Psychiatric and therapeutic professionals would agree that chronic stress has long been associated with higher levels of substance abuse. Numerous academic studies often point to life’s many stresses as a leading cause of initiating substance abuse and continued dependence. While many underestimate the effects of stress, substance abuse and stress often feed into each other and can create an extremely difficult addiction to treat.
How Stress Affects the Body and Mind
When a person experiences stress, a variety of hormones are released that cause subsequent shifts in their heart rate, digestion and other bodily functions. These stress hormones create a “fight or flight” reaction in the body that prepares us for physically dangerous situations. These situations are often initiated due to issues in the workplace, home life, financial problems and other abstract fears and anxieties that are difficult to avoid or overcome. When the body endures prolonged periods of the hormonal changes that are caused by stress, physiological and psychological problems start to occur like insomnia, persistent anxiety, depression, chronic pain and others. The brain reacts by seeking out any means necessary to alleviate these physical symptoms they are experiencing. Many will turn to drugs and alcohol to find relief and once the high subsides, the patient’s body returns right back to how it felt before they used. This problem perpetuates further in a dual-diagnosis scenario, where patients who suffer from mental illnesses develop an addiction problem.
Dealing With Substance Abuse Stress and Getting Sober
Many addicts have undergone serious traumatic events, which causes repeated stress in their life and carries over into every aspect of their life. Through chronic alcohol and drug abuse, they have developed some very unhealthy ways to deal with stress. Once the alcohol and drugs are taken away, they feel unhinged and emotionally raw. All of those feelings they used to drown out with drugs become magnified and they are left to either stay and sit through the pain and “fight” it head-on or they choose the “flight” response and go back to using the drugs to mask these feelings.
Many recovering addicts have found that the initial cravings to use drugs after getting sober generally subside with some abstinence, but dealing with the constant stressors of life is a whole other battle. Additional substance abuse stress can also make it even more difficult to get sober.
Finding Healthy Ways to Manage Substance Abuse and Stress
At Morningside Recovery, we employ a clinical team of specialists who are highly educated in treating substance abuse and stress. All of our therapists are educated at the Master’s or Doctorate level and are extensively educated on the psychological issues that influence addiction. In conjunction with highly-trained therapists, clients will also receive in-depth psychiatric care to ensure that their condition is properly assessed and they receive the individual attention they need.
We also provide various forms of therapy, from which the clients can gain insight from and learn healthier and more productive ways to cope with stress, without using drugs or alcohol. Some of these therapies include:
We also employ both traditional 12 step-based and alternative treatment options like SMART Recovery.
Each client’s program is tailored to their individual needs and provides them with a real-world model program. This operates with substantial supervision in a communal setting. This allows clients more freedom than some traditional treatment centers, which further helps them to have an easier time transitioning into a sober living environment after treatment.
Don’t let substance abuse stress control your life for another day. Call Morningside Recovery today at 855-631-2135.