What is the Connection Between Addiction and Stress?

What is the Connection Between Addiction and Stress?

Central nervous system is responsible for many things in our bodies. When we use drugs, it changes the way it responds and interacts with our environment, not to mention what is going in the body. Drugs change the brain and how it regulates emotion and manages stress. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels increase when some drugs enter the system. It can depress the body’s ability to react to certain things and create a potential for abuse. Learn more about the connection between addiction and stress and ways to cope better without use of substances.

Chronic Stress

People who deal with chronic stress often turn to drugs or alcohol as away to cope. They may try other things like shopping or food, but quite often substances are the way people manage symptoms of stress, cope with life, and work to control their environment. While trying to escape stress, a person may be creating more of it in their lives when their bodies and brains become addicted.

Stress Response

When the body and brain are under stress, it can prove difficult to function at an optimal level. High levels of stress can create high levels of cortisol, or stress hormone, in the brain. Parts of the brain that focus on memory, cognition, and learning, can suffer under the weight of stress and the added cortisol as it floods into the brain. It was never meant to function in this way, for long periods of time. Since people are living longer, with more stress, it seems more likely than ever people will turn to some outside source for relief.

Mental Illness

One of the biggest risk factors for addiction and stress is mental health issues. Drugs are just one way people cope with stress, but when mental illness is present, it also heightens that awareness. Anxiety and depression may cause someone who battles mood or anxiety disorder to suffer from addiction at some point in their journey. PTSD is one instance where people turn to substances because it is so traumatic, even disabling, to suffer from the effects of flashbacks and painful memories that feel like they have no off-switch.

Stress Management

In order to manage stress better in a person’s life, they need techniques that help them focus on developing a better quality of life. They also need to get treatment for co-occurring disorders and substance abuse issues. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating healthy foods (less sugar and caffeine), and mindfulness are all key to the journey of recovery for people with addiction. Connecting with friends, family, and outside hobbies from work can elevate a person’s mood and help them feel less isolated in the struggle. Rehab can provide a pathway to get well and learn how to cope more effectively with stress so that they may lead a long, healthy life while finding hope amidst their struggles.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.