Chronic stress is far too common a condition in the U.S. Stress caused by excessive demands on your time, heavy academic workloads, or job overload can lead to several psychological and physical symptoms that undermine overall wellness. As a maladaptive response to the unrelenting stress, some individuals turn to using drugs or alcohol as a way of self-medicating the uncomfortable symptoms that have resulted.
Stress leading to drug abuse is a serious problem in today’s culture. People today are accustomed to reaching for a pill or a substance of abuse to cure whatever ails them. It is no surprise that drug abuse related to high stress and anxiety symptoms is so prevalent today. Multiple sources of stress can become a heavy burden to bear, and finding relief through drugs, unfortunately, is an all too common remedy.
About Stress and Anxiety
Stress is rampant in our everyday lives. Some experience occasional stressful situations that resolve in a timely manner, while others are exposed to a constant influx of stress through their jobs, family life, or a combination of several sources of stress. Some of the effects of stress on the mind and body include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Loss of interest in sex
- Stomach conditions, such as ulcers, GERD, irritable bowel syndrome, or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive worry
- Mood swings
- Frequent colds due to compromised immune system
- Irritability and impatience
- Difficulty concentrating
Some of these individuals may develop an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health disorder, with an estimated 40 million adults affected by it according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Within the anxiety spectrum there are several ways anxiety is manifested. These include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Specific phobias
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Social anxiety
When stress levels are perpetually high, it is wise to seek professional therapy to learn ways to reduce stress and promote relaxation. This may help the individual avoid using drugs or alcohol as a means of coping.
How is Stress Leading to Drug Abuse?
Each individual has his or her own genetic composition. Some people are naturally better equipped to keep stress from overwhelming them, finding within the means to induce a measured response to stressors. They may utilize coping skills throughout the day to help moderate the effects of stress at work or home.
Some people, however, do not possess the same genetic make-up to cope well with the intense demands of life. This can be due to past traumas that have compromised their response to everyday stress, or just personality traits that may be learned or inherited. Whatever the reason, these individuals may begin to misuse drugs in response to chronic stress. They may lean on drugs to battle insomnia, or to induce relaxation, such as benzodiazepines or marijuana, when symptoms become too intense.
All drugs that impact the central nervous system and the opioid receptors in the brain will eventually lose their initial affect. When that happens, it means the body has built up tolerance to the drug, which leads the individual to increase the dosage to get that original result. When this pattern continues over a period of time, drug addiction or dependency can develop.
When Drug Abuse Becomes Addiction
When stress leading to drug abuse culminates in a drug addiction, the individual will notice that the substance no longer produces the desired effects. Addiction can initiate several negative consequences in the person’s life, only making the original problems with stress or anxiety that much worse. Depending on the drug of abuse the adverse effects will vary, but in general drug addiction causes the following:
- Taking higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug
- Obsessed about the next dose, getting the drug, having enough of the drug on hand
- Losing interest in the things once enjoyed
- Secretive or deceptive behaviors
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Impaired ability to complete basic tasks at work or home
- Personal hygiene is ignored
- Continuing to use the drug even with mounting negative consequences
- Lying about the drug use
- Trying to quit the drug but can’t
- Craving the drug
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop
Treatment for Drug Addiction
When addiction has resulted from attempts to self-medicate stress or anxiety, professional therapy and guidance can help change the addictive reflexive behaviors. After a medical detox, treatment will involve cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help the individual identify the maladaptive responses to stressful situations and triggers, and replace those with healthy responses.
The rehab will also teach the individual how to better manage stress going forward. Teaching such techniques as mindfulness meditation, guided meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and journaling as important tools in a successful recovery.
Golf Drug Rehab is a Leading Southern California Recovery Program for Drug Addiction
Golf Drug Rehab provides a comprehensive approach to treating drug addiction related to stress. Stress leading to drug abuse and addiction can be effectively treated through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), recreational therapy, and relaxation tools. At Golf Drug Rehab our program combines these treatment elements with access to three outstanding local golf courses, introducing a unique multi-layered treatment approach that is both effective and enjoyable. For more information about the program, please contact Golf Drug Rehab today at (877) 958-5320