The Dangerous Relationship Between Stress and Addiction

Stress and addiction are intricately intertwined. Often, individuals engage in substance abuse as a means of coping with stress, which ends up creating more stress in their lives. 

Here are four ways stress and addiction are related:

1 – Stress makes the brain vulnerable to addiction.

Individuals with more stress in their lives may face an elevated risk for developing an addiction. Research indicates that stress can change the brain in a way that increases a person’s vulnerability to addiction.

2 – Childhood stress can cause addiction later in life.

Stressful experiences from one’s childhood may contribute to the development of addiction. Childhood emotional stress resulting from events such as abuse, negligence, hospitalization, and poverty are risk factors for addiction as well as other co-occurring conditions involving depression and anxiety.

3 – Drug abuse exacerbates the stress in a person’s life. 

A lifestyle of drug abuse also causes a person to face many stressful experiences. Addiction typically creates volatility in all areas of a person’s life, including their relationships, job, finances and overall well being. 

4 – Substance use withdrawal is stressful.

Withdrawal or the threat of withdrawal can also cause someone to feel stressed, increasing their drive to use.

Coping Mechanisms for Stress

Although stress is an inevitable part of life, there are alternative ways to overcome stress. Rather than relying on drugs and alcohol to cope with stress, which just results in more stress, you can practice healthy coping skills such as mindfulness, exercise, hobbies, and social interaction — among others. 

Help for Addiction Exacerbated by Stress at Wasatch Crest

Many of Wasatch Crest’s team members have also faced addiction. With their first-hand experience, they can help you discover alternative healthy means of coping with stress while also helping heal your addiction. Reach out to us to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.

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