If you’re emotionally stressed, you’re at greater risk of getting a substance abuse disorder in your lifetime – but that doesn’t mean that you’re helpless. On the contrary, emotional stress and various disorders are inherently linked, and some people are more predisposed to either compared to others. Fortunately, you can treat symptoms of both.
What Is Substance Abuse Disorder?
Drug addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, impacts a person’s behavior and brain, sometimes leading to a failure to manage the ingestion of a medication or illegal drug. Substances like alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine also are regarded as drugs. If you suffer from an addiction, it’s not unusual to keep using the drug or substance even if you know the harm it could cause. It’s a huge problem in America.
What Is Emotional Stress?
“Stress is a normal reaction to the pressures of everyday life. Worry, fear, anger, sadness, and other emotions are also all normal emotional responses. They are all part of life. However, if the stress that underlies these emotions interferes with your ability to do the things you want or need to do, this stress has become unhealthy.”
It’s sometimes called emotional tension, and can happen to anyone – regardless of age, ethnicity, income status, or gender.
What Causes Substance Abuse Disorder?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the precise cause of substance use disorder is unknown. Someone’s genetic makeup, the activity of the drug, pressure from your peers, anxiety, depression, emotional stress, and environmental stressors can all be triggers.
Besides depression, substance abuse disorder can also be triggered by the following:
- Attention deficit disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Another mental problem
- A chaotic lifestyle
- Low self-esteem
- Early childhood exposure to parents who use drugs.
Preventing Substance Abuse Disorder
There are many ways to prevent substance abuse disorder:
- Understand how substance abuse happens (usually by using addictive drugs, trying to become intoxicated whenever you can, and abusing prescribed medicine).
- Avoid peer pressure and temptation. Instead, build healthy relationships with people you trust, and stay away from people and situations where you may be encouraged or pressured into using drugs, alcohol, or other potentially addictive substances.
- Live a healthy life, and get help when needed.
Emotional Stress & Substance Abuse Disorder
According to research, stress is a significant risk factor in addiction formation, maintenance, relapse, and treatment failures. Stressful life events paired with inadequate coping skills may affect your risk of addiction and conditions like obesity by boosting impulsive reacting and self-medicating. While we may fail to eliminate stress, it behooves us to discover ways to control it.
The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies says: “Research demonstrates a strong link between exposure to traumatic events and substance use problems. Many people who have experienced child abuse, criminal attack, disasters, war, or other traumatic events turn to alcohol or drugs to help them deal with emotional pain, bad memories, poor sleep, guilt, shame, anxiety, or terror. People with alcohol or drug use problems are more likely to experience traumatic events than those without these problems.”
It’s a vicious cycle for many people, producing increased alcohol and drug use, which leads to new trauma event experiences, resulting in even harsher substance use. This all creates a dangerous cycle that is difficult to escape from. Traumatic events and substance use often happen together, as do substance use disorders and trauma-related disorders.
Drug abuse and acute stress disorder are complicated medical difficulties that require awareness and compassion to heal. It’s important to know that, even though some people may be predisposed to addiction, most often run into stimuli that deepen the probabilities of them getting sick. These circumstances can lead to emotional stress, acute stress disorder, and addictive tendencies.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosing drug addiction (also known as substance use disorder) demands a thorough assessment and frequently includes an evaluation by a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. Blood, urine, or other laboratory tests are employed to evaluate drug use, but not as a diagnostic examination for addiction. But they can be employed for observing treatment and recovery.
To diagnosis a substance use disorder, see a doctor or mental health professional, who’ll use criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association. Ketamine or psychotherapy is a potential treatment.
Nearly 20 million U.S. adults exhibit signs of substance abuse disorder any given year, and the consequences are severe if the illness is ignored. It can result in other serious mental health and medical problems. If you’re emotionally stressed or have a substance abuse disorder, get help while you can.