The Relationship Between Stress and Drug Abuse

Posted on: December 18, 2020 by in Addiction
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We all experience stress in our lives. Whether the stress comes from our work places, families, or somewhere else, everyone can relate to feeling stressed from time to time.

Stress is our body’s response to events or changes, both good and bad. When we feel stress, our brain tends to use a “fight-or-flight” reaction. These reactions can involve:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Blood pressure spikes
  • Increased respiration rates
  • A reduced need for sleep or food

Stress is not always a good thing to have and can have several different negative effects on the mind and body, including:

  • Back pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anger and hostility
  • Irregular heart functions and heart disease

There are some healthy ways to counter the effects of your body due to stress.

  • Exercise
  • Eat well
  • Slow down
  • Take breaks
  • Relax muscles
  • Practice deep breathing

However, not everyone can be deal with stress in a healthy way; for some, it can increase their odds of using drugs. Drugs can create chemical changes in your brain involving impulse control, decision making, happiness, and stress management. Depressant drugs slow down the heart rate and body temperature, creating a relaxing and sedative state and reducing the stress and anxiety you feel. Individuals suffering from a high level of stress might use drugs to manage these symptoms. The drugs can cause a spike in your body’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, causing your brain to want to keep that state of mind and therefore creating a drug dependency.

If you or a loved one are using drugs to cope with any type of stress in your life, take time to talk to a friend or family member or doctor. Opening up can be difficult but it can help you to get the help you need. It is important to know that you are not alone.

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