Health & Wellness

SPECIAL BUSINESS HEALTH EDITION: Do You Turn to Drugs or Alcohol When Stress Sets In?


One of the real dangers of too much stress in your life is the possibility of turning to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and other bad habit-forming substances for relief. At the end of the day, stress isn’t eradicated – it only gets worse.

During decades of the past, addiction to a substance was thought to be the result of the strong, almost magical, powers that the substance had over the person. Research has since shown that stress may be the link between becoming addicted or not.

Many people don’t become addicted to addictive substances such as alcohol or drugs, while others become powerless under their use. Other forms of addiction include gambling, sex, shopping, computer and even eating.

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Stress is a big component in the way people react to addictive substances or other forms of addiction. When attempting to deal with stress, some people turn to anything that will give them temporary relief – that can be drugs or something else.

Unfortunately, the relief that comes from dealing with stress through behavior patterns or addictive substances is short-lived and the person requires more to cope. Survivors of child abuse often become addicts because of their need to cope with memories by burying them with their addiction.

With the addiction comes more stress until it becomes a vicious cycle and more substance or acting out an addictive behavior is required. The physical and psychological effects of the addictions begin to set in – causing withdrawal issues - and help is usually required to break the addiction completely.

Stress isn’t the only cause of addiction, but it plays a significant role for some people. The importance of stress-management is imperative in both preventing the initial addiction and to relapsing because of too much stress.

Research has found that stress alone can cause drug and behavior relapses by identifying that stress may block certain regions of the brain that are crucial to keeping relapses from happening. 

These neural areas of the brain are currently being studied to learn exactly why and how the presence of stress in a person’s life causes a person to be more susceptible to drug addiction.

This new research advance is a significant breakthrough for finding a medication that could relieve those struggling with addiction of any type. Until then, stress relief techniques continue to be the best way to handle too much stress in your life.

Self-medication of stress by turning to alcohol or other addictive substances may produce calm nerves for a while, but are sure to eventually take a toll on your body and mind.

If you’re under a great deal of stress from work or just a busy lifestyle, learn various stress-management techniques that can help you cope with stress before turning to methods that are dangerous to your well-being – and your life.


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