Stress and Addiction
What is Stress?
Stress and addiction are closely intertwined. Stress is a natural reaction to the changes in your environment. Your body can react both emotionally and physically.
The changes can affect you in different ways. You may have shortness of breath. It can feel like your heart is beating out of your chest. Others experience an overwhelmingly negative feeling in their gut. This feeling is the fight or flight response.
Your brain produces cortisol, which is a steroid hormone that helps your body respond to stress. Long-term elevated levels of this hormone can cause many health issues. There are many things you can do to help alleviate stress.
You can learn how to manage the stress in your life.
Learn How Stress and Addiction Are Related
The Role of Stress in Addiction
Stress is often the motivator behind addiction. Research acknowledges that stress is an important predictor of addiction and relapsing. Many people who seek treatment for substance abuse started before the age of 17.
During this period in a teen’s life, the brain is still developing. Drug use at a young age limits their future ability to overcome strong emotions. The resilience that is needed to deal with stress and trauma is underdeveloped. Addiction is not a personal choice or a moral failure.
The foundation of addiction is often built on stress and trauma. It is a conditioned response to serious life events and the social environment. Using drugs may start partly because of stress.
However, substance use disorders are much more complicated. Learning to deal with stress can help you stop using drugs.
Call Today To Learn About Stress and Addiction
Effects from Stress and Addiction
The long-term activation of the stress-response system is not good for your mind, body, and spirit. Being exposed to cortisol and other stress hormones disrupts your body’s processes. Many turn to drugs as a way to temporarily alleviate the stress that builds up. Stress is a key contributor to addiction.
Prolonged stress responses change your brain chemistry, and people seek to find an outlet to relieve themselves from stress. This outlet is where addictive patterns begin. When you are stressed out, it is difficult to make healthy decisions. We want it to end quickly. However, you have to learn to deal with the stresses in life productively and healthily. Turning to drugs to deal with stress will only lead to addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Everyone will experience stress and process it differently. Stress has an impact on your mental health and emotional well-being if not treated. Prolonged levels of the stress hormone will lead to a myriad of health issues. When it begins to affect your life, you need to take action. There are many indications that stress is affecting your health.
The following are all indications of not handling stress:
- Inability to concentrate
- A constant sense of unease or worry
- Mood swings or irritability
- Unable to relax
- Low self-esteem
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Using alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs to relax
- Aches and pains, particularly muscle tension
Your Mental Health, Stress, and Addiction
When left untreated, chronic stress can change your brain chemistry. Along with alcoholism and drug addiction, stress can be unbearable for some. It can feel like you are losing your mind when you cannot process the stress in your life.
You may seek out a way to handle stress in unhealthy ways such as alcohol and drugs. Untreated stress can lead to addictive behaviors. You may think that drugs and alcohol relieve your stress in the beginning. However, you will find yourself turning to this solution over and over. It does not matter if it is “moral” or “right” or starts to cause problems.
The addiction becomes the dysfunctional way of calming down your mind when you experience stress. In the process, your brain begins to change in ways that make stress and addiction harder to deal with.
The Solution for Stress
You cannot avoid stress; it is a natural part of your body’s response to your environment. You cannot ignore it either. There are many ways to help alleviate acute symptoms of stress. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to take the time to breathe. Stress is a part of life; however, many techniques can help you process it healthily. When you also have an addiction problem, you will need medical care to treat both conditions. Stress can motivate you to get the help you need. An addiction treatment center is the first step you need to take. Here you can find help to unlearn behaviors and find better-coping strategies. You can live a life with stress and deal with it in healthy ways. It first starts with finding the right help and supportive care.
Successful Treatments for Stress and Addiction
Living with chronic stress is not fun. Throw in addiction, and it is a recipe for disaster. There is hope! Learning how to cope with stress is possible. There are many different approaches to treat both stress and addiction.
The first step will be to detox your body from the drugs. The process is stressful. You cannot avoid stress, but you can reduce the amount with the right treatment plan. Undoubtedly having a supportive team makes all the difference in recovery.
The appropriate level of care will depend on your drug of choice. Many different health issues go along with addiction. The safest way to detox from drugs and alcohol is through a medical detox rehab.
Stress itself is not all bad. The good stress adequately prepares us to take action. Not enough stress, you are not likely to be motivated enough to take action. Too much stress, and we stiffen up and lose our minds.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) first takes a comprehensive assessment of the stress you experience. This therapy aims to show how your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all connected. From there, you will learn how to change your reactions to manage stress better.
CBT techniques can allow you to have hope that change is possible and within your control. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an effective treatment. Be patient with yourself because it takes time to master the necessary skills needed for sustainable recovery sufficiently. It is all worth it when you can apply your lessons to real-life situations.
Recovering from Addiction
When you are ready to stop using drugs, addiction treatment is the solution. The path to recovery is different for everyone. The appropriate level of care can typically range from inpatient to outpatient treatment.
For those with an alcohol addiction, it is important to detox under direct supervision. Stress from withdrawal can be unpleasant. Some medications can help you deal with withdrawing from addictive substances. The safest way to stop using drugs is with a licensed treatment center that offers comprehensive care.
Find Out How Stress and Addiction Are Linked
Living Stress and Addiction Free
When you have hit the point that you need help, reach out to Resurgence Behavioral Health. Addiction is a chronic and recurring disorder. This is why our treatments revolve around teaching lifelong behavioral health skills.
A lifetime of stress and addiction can tax your body, mind, and overall well-being in many ways. We understand how stress contributes to the addiction cycle. If you genuinely want help to get off the addiction carousel, we can help you.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer comprehensive care. We will cover all your health care needs. To get started, we offer online insurance verification. Give us a call today.