affect one’s emotional state, introducing crippling doubt, anxiety, depression, or other negative feelings.

The Importance of Professional Recovery

Considering how these self-destructive behaviors compromise one’s emotional state and facilitate the use of addictive substances, professional recovery programs are necessary. Recovery is not just about learning to cease a person’s use of addictive substances, but understanding the reasons behind their use and making lifestyle changes to facilitate a healthy, sober routine. This means addressing the use of addictive substances and the underlying mental health disorders or self-destructive behaviors that may compromise one’s health, self-care, and mentality throughout addiction recovery. 

Professionally trained staff are necessary not just to help an individual overcome addiction throughout detox, residential, and outpatient care, but also to help those in recovery identify these self-destructive behaviors. They can help individuals make the necessary changes to create a new perspective on their own lives, self-worth, and confidence. 

Identifying self-destructive behaviors and mental health disorders is a part of effective recovery, and we at Pacific Sands Recovery Center, located in beautiful Santa Ana, CA, are prepared to help you understand how these things impact your use of addictive substances. We offer a comprehensive approach to recovery, addressing not just the use of addictive substances, but helping you make the transformations necessary to facilitate a healthy, sober lifestyle, free from self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. From detox and residential care to ongoing outpatient treatment, we can personalize your time with us each step of the way, helping you transition towards your sober goals and milestones. From trusted professionals to a supportive community of like-minded peers, we are ready to help you take your first step today. To learn more about how we can help you, call us today at (949) 426-7962.

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