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Chronic Stress And Drug Abuse

Addiction and substance abuse disorders affect millions of people every day. Most people are aware that we have been experiencing an opioid epidemic for the last 20 plus years. Well, it’s not only opioids at epidemic levels; it’s drugs and alcohol in general. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reports that in 2020 there were over 93,000 people who died from a drug overdose. This number had increased almost 30% from 2019 when over 72,000 people suffered a drug overdose fatality. Everyone knows that we have been experiencing a pandemic with the arrival of the Coronavirus in 2020. This pandemic has caused drug overdose rates to increase substantially. So why are more and more people having issues with drug abuse? Stress, people are undergoing a lot of extra stress.

What Is Chronic Stress?

Chronic stress is a consistent sense of feeling overwhelmed and pressured over a long period of time. Symptoms of chronic stress can include aches and pains, weakness, trouble sleeping, unfocused thinking, and less socialization. Chronic stress can negatively impact a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can be caused by such things as everyday pressures, work, family issues, or traumatic situations.

Correlation Between Chronic Stress and Drug Abuse

Chronic stress occurs when the body experiences a stressor or stressors with intensity and frequency, and the autonomic nervous system cannot activate a relaxation response. This causes the body to stay in a constant state of arousal. Many people cannot cope with chronic stress, so they self-medicate by using substances. Stress, in general, is a key risk factor for drug use, addiction, and substance abuse disorders. The National Institute of Health Annals of New York Academy of Sciences “Chronic Stress, Drug Use, and Vulnerability to Addiction” says:

There is substantial literature on the significant association between acute and chronic stress and the motivation to abuse addictive substances. Many of the major theories of addiction also identify an important role of stress in addiction processes. These range from psychological models of addiction that view drug use and abuse as a coping strategy to deal with stress, to reduce tension, to self medicate, and to decrease withdrawal-related distress, to neurobiological models that propose incentive sensitization and stress allostasis concepts to explain how neuroadaptations in reward, learning, and stress pathways may enhance craving, loss of control, and compulsion, the key components in the transition from casual use of substances to the inability to stop chronic use despite adverse consequences, a key feature of addiction. (NLM)

Combining chronic stress with substance abuse is dangerous. But, unfortunately, chronic stress is one of the most common reasons why people in recovery from addiction have major setbacks; it is a huge trigger.

Chronic Stress And Drug Abuse Statistics

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says chronic stress can increase the chances of using drugs. People exposed to stress are more likely to use mind-altering substances. Experiencing chronic stress can also increase the likelihood of developing an addiction problem.

What Treatment Are Available For Chronic Stress?

If chronic stress has caused you significant distress and impaired your ability to function normally, and you have started abusing substances, seek out professional help immediately. Treatment can help you develop healthier coping skills and find ways to lower your stress levels. Psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, and medications are available to help you. Chronic stress can also often be managed using self-help approaches like stress management techniques.

Evoke Wellness at Cohasset Has Specialists Ready to Help with One Phone Call

Evoke Wellness at Cohasset offers evidence-based addiction treatment to cater to each patient’s individual needs. Our solution-focused treatment provides men, women, and families integrated and comprehensive care geared towards leading you on the road to long-lasting recovery. At Evoke Wellness at Cohasset, our primary goal is to make your treatment experience as comfortable as possible. If you are having issues with any substances, let us help you. Our specialists and professionals are highly qualified and supportive and will help you start today’s recovery journey. Recovery today for a better tomorrow.