How Does Stress Influence Addiction?
Most people experience stress on some level and many experience it daily. It seems to be a part of our lives with jobs, families, and responsibilities that need to be taken care of. Sometimes there just does not seem to be enough hours in the day.
One issue with stress is that too much stress can lead to addiction. After a hard day of work or school, driving children around to various appointments, and a broken water pipe in your home one can feel overwhelmed and might be compelled to take the edge off. Some might find relief in a glass of wine or with a prescription sedative. Normally this is not an issue for some but for others it may lead to an alcohol or drug addiction.
Stress affects people differently and continued or chronic stress can lead to an individual drinking more after work or taking more prescription drugs as the edge just simply does not go away. The causes of stress are many but may include financial difficulties, an extramarital affair, moving, starting a new job, or the death of a loved one.
When a person feels like they can no longer cope with stress, they may drink more or take drugs. Some people can handle stress on any level and simply have learned to deal with what life brings them. Stress for some can also motivate someone to make changes. When stressed, some people might do things that are non-habit forming such as meditation, prayer, or exercise.
Drinking alcohol and taking prescription drugs only alleviate the symptoms of stress in the short term. A drink can help someone forget their problems and a sedative might help one to sleep at night. With chronic stress, the one drink or the one pill simply does nothing to reduce the stress over the long term. What people have difficulty understanding is that the alcohol or the drugs is only relieving the symptoms. It does nothing to help the individual deal with stress effectively. Over time, the individual with chronic stress or who is in a physical state of stress more hours than not, start to rely on alcohol or drugs to the point where one can develop a tolerance. Tolerance begins the cycle of addiction.