stressed man outside.

There are many reasons why individuals turn to drugs. Some try them out of curiosity or for the ‘thrill,’ while others indulge in drugs to cope with stress. Stress is the body’s biological response to situations in which one may feel threatened. In this article, we are going to explore the relationship between stress and drug abuse.

 Why Is Stress So Dangerous?

Primarily, stress can be divided into two categories: short-term and long-term.

 Short-term stress may be caused by small events, such as taking a test or giving a speech in public. On the other hand, long-term stress is caused by significant events, such as illnesses, divorce, or the loss of a loved one.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also categorized as long-term stress.

A small dose of stress can actually prove to be good, as it makes you competitive and pushes you to get work done. However, prolonged stress can have adverse effects on your health. Emotional stress that lasts for a long time can weaken your immune system. It can cause health issues, including fatigue, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. In severe cases, stress may lead to heart disease, as well.

Here are some warning signs of stress:

  • Getting sick more often, particularly due to a cold
  • Headaches and body aches
  • Experiencing other illnesses, such as autoimmune diseases
  • Inability to focus or concentrate on work
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • More irritated and angry than usual

 Can Stress Make You More Vulnerable To Drug Abuse?

There is an established relationship between stress and substance abuse. Research by NIDA shows that people under stress are more likely to use drugs, as compared to others. Usually, individuals who are unable to deal with stress indulge in alcohol and drug abuse. They believe that drugs provide them with temporary relief from their problems.

There is also a link between stress-relieving medication and drug abuse. These medications for stress tend to have the same effect on the user’s mind as drugs. Hence, they use stress relief pills such as sedatives, Buspar, and antidepressants. Unfortunately, this puts them at the risk of mental health issues, including addiction.

Coping with addiction is not easy. It comes with a variety of withdrawal symptoms, which take a toll on their physical and mental health. People who fall into addiction often ask, ‘how to cope with addiction?’. Luckily, they can do so through professional help.

Stress can push a person towards drug abuse. However, researchers have also found a relationship between stress and relapse. People who have recovered from drug addiction may relapse due to stress. They view drugs as a means of soothing psychological stress and regulating emotions.

How To Reduce The Risk Of Stress-Induced Drug Abuse?

The only way to reduce the risk of stress-induced drug abuse is through stress management. Here are some stress management tips that will help you fight off against drug abuse:

  • Look at things through a positive perspective
  • Accept that there are things you cannot control
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and exercise
  • Make sure you have a healthy diet
  • Take a break
  • Sort out your tasks
  • Make a schedule and stick to it

More often than not, you may feel overwhelmed by stress. On such days, it can be incredibly difficult to go about it on your own. This doesn’t mean you are alone; you can seek professional help today. If someone close to you is in a similar position, advise them to get help. Not only is it essential, but it can also help you be free of addiction or relapses.