Stress is an everyday response, which can occur through both positive and negative situations. In some instances, it’s the body and brains response to activate the fight or flight mechanism.
In others, it’s a direct result of an anxious situation. In others, it displays itself through positive, motivating energy. Yet, in a proportion of cases, stress can be chronic, it can be challenging, and it can be consuming.
While stress can be digested and managed for some individuals, only remaining through a singular event or situation, for others, chronic stress can remain, can be felt for a prolonged period of time, and can affect everyday life.
In order to cope with the presence of stress, there are a wide range of recommended coping strategies. However, deviating from such recommendations is substance abuse, a commonly utilised source of escapism and coping, to work through symptoms of stress.
Such connection is sadly very common nowadays, where the toxic and unhealthy relationship of substance abuse and stress has emerged, to the point of addiction and poor mental health.
However, while stress is a causation for substance abuse, can drug and alcohol abuse in fact be a motivator of stress? It also can, down to the trauma, down to the psychological changes, and down to the pressures that substance abuse can place on a person.
Are you struggling with the relationship between substance abuse and stress, standing as a dual diagnosis? If so, no matter to what degree, sourcing support and dual diagnosis treatment here at Asana Lodge will be encouraged.
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Are you suffering from substance abuse and depression and need help? If so, Asana Lodge is a leading UK based expert in Dual Diagnosis Treatment. Find out how we can help by getting in touch with our friendly team today. You can either call our confidential helpline or request a callback by clicking on the below form.
Stress as a causation of substance abuse
Experiencing stressful situations is part and parcel of life. Down to such normalisation, many individuals do believe that coping should be easy.
However, when stress becomes engulfing, over a longer period of time, the idea of coping can be very challenging.
Stress itself can amount for a number of different reasons, where causes of stress range from trauma, to moving house, to arguments and to ill health.
As it’s a fluctuating response to emotional digestion, every individual encounter of stress will be dealt with differently. However, through the paired normalisation of drug and alcohol consumption as sources of relief and relaxation, substance abuse has turned into a common coping strategy.
Unfortunately, while in the midst of a stressful situation, drugs and alcohol may offer relief, greater problems can amount, through the desire of their ongoing presence. This is especially the case for individuals who are experiencing chronic stress, or who are susceptible to addictive tendencies.
With such supportive tendencies attached to drugs and alcohol, in light of suppressing symptoms of stress, especially within the moment, the materialisation of addiction is of high probability.
This unfortunate relationship, of substance abuse and stress, can therefore amount to life-limiting conditions if enabled. If you’re abusing drugs and alcohol to therefore cope with bouts of stress, it’s time to consider the severity of your connection, potentially requiring both substance abuse treatment and stress management input.
Symptoms of chronic stress
Stress can range from mild to chronic, spanning across temporary and permanent scales. However, chronic and/or re-occurring stress is the most impactful on health, quality of life, coping and on risks of behavioural problems, such as substance abuse.
Common symptoms of chronic stress include:
- Sleep problems
- Irritability and anxiety
- Fluctuating weight
- A poor immune system
- High blood pressure
- Changes in behaviours, attitudes, concentration levels and priorities
- Difficulties with managing everyday situations
- Difficulties with acting rationally
- Snapping quickly
- The use of unhealthy coping strategies, such as drugs and alcohol
While stress will display differently in every individual, where it becomes engulfing, physical, and psychological changes will be recognisable.
The impacts of substance abuse on high stress
On the other end of this dual diagnosis, drug and alcohol abuse is such a normalised activity that it’s now a part of everyday life for many individuals. Whether that’s in short but impactful bursts, or through consistent exposure, a reliance on drugs and alcohol can be highly damaging to a user.
One of the biggest damages of substance abuse falls on mental health, including chronic stress. Through the adaptations that drugs and alcohol incur on the brain and body, with a focus on the central nervous system, vulnerabilities and negative emotional responses are common.
Substance abuse and stress can therefore amount through primary consumption, down to the chemical imbalance and messages passed through the body.
Yet, through the development of addiction, from initial substance abuse, stress can also be a response to the consequences of such behaviour, usually linked to money worries, relationship problems and legal concerns.
If you’re abusing drugs and alcohol, it is important to understand the stark reality that substance abuse can cause, not only to your mental health but also to the entirety of your life.
Substance abuse and stress and A dual diagnosis
By considering the above, it’s clear to see how impactful both substance abuse and stress are on one another, as primary conditions and as a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is where a clear connection is present between both conditions, fuelling and intensifying one another.
Managing a balance between both will also be testing, as the rebound effect can be difficult to digest, created through the negative result of substance abuse.
In the midst of a dual diagnosis, it’s important to source suitable support and treatment, to unravel each individual condition, yet with dual benefits.
Treating substance use disorder
Treating substance abuse through appropriate treatment services is a must, to reflect safety and efficiency. Targeting toxic relationships of drug and alcohol abuse must be completed through detoxification, withdrawal efforts and psychological intervention.
Treating stress disorders will mainly be achieved through talking therapies and stress management, working through triggers and achieving a degree of management.
For example, if substance abuse has triggered the response of stress, this will firstly need to be identified, to reduce such exposure, followed by healthy ways of stress management, to reduce the reliance on consumption.
Look to work through substance abuse and stress with our guidance, to improve coping capabilities, recovery capacities and the quality of your reality.