Stress and Addiction

Nearly everyone has felt the effects of stress before. From children in school to adults at work, stress has affected the lives of most individuals. It can be difficult to deal with stress in a healthy and effective way. Some individuals struggle to do so and turn to unhealthy coping methods instead. They may begin to use drugs or alcohol in order to deal with the effects of stress in their lives. As a result, they may begin to suffer from a dangerous dual diagnosis of stress and addiction.

Unfortunately, an inability to deal with stress often leads to substance abuse. Eventually, those who began to depend on alcohol or drugs for stress-relief find themselves using these substances more often than they used to. As time goes on, these individuals may begin to find it difficult, nearly impossible, to control their substance use habits. They may begin drinking excessively or using prescription or illicit drugs uncontrollably. 

These substance use habits often create problems in relationships, at work, and in most other areas of life. This can lead individuals to feel even more stressed and guilty about their substance use. Thus, addiction actually worsens the effects of stress. 

If you’ve been dealing with stress and addiction, the best thing you can do is reach out for help. Professional treatment can help you to detox from substance use. Through therapy, you can develop relapse prevention skills, including stress management methods. 

The Effects and Symptoms of Chronic Stress

Stress is defined as an emotional experience that often leads to behavioral changes. It also affects one’s cognitive behaviors and thought processes. Stress is uncomfortable and usually causes individuals to feel unsettled and much less than satisfied. Often, stress is described as a feeling of being afraid, overwhelmed, uncertain, or tired.

People may experience stress when they are going through difficult situations. Sometimes, people feel stressed when they are at work or trying to solve a problem. Stress also affects people who are having problems in their relationships or with family. Financial struggles can also lead to intense stress.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of stress include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Pain in the chest
  • Lack of motivation
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Isolation and social withdrawal

Stress can cause people to behave and feel differently than normal. They may feel overwhelmed and tired more often. Some individuals might even become angry more easily or even become violent.

Again, most people deal with stress at some point in life. But, some of these symptoms may be more intense and persistent for some individuals. This may be the case in the lives of those who have what is known as “chronic stress”. This is recurring stress that affects people consistently and, in some cases, severely. Those who suffer from chronic stress encounter stress frequently and feel its effects in many areas of their lives.

If chronic stress goes untreated, people may begin to suffer from very serious symptoms as stress can cause depression, issues with digestion, and even heart problems.

Sometimes, people use prescription medications to help them deal with stress. They may use tranquilizers to help settle their nerves. Others may use alcohol in order to “unwind”. In some cases, individuals may use illicit drugs in order to “get high” (experience euphoria).

Relying on any of these substances for relief can cause individuals to become physically and emotionally dependent on alcohol or drugs. People who use these substances for stress relief may develop addiction problems, which can cause even more problems.

Understanding the Connection Between Stress and Addiction

The combination of stress and addiction occurs more often than many people realize. In many situations, stress leads directly to addiction. Individuals who struggle with stress on a regular basis may have difficulty responding to or managing their stress. As a result, substance use becomes their way of self-medicating.

Not only is excessive drug and alcohol use physically harmful, but it’s also emotionally harmful and can cause individuals to experience more intense and serious symptoms of stress. 

Addiction can cause problems in people’s relationships with their friends, family members, spouses, and colleagues. It can cause individuals to become less socially active and withdrawn from their loved ones. Stress can cause these same things to occur. So, when stress and addiction are combined, the effects of each problem are increased and intensified. 

Stress and addiction are both very difficult to overcome. Thankfully, however, there is help for those who are suffering from these problems. 

Treatment for Addiction and Co-Occurring Problems

Here at Northbound Treatment Services, we understand the difficulties and challenges that come with trying to end addiction. We know that recovery can be even more difficult when an individual is dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other such issues.

The symptoms of stress can be debilitating. They can alter the lives of those who are struggling with stress and make day-to-day life more challenging than it is for others. Just getting out of bed in the morning can become an overwhelming challenge. Going to work or tending to regular responsibilities can be hard when you’re dealing with extreme stress.

Addiction can make the effects of stress even more difficult to handle. This is why it’s so important to seek help from professionals who understand what you’re going through. A treatment program can help you to overcome drug or alcohol abuse and develop healthy ways to address and work through triggers such as stress.

At Northbound, we’re dedicated to helping our clients find peace and healing. We truly believe that each of our clients deserves freedom from addiction and its effects on their lives. We’re committed to helping each individual find their way to recovery using the treatment approaches that work best for them. 

If you or someone you know has been dealing with stress and addiction, you know that it’s not easy to overcome these issues. But, with the right kind of help and guidance, you can overcome these problems for good. 

To learn how we can help, please call (855) 858-6803 today, or reach out to us here.

Additional Dual Diagnoses We Treat

Addiction and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. Treating one and not the other is ineffective. It’s paramount for an addiction treatment center to identify co-occurring disorders and to treat them in tandem with the addiction.





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