High levels of stress and uncertainty have been shown in studies to raise the likelihood of addiction. Uncertainty-related stress and anxiety are two of the most prominent risk factors for substance use disorders and recurrence. However, life is full of tension and uncertainty and it’s imperative to learn how to cope with stress and uncertainty without utilizing prescription medications, illegal narcotics, or excessive alcohol use. Understanding the link between stress, uncertainty, and addiction can help you do so. The more we learn about how stress and tension can lead to addiction, the better we’ll be able to determine what we should and shouldn’t do when we’re worried about the future. You can learn more about the causes of addiction at Orange County rehab.
What exactly is stress?
The sensation of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure is known as stress. When we’re stressed, our bodies react to pressure. This strain might be brought on by fresh, unexpected experiences or situations that challenge our sense of self. When we don’t feel like we have control over a situation, we become stressed. When we feel this way, the autonomic nervous system of the body activates the “fight-or-flight” reaction, which aids us in dealing with stressful situations. We know our fight-or-flight reaction is active when our bodies react in a certain way, even if we can’t identify when it starts.
Stress and Uncertainty as Causes of Addiction: What’s the Connection?
One of the most common sources of stress is uncertainty. We don’t know what to expect when we’re unsure about something. This makes it impossible for us to plan or prepare for the future. We can’t rely on past experiences or lessons when we don’t know what the future holds. This irritates us and can make us feel stressed. Negative beliefs can also cause stress about uncertainty. Many people believe that certainty is beneficial while uncertainty is detrimental.
Surprising Causes of Addiction
The causes of addiction can vary, but there’s no denying that stress, anxiety and uncertainty can be leading factors. Understanding why these uncomfortable feelings can lead to addiction can help you learn and develop healthy, positive ways to overcome situations without self-medicating.
Excessive stress might lead to impulsive behavior.
The fight-or-flight reaction is triggered by stress. As the name implies, this reaction can either prepare us to deal with the source of our stress or assist us in escaping it. This means we may either use the adrenaline coursing through our bodies to deal with the anxiety we’re experiencing, or we can deny it. Either option can lead to rash decisions. For example, “liquid courage” is a fight response, whereas consuming heroin or taking extra Xanax pills attempts to flee the stress. Both actions are impulsive and can lead to addiction, despite their differences.
Self-Medication Can Be Induced by Stress
Dealing with stress isn’t fun, but we’re self-medicating when we try to solve our problems with drugs, alcohol, food, prescription medicine, or any other substance without consulting a certified physician. Self-medication, however, does not aid in the relief of stress. It’s a shame that almost always keeps us from getting the care we require. Self-medication may exacerbate our symptoms.
Emotional Distress Can Be Caused by Uncertainty
Fear of the unknown can induce mental turmoil, negatively affecting our health over time. Cardiovascular illnesses and memory loss can be caused by chronic stress and mental discomfort. All three of these illnesses can lead to us drinking or using drugs to cope with psychological or physical discomfort. This can be especially true if we aren’t dealing with emotional turmoil in a healthy way.
Anxiety Can Be Caused by Uncertainty
We can become worried when we are uncertain about a scenario. Anxiety is frequently linked to addiction, according to research. Even though anxiety doesn’t always lead to addiction, when we try to use drugs or alcohol to cope with our stress or deal with our fear, we can increase our chance of developing a substance use disorder.
Social media increases stress and anxiety
While social media offers numerous social benefits, it also has numerous social drawbacks. When someone dealing with emotional issues sees other individuals online who appear to be cheerful, attractive, and having a good time, it can make them feel even more socially alienated, lower their self-esteem, and worsen feelings of shame. There is mounting evidence that increased social media use exacerbates mental health issues in people already vulnerable.
Learned environment also increases stress
The physical environment can also serve as a source of triggers for people who are addicted. These settings might be connected with desires, from going to a pub for “after-work beverages” to sitting at your kitchen bench when alone at home. When repeated behaviors can be conditioned to a particular place or situation, these learned habits can be hard to break. These triggers can be amplified when the physical place and the people in it are associated with alcohol or drug abuse.
Although stress is an inherent aspect of life, you should not dismiss it. Too much stress, if left unchecked, can lead to serious physical and mental health issues. The good news is that stress can often be controlled. You can lessen your stress, whether it’s from family or work, with a little patience and a few helpful strategies.