How Does Stress Affect Addiction?

Stress Affect Addiction

Stress and drug abuse are dangerous when combined. Setbacks related to recovery can be caused by stress.

Stress, however, can be the deciding factor that makes a person develop a substance use disorder when they have a mild substance use disorder or are only using substances socially. Keep reading to find a more in-depth answer on how does stress affect addiction.

Effects of Substance Abuse on Stress Symptoms

A person is more likely to develop a substance use disorder when they experience stress.

Stress coping skills are less likely to develop when a person regularly uses drugs or alcohol for stress management. Stress may cause a person to think that using drugs is the only way they can cope. There is a risk of addiction in this cycle. Self-medication may be a conscious act for others.

Drinking is a common form of relaxation. Drinking alcohol for social reasons is an acceptable practice. Stress drinking or drugging, however, is helpful for stress symptoms and their associated symptoms? Does using substances make people more stressed, or does it help them cope better with stress?

How Can Stress Affect Addiction?

People prone to addiction and drug abuse may also be prone to stress, which may be contributed in part by brain activity in similar roles. 

Cortisol is released in the brain after stress triggers its release. Chronic stress can damage the brain’s structure, connectivity, and function when cortisol levels are high. Memory and learning are negatively affected by continual levels of stress and cortisol in the brain.

Some of the same brain regions are impacted by drug abuse and addiction. In the early stages of a person’s development, stress can damage parts of the brain that produce drug abuse and addiction.

According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSUDH), drug abuse at a young age increases the chances of becoming addicted later in life.

Stress and Alcohol

A common practice is to drink alcohol to cope with stressful situations. Alcohol is ineffective as a stress reliever, despite the anecdotal suggestion that it can help you relax. Combined with the effects of stress, alcohol use can have detrimental effects on your body.

Alcohol consumption during stressful situations prevents the development of natural coping mechanisms. It is not just a safety concern that drinking alcohol during stressful situations poses a health risk.

Stress and Marijuana

During marijuana use, a person is likely to report experiencing less stress. Some people may experience this outcome. However, cannabis and stress are related in more complex ways. An increase in anxiety is likely to occur when the effects of marijuana wear off, which will lead to more stress. People who use marijuana long-term often feel stressed by the routine stressors of everyday life.

Stress and Stimulants

When stressed, it may seem appealing to take a drug and gain energy for completing more tasks faster. Stimulants, especially prescription stimulants, are often used in hopes of reducing workload. There is a high risk of developing an addiction when there is a connection between stress and stimulants.

Stress and Nicotine

Many people smoke when they are stressed. Cigarettes are often considered a stress reliever by many people. It may seem true to someone who has already developed nicotine dependence. Still, people who have not yet developed nicotine dependence are likely to become addicted if smoking is associated with stress. The repeated use of nicotine in times of stress can create a dependency on nicotine.

Stress and Relapse

Relapse is often caused by stress. A person’s ability to develop a substance use disorder can also increase when they experience chronic stress.

The link between substance use and stress can be gained by examining stress and drug abuse statistics.

When under stress, thoughts of returning to drug use increase, and the likelihood of relapse increases even after long intervals of abstinence. Stress is known to increase the likelihood of substance use, even if you haven’t used a substance before.

Treating Stress with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse

It is more likely for a person to recover if they treat their stress and co-occurring substance abuse. Stress management is an essential component of successful treatment. Relapse can be significantly reduced when coping skills are learned.

Get Help Today with Your Stress and Addiction

If you find yourself stressed throughout the day and turning to drugs or alcohol to cope, reach out today before it becomes a severe problem.

Here at ReAlign Detox, we’re to help you find easier ways to cope and to help with drugs and alcohol before you become dependent on them.

Contact us today to speak with someone who understands.