Stress and Addiction

stress and addiction

We, at Granite Mountain Behavioral Health, as well as you know the stereotype of the wealthy, powerhouse, a stockbroker who turns to cocaine to party and relieve stress. There are also the fathers who drink to cope with a job loss, a failing marriage, or other disasters. 

The stereotype of stress-induced substance abuse disorder also includes mothers with difficulty raising children, undiagnosed postpartum depression, and/or job loss as well.  There are children who turn to drugs to cope with living in a dysfunctional family. That is by no means the end of the list of stressful situations that can cause someone to turn to substance abuse. Those are just the most notorious. 

Can Stress Cause Addiction?

No matter the reason stress can fuel addiction and addiction becomes its own separate monster. We, at Granite Mountain Behavioral Health, have methods we can teach you that will not only help you relieve stress but also helps you maintain or start your road to recovery. 

You Don’t Have to be in a Stressful Situation 24/7 to be Affected by Stress

For someone to turn to alcohol and/or drugs the stress in the person’s life does not have to be all-consuming all the time. Someone might have a failing marriage but be doing great work at a rewarding job where they feel more at ease, a student could have been successfully and popular balancing a bad home life with soaring academics until it all comes crashing down, and/or a person who used to support their family gets laid off or injured but still has contact with friends.

Why do People Choose Unhealthy Coping Habits?

If you were taught certain things, whether right, wrong, or neutral, such as certain table manners like a particular way your mother uses her fork, you are likely to find yourself imitating what you were taught if you are not paying close attention. 

Someone who comes from a family that experiences addiction might go to a party where there are few to no non-alcoholic drinks. The person might think about why not and develop a strong taste for alcohol. They might end up only drinking that particular drink casually, enjoys alcohol in general casually, or develop an addiction. If someone if your family has an addiction, it is not guaranteed that you will develop one but the odds are higher. Both nature and nurture can influence behavior, such as addiction.

Why do Some People Turn to Drugs and/or Alcohol to Cope with Stress?

Many people who started abusing substances early in life might not know any other way to cope with stress. For some people who start to abuse substances, that method of coping with stress might have been shown to them at a young age as a ‘norm’ or a normal way that people cope with stress. Just because someone knows that something is not a healthy way to cope with something does not mean that they will not turn to it in times of trouble.

Can Stress-Induced Addiction Be Related to Genetics?

Although the stress of living with a parent or other caregiver who abuses substances might encourage some it does deter others. Addictions are often the product of nature and nurture. There are many cases of children from ‘good families’ who end up addicted because they fell into the ‘wrong crowd’. There are also children who were born to parents who abused drugs and/or otherwise provide a stressful environment that never developed a habit of substance abuse.

Are Some People Born with Addiction Prone Genes?

When someone is born with the genetics to abuse substances, it does not mean that they will. In studies involving twins, scientists have found that the genetics of each twin evolves separately over time. These evolutions can be handed down to their children. People who develop substance abuse might hand those genes down to their children. Stressful situations can put these genes to the test. 

Is Detox Stressful?

Many people who are under a stress instigated or stress worsened addiction disorder have a very hard time detoxifying. The stress of detox adds to the other stresses that are already in the person’s life. However, detoxification is the first step on the road to recovery. 

How long does residential therapy take?

Residential therapy for drug and/or alcohol rehab can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months. It might seem like a long time but that is how long it takes for treatment to work for some people. In and out isn’t always the best approach. If you are enrolled in residential treatment you will have the opportunity to live in a more stress-free environment.

 

What is a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?

In PHP you still get a more stress-free environment than you would living at home full time, but you also get to go home at the end of your therapeutic day. Your day will be structured like it would be in a residential treatment program but you get the freedom of going home at night. 

How is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) different?

During an IOP you are at the clinic for a limited period of time during the week. Some programs require around 9 hours of therapy and other treatment a week. An IOP isn’t right for everyone. It depends on what kind of substance you have been using and for how long.

Can Stress Make It Hard to Stay Sober?

Staying on your path to sobriety can be very challenging in times of extreme stress. Luckily there are a lot of resources that you can use and coping skills that we will teach you here at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare.

Will Exercise Help Me Stay Sober?

When you complete your clinical recovery journey you must take the time to put boundaries in place in your life and live healthfully. If your stress returns then you are at an even greater risk of straying from your road to recovery. Eating healthily and exercise can be a big part of staying healthy, unfortunately, they are also two of the first things to go when someone is under stress.  

What Exercises Help Reduce Addiction-Related Stress? 

Even if it just a ten-minute walk, exercise releases endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These feel-good chemicals in the brain can help people relieve stress. If you do not feel stress relief while exercising try a different type of exercise. Exercise is not limited to treadmills, stair climbers, and weight machines. You can also exercise by, walking, swimming, and yoga. 

Does Addiction Recovery Include Yoga?

Many yoga instructors on the internet will show you how to further your yoga practice if you do not live near a yoga studio, or do not have the time or desire to go to one. Many addiction recovery clinics encourage yoga and teach it as part of their recovery program.

Meditation Can Help You Stay Sober

Many addiction recovery clinics teach meditation. Many scripts like “just this one breath in, just this one breath out” can be used in everyday situations. If you have trouble finding stillness at the moment around people, you can go to the bathroom or another private place to run through the script until you feel ready to go back and deal with the situation. 

You can Leave a Situation that is Threatening your Sobriety

You do not owe anyone an explanation when you need to take measures to safeguard your sobriety if you do decide to explain you can say “I was in the bathroom”, or “I just needed a moment outside” to excuse your absence there is nothing wrong with that. Many people will not question why you were in the restroom. However, if you do not want to explain to you do not have to. Your sobriety is more important than etiquette at any particular time.

Is there a Text Version of a Crisis Hotline?

There are several hotlines available for people to call if they are experiencing an emergency. The most famous hotlines are the poison control hotline and the suicide prevention hotline. There is also a crisis text line if you cannot make a voice call or if you prefer texting. 

What is a Warmline?

Warmlines are meant to prevent an emergency before it happens. On a warmline, you can talk to a caring and compassionate person who is trained to help you. Often people who call warmlines only need a sympathetic ear to listen to their problems. This can sometimes make all the difference. Please do not let your stress drive you back to substance abuse as a way to cope. You do not have to be alone.

Stress can be harmful not only to your general health, but it can put your sobriety in danger. If you are worried that you or a loved one might have an addiction you can contact us at Granite Mountain Behavioral Health by calling us at (877) 338-6287

References

https://psychcentral.com/lib/common-hotline-phone-numbers/

http://warmline.org/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/genetics-epigenetics-addiction

 

Article Reviewed by Gregory Struve

Gregory StruveGreg received a Master’s in Counseling from the Adler Graduate School in 2006. He trained at one of the top trauma and anxiety treatment centers in the world until 2008 when he became a faculty member at Grand Canyon University. From 2011 to 2016 he directed a program that leads the field in terms of innovative treatment of anxiety and trauma. During that time he even made several appearances on A&E’s intervention.