We all face varying levels of stress in our lives. The difference lies in how we cope with it. While some develop healthy coping mechanisms, others turn to drugs or alcohol in search of relief.
There are 3 different forms of stress:
- Stress from a sudden negative change e.g. being fired from work or getting a divorce
- Stress because of a traumatic event e.g. death or an accident
- Stress from routine everyday events e.g. taking care of a baby or dealing with work
During stressful moments, the body responds in a variety of ways including by increasing the heart rate, spiking blood pressure, increasing the respiration rates and body temperature, and diminishing the need for sleep and food. These changes are meant to help you cope with whatever stressful event you’re going through. While helpful in the short term, these same changes can cause great harm when left to go on for a long time.
The Impact of Drug Abuse on Stress
Stress has long been recognized as one of the risk factors for addiction. When faced with stressful situations, some people turn to drugs and other substances in an attempt to forget, avoid or cope with whatever is going on in their lives.
For instance, taking stimulants may give you the energy to complete more tasks in a short amount of time while taking marijuana may decrease your stress and anxiety levels. Opioids, on the other hand, depress the central nervous system reducing the respiratory rate, lowering blood pressure and body temperature, and inducing relaxation. Sedatives work by depressing the body’s fight or flight response thereby reducing stress and anxiety. Other drugs act on the brain’s reward and pleasure center triggering the release of serotonin and dopamine, resulting in euphoria and a high.
All this explains why it’s easy to turn to drugs when stressed. Simply put, they can make you more relaxed and help you escape reality for a short time.
Unfortunately, when the effect of the drugs wears off, they leave you in worse shape than before. Drug abuse can worsen stress by:
- Preventing you from developing healthy coping skills for stress. This results in your being unable to handle even minor stressors in life.
- Adding to the stress on your body. Taking drugs may make you feel good in the short term but they leave you feeling depressed, anxious, dehydrated, and on edge. This increases your levels of stress.
- Taking drugs can lower your inhibition and affect your impulse control, decision-making, and emotional regulation. This can lead you to do things while under the influence of drugs that you normally wouldn’t do, contributing more to your guilt, shame, and overall stress.
It’s not too late to start over
Don’t allow drug abuse and addiction to ruin your life. Turn a new page by seeking addiction treatment at the Findlay Recovery Center in Ohio. We have you covered whether you’re seeking alcohol addiction treatment or drug addiction rehab. Get in touch with us today and start your life free from addiction.