Many people resort to certain substances such as alcohol or drugs for a variety of reasons. Young individuals often start experimenting with these drugs because of curiosity or peer pressure. However, stress is a problem for a large number of people, and it is one of the reasons why many people misuse alcohol or drugs.
People’s physical and emotional well-being is negatively impacted by stress. Those who are unable to cope with stress in a constructive and productive manner may seek temporary solace via alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, people who self-medicate with alcohol or drugs run the danger of developing a variety of additional issues, including addiction, which will exacerbate their difficulties.
Ironically, it may also be that drug addiction can worsen the impact of stress, the very thing it was meant to relieve. This is why professional treatment is always the best course of action.
How Is Addiction Related to Stress?
Stress may lead to drug use, but drug use can also lead to stress. Certain substances, such as cocaine, amphetamines, alcohol, and nicotine, stimulate not just the reward pathways but also the stress pathways in the brain. Drug and alcohol withdrawal can also trigger physiological stress reactions.
Living in active addiction is, of course, a recipe for stress. Addiction often brings with it challenges that might exacerbate a person’s stress, such as:
- Health Issues
- Financial Setbacks
- Relationship Discontent and/or Conflict
- Instability in the Family
- Unwanted Pregnancy
Stress is also a risk factor for relapse in persons in recovery from addiction, after which expert help will certainly be required.
How Do Drugs Make Stress Worse?
According to studies on the brain – perhaps the body’s most misunderstood organ – persons who are stressed are more prone to misuse alcohol or other drugs or to relapse into drug addiction.
Signs of Self-Medicating
Self-medicating refers to efforts to cope with depression, pain (physical or mental), or powerful emotions without the aid of a doctor by using medicines (prescription or otherwise), alcohol, and other substances. To self-medicate, you do not need to be diagnosed with a medical problem. You might be self-medicating simply as a reaction to the stresses of ordinary life.
What are some of the signs that you or someone you know might be self-medicating?
- Avoiding family, friends, social gatherings, and other activities
- An abrupt shift in one’s interests or who one spends time with
- Secrets concerning how one spends one’s time
- Ignoring bodily needs, such as washing or eating
- Having problems at work, school, or in other areas
- Anger out of nowhere
- Because of the high expense of alcohol and drugs, you may be experiencing new or unexpected financial difficulties
Why Is It Dangerous To Self-Medicate With Alcohol Or Drugs?
It is never a good idea to consume alcohol or use medications to feel better. Self-medicating with chemical substances can – and usually will – result in a variety of problems, not the least of which is addiction. Those suffering from alcohol or drug addiction risk losing their friends, families, careers, fortune, and houses. Substance abuse may help a person feel better in the short term, but if it persists, it will compound difficulties. Those who are forced to take drugs or use alcohol will be unable to live regular, healthy lives. They will struggle to keep a career, and their relationships may suffer as the effects of the addiction begin to influence others in their life.