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The Stress and Addiction Connection

stress addictionThe basic idea behind the stress and addiction connection is that when people have a lot of stress in their lives they sometimes don’t use healthy ways to relieve it. They can sometimes turn to drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.

This article will discuss what stress is, what causes stress, stress dangers, the stress and addiction connection, and the best ways to deal with the stress in your life.

What is Stress?

Stress is quite hard to define. The most basic definitions include: the body’s way of protecting you, the “fight or flight” concept, how your body deals with a demand, and an essential part of survival.

Basically when you feel stressed it means that your body is telling you that there is a situation that has to be dealt with. The body will release different chemicals to combat the different types of stress.

Since stress causes the body to react to situations where it thinks it is in danger, people want this stress to be dealt with. Sometimes that is with addictive substances.

What Causes Stress?

There are any number of things that can cause stress. However, there are several factors that have presented themselves as the most common. These factors include:

  • Conflicts
  • Overwork
  • Death of a Friend or Loved One
  • Major Life Changes
  • Illness
  • Legal Problems
  • Addiction Issues

There are obviously many other things that cause stress but the key aspect is to manage it as well as possible without resorting to an addictive substance.

Stress Dangers

Chronic stress can be dangerous because it can cause the body’s immune system to not function as well as it should. This is because stress is a warning sign for the body and not meant to be a long-term issue.

When stress becomes too much for the body to handle it becomes chronic stress. Chronic stress means that the chemicals in the body and the brain that are used to fight stress, end up abusing the body instead.

Chronic stress can lead to serious health problems. If not treated properly they can lead to long-term problems, and could even become fatal. Some of these conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Digestive Problems
  • Ulcers
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Heart Disease
  • Substance Abuse

The Stress and Addiction Connection

When people have too much stress in their lives, chronic stress, they can look to many different things to get themselves back to normal. Some people take the healthy methods to get their brains and body back on track by exercising and eating right. Others use methods that involve addictive substances.

When stress becomes too much for people they sometimes will look to drugs or alcohol to deal with the pain. While this will allow you to relax for a short period of time, the downside is that drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are extremely addictive substances and extremely detrimental to your health.

While using drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes will de-stress you for a short period of time, it can turn into abuse sooner than you think. Since stress usually comes in waves that vary in intensity, most people can cope with it in order to get back to a healthy state. However, with chronic stress there can be the feeling that you can’t get away from this problem and you need a way out. Over and over again.

Ironically, using drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes to combat stress actually increase stress over time. The brain ends up being dependant of these substances. When it doesn’t get these addictive substances, the brain and body get even more stressed and abuses your immune system, causing illness.

The Best Ways To Control Stress

Using addictive substances like drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes to deal with stress is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. They will temporarily give you relief but you will eventually need more and more and more. Use becomes abuse.

There are ways to deal with stress that do not involve things that will eventually be toxic to your health. If you can try to use natural methods to deal with your stress then you will be greatly healthier overall in the long run. Some things to try include:

  • Breathing Exercises – This is a very effective way to reduce stress in your life.
  • Eating Healthy – Healthy items like green tea and bananas will go a long way to reduce stress.
  • Exercise – Using exercise is a great way to alleviate stress from your life. Short, intense exercises that are repeated for a total of 30 minutes will energize the body and mind to produce the chemicals to deal with stress.
  • Relax – Listening to music, reading a book, watching a favorite TV show. These are all simple ways to just get your stress level back to normal.

The stress and addiction connection is very prevalent in today’s society and is growing everyday. There are many ways to deal with stress. Some people deal with stress by using addictive substances. The problem with this method is that substance use sometimes turns into substance abuse.

The best way to deal with stress is to use healthy techniques. By using healthy methods to deal with stress you will be able to live a long and healthy life!

About Joseph Giove

Joseph R Giove is a MindBody Wellness Coach, biomedical engineer and clinical hypnotist. For over 30 years he has helped people in all areas of health and fitness including weight loss, exercise physiology, addiction, stress and anxiety, insomnia, depression, diabetes, nutrition, chronic pain, and more. He offers a unique understanding of the mind and body to help you renew, recover from illness, and live optimally with vitality and vigor.

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