The Role of Stress in Drug Addiction

Stress has an impactful role in life. Personal responses, the type of stress and its strength can all affect how impactful it actually is. On average, stress is manageable and reduces once threats and pressures decrease. Yet for some it can be chronic, debilitating and challenging to control.

The emotions, thoughts, and responses that stress creates, alongside the internal changes that it influences can make chronic stress very difficult to deal with. It’s also influential across the quality of life, known to increase the risk of physical and psychological illness and negative behaviours.

Found to play a significant role in initial drug abuse, and also the development of addiction, stress is an influential condition, which can result in co-occurring disorders. With the chance to develop into a drug addiction, dual diagnosis treatment will be essential to complete, through drug rehab, to break the relationship of both disorders.

The role of stress in drug addiction can be engulfing for some, causing chronic stress and relapsing habits of drug abuse. Here’s some insight into their relationship, along with the type of treatment you can complete here at Asana Lodge.


What are the causes of a Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction can begin for a multitude of reasons. Initial use will be a conscious decision, to try a drug and experience its effects. However, paired with such a decision, a cause can turn irregular use into frequent, habit-like consumption.

Environments can cause a drug addiction, those which are influential, toxic, and accepting of consumption are usually prevalent. Genetics can also increase the risks of mental health and behavioural conditions.

Social pressures and settings are also heavily linked to unhealthy consumption, from norms to influential relationships. Trauma, pre-existing mental health issues and the reward of consumption can all turn consumption into abuse. Stressful situations, diagnoses of chronic stress and high-stress lifestyles can also influence a pattern in consumption.

In some cases, once initial use has been experienced, it will ease the cause. For example, mental health symptoms can easily suppress through consumption, helping the mind relax. Mental health symptoms will reduce in the short term, due to consumption. If this process continues, offering a reward, the central nervous system will be affected, adjusting messaging throughout the brain.

This reaction can turn into taught behaviour, making the brain and body crave drug exposure to stabilise mental health. Yet by doing so, an addiction can develop, alongside stronger symptoms of mental illness.


The Role of Stress in Drug Addiction

The role of stress in drug addiction is very similar to the above. It triggers the use of drugs, to block out the negative feelings that stress usually causes. Somebody suffering from stress is more likely to rely on drugs due to the response that they offer the mind.

Specific drugs, such as stimulants, antidepressants and alcohol are found to offer short term relief of stress. Anxiety, irritability, and insomnia are all examples of symptoms, indicating chronic stress. Drugs are found to reduce their strength, regularity, and impacts, instead of rewarding the brain.

Due to the rewarding nature of drug abuse, stress plays a significant role in the development of addiction and how it cements itself as a habit. Once a tolerance develops, and drug exposure is required to function, drug addiction can develop.

If drugs are used as a coping strategy through stress or mental illness, this is a strong sign of addiction, requiring specialist intervention. The factor which complicates the relationship between stress and drug addiction is that stress can rebound as a symptom of consumption, turning the two-way relationship into a cycle.

Recognised as a dual diagnosis, both are co-occurring, known to relapse one another.


Dual Diagnosis Treatment

To treat chronic stress and to withdraw from drugs, dual diagnosis treatment will be required. Dual diagnosis treatment offers two separate programmes, treating each condition equally. When brought together, each programme will benefit one another, to reduce their triggering characteristics.

Treating chronic stress will focus on therapy, stress management and relapse prevention. Understanding the cause of chronic stress will be important, to reduce its impacts and future effects. Treating an addiction will be possible through a drug detoxification process, along with therapy and addiction treatment.

If stress is the cause of addiction, it will be easier to treat them alongside one another, as progress through stress treatment will alleviate cravings and the necessity for drug exposure.

Both forms of treatment can be completed through drug rehab, especially clinics which offer dual diagnosis treatment and support. It will be a necessity to complete both programmes to deter their co-occurring roles.


Stress Treatment and Drug Detoxification here at Asana Lodge

Dual diagnosis treatments can be completed here at Asana Lodge. Offering residential and private addiction treatment programmes, our therapies work to understand and treat the relationship between stress and drug abuse.

We specialise in holistic healing, of mental health issues and addiction, offering a wide range of treatment options. From group therapy to Satori therapy, we can get to the bottom, suppress, and manage a dual diagnosis.

Recovery is also linked to lifestyle choices, which can relapse both chronic stress and addiction. Our treatment programmes focus on sustainable lifestyle choices, to de-stress and reduce the desirability of drug exposure.

The role of stress in drug addiction is life-changing for some. Drug abuse can also be damaging and influential of re-occurring stress. Together they create complicated and deep-rooted conditions, requiring equal support and treatment.

For each stressed person, drugs will not be the answer. Yet due to the rewarding effects of many drugs, consumption is viewed as a coping strategy, relaxer, and manager for some. Instead, stress management, a balanced lifestyle and education will benefit symptoms of stress.

It’s important to remember that any form of drug, whether illegal or prescription will only offer short-term relief. Change, balance, and treatment will instead offer long-term benefits of chronic stress and addiction. Reach out to experience each here at Asana Lodge through our holistic therapies and programmes.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 5 November 2021

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.

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