People experiencing depression may engage in negative coping strategies -- including excessive alcohol consumption and drug use -- to drum up the emotions that have gone missing from their lives.
Lethargy, low self-esteem, and problems concentrating or making decisions create an environment in which negative coping strategies can seem easier to pursue than positive ones.
Some people describe depression as emotional numbness. They struggle to feel happiness, hope, courage, pride, or any number of emotions that make life enjoyable. To handle this lack of emotions, some individuals engage in risky behavior.
Suicidal thoughts -- another effect of depression -- also tend to take away an individual's normal inhibitions regarding risky behavior. Both suicidal thoughts and risky behavior can quickly put a depressed person in harm's way.
Examples of risky behaviors include:
- Reckless driving
- Unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Criminal activity such as theft, vandalism, and trespassing
- Uncharacteristic thrill-seeking activities like climbing a roof, tree, or mountain without safety equipment.