How Stress Can Affect Substance Abuse

 In Addiction

Stress is a regular occurrence in day-to-day living; it is a healthy response to specific triggers that may occur to an individual.  However, if you do not know how to manage the stressors, it could lead to poor health; whether mental physical or emotional.  For some people, the only way to cope is to turn to addictive behaviors like the use of drugs, alcohol, food, among other substances for temporary relief.

Stress and substance abuse; the link

Some studies show that individuals in high-stress jobs are more likely to use alcohol or drugs. A research done in the journal of addiction medicine shows that the stressful situations under which attorneys work will often lead to alcohol abuse.

When facing a stressful situation, the body releases cortisol in more copious amounts.  The result is an increase in sensitivity to pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, poor eating habits, among others. Some people will turn to addictive substances to numb the pain.

Studies show that even those who may have achieved some level of sobriety by overcoming addiction may relapse due to stress.  Those individuals who abuse drugs may have a lower threshold for stress tolerance; the low threshold could explain why an individual may turn to substance abuse while another will not.

Unfortunately, the likelihood that an individual will use the addictive substance only once does not exist. He/she will keep on using the substances and will eventually find that they cannot cope no matter what level of stress the facing. The slightest stressors will have the individual running to the bar or drug dealer for relief.

What the individual does not realize at that particular stage is that by turning to drugs and alcohol, they are creating more problems for themselves. The behavior will also have an impact on the individual’s relationship with family and friends. They are also likely to lose their jobs due to an inability to take care of their responsibilities.

Importance of after-care in dealing with substance abuse

An individual who has gone through the recovery process faces the real possibility of a relapse.  There is a link between cravings for addictive substances and stress.  It is therefore essential that an addict has access to proper after-care.  In-as-much as after-care largely depends on the individual; the support system forms an integral part of abstaining completely.

Family, friends, and professionals have to continue to give their support.  Many addicts do not have the capability of taking care of themselves well. They will, therefore, need assistance in different aspects of their life, including getting a source of money, a place to live among others.  It is, therefore, crucial that they find a way of making a living to build their worth once again. They need support to continue individual and group therapy so that they get tips on how to cope with the daily stressors.

 Tips for coping with stress for a recovering addict

If you are a recovering addict, it is vital that you avoid stress as much as possible.  We will share with you some coping tips that you can apply in your daily life.

Stay positive

Avoid negative thoughts as much as possible so that you can improve your mental health.  Approach the stressors with perspective and maintain a positive attitude at all times. Do not obsess over your situation to avoid overtaxing your mind. Surrounding yourself with positive people is essential so that you can achieve mental and emotional benefits.

Stay active

Exercise is a healthy way of reducing stress, improving your moods, as well as enhancing your physical and emotional state. You will also concentrate better, sleep well, and improve your cognitive functions.

Watch what you eat

Maintaining a proper diet is essential when you are on the road to recovery. Make sure your meals are well-balanced so that you have sufficient energy throughout the day. Avoid anything that may increase anxiety or impact on your moods like caffeine and alcohol.

Keep a journal

Develop a habit of writing down your thoughts and feelings so that you can articulate them better.

Lean on your support system

If you share your problems, you will find that you can handle them better. Sometimes it is not so much about getting a way of coping with the problem, but talking to someone, and having them listen to you can be a great stress reliever. Holding in things can lead to a situation where you get overwhelmed and unable to deal with whatever you’re going through.

 Final thoughts

Researchers have shown the link between substance abuse and stress.  It is, therefore, important that a recovering addict price as much as possible to minimize stress. While it is not possible to eliminate it 100%, some coping skills can help.    Do not forego the therapy sessions and continue to lean on your support system so that they become the people you turn to during stressful situations. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, reach out to us at Victory Detox Center. Contact us today to speak to an addiction professional.

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