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How Stress Can Influence Addiction

We already know, through both medical research and personal experience, that stress can harm our mental and physical health. But did you know that ongoing stress can also lead to substance abuse challenges?

Understanding Types of Stress

The most common type of stress that we experience nearly every day is referred to as “acute stress,” and appears when we’re dealing with frequent obstacles in our work or personal lives. This kind of stress is a natural occurrence in our daily activities, and working through this stress can help us feel as though we’ve overcome a challenging obstacle.

The more harmful but less common type of stress is referred to as “chronic stress,” and this form of stress is characterized by feelings of anxiety and pressure that never seem to subside, and can, in fact, last long for very long periods of time. This is often the case with major life events, such as a death or an unexpected trauma, that can result in lasting stressful consequences. When someone experiences chronic stress for a long time, the results can be damaging and destructive, frequently opening up a person to the risk of addiction as a coping mechanism.

Dealing with Stress

Before your stress gets out of control and becomes harmful, consider these three activities to help relieve major stressors.

Explore new activities: Luckily there are many positive hobbies and activities to help us take our minds away from daily stress in a healthy way. These include reading, fitness, yoga, and group activities like volunteering or classes, all of which help us wind down from daily stressors and redirect our energy towards positive outlets.

Build a support network: Finding a group of people who support you (and each other) is critical. Sometimes certain people or environments can trigger stressors, so be aware of those negative influences in your life and choose to spend time with people and environments that are a positive and supportive influence on your life.

Talk about it: One of the easiest and most impactful ways to deal with stress is to share your challenges with other people. Working with a therapist, a close friend, or a loved one to discuss your stressors and develop healthy ways to manage them is much healthier than masking stress through addictive behaviors.

Turning Point of Tampa’s goal is to always provide a safe environment and a solid foundation in 12-Step recovery, in tandem with quality individual therapy and groups. We have been offering Licensed Residential Treatment for Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987. If you need help or know someone who does, please contact our admissions department at 813-882-3003, 800-397-3006 or admissions@tpoftampa.com.