Stress and addiction: Filtering stress in 2020

Stress Brain

Stress and Addiction: Filtering Stress

Stress is a constant in everyday life. Some are able to manage it well and others turn to substances that worsen the situation with time. It is known that stress can alter the brain making it more susceptible to substance abuse. Yet, we have a culture that promotes high levels of stress–in careers, finances, schools, and even family. Addiction counselors often cite substance abuse as a symptom of a larger issue; usually stress, depression, or anxiety. Addiction can often be a coping mechanism in order to survive daily stressors or anxiety attacks. 

other factors

There are many forms of addictive behaviors such as shopping, internet use, sex, gambling and even caffeine. These activities are all common indulgences that provide solace. It becomes an addiction when the activity or lack thereof interrupts daily living or ability to function. It may start as a temporary relief from stress, but in some cases, more is required to maintain relief. In the case of substance abuse, because drug use brings on other stressors, more of the addictive substance is needed to alleviate further stress. While stress is not the only precursor/cause of drug use and abuse, it one that isn’t acknowledged often enough.

Due to the lack of conversation surrounding stress and addiction, there isn’t a focus on managing stress levels in order to overcome addiction. We are aware that although stress doesn’t single-handedly cause drug use, it is important to address it in recovery. Learning to manage stressors can be key to prevent relapse or addiction in the first place. 

stress relief

Here are A few other tips include: 

  1. Participating in stress relieving activities like yoga, weight-lifting, or other physician activities
  2. Writing down thoughts/feelings and processing the root of your stressors
  3. Talking with close friends
  4. Joining a support group and knowing when to get professional help

For more information, check out this blog on tips to cope with isolation during a pandemic

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Steadyhand Recovery is an Addiction treatment Clinic offering rehab services in the greater Philadelphia area to help those with opioid dependencies master their addictions and change their life’s narrative for the better. Call now to speak with one of our addiction specialist and start your road to recovery today.