A Guide to Preventing Stress Related Substance Abuse
Many people resort to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with stress. A beer after a hard day’s work can lead to a dependence on that drink… and more drinks to follow. Taking a pill to solve the problem of stress-related insomnia can lead to dependence on that pill… and more pills to follow. A person may think turning to alcohol or drugs is a solution to stress, but that solution can often become the new problem—and a much greater one at that.
Sources of stress in the society and culture today are many and varied. Many people experience financial or work related stress. Relationships, family and children are also a common source of stress. Physical illness is stressful, especially when work must go on.
Each phase of life can have its own stresses. Young parents often experience stress from trying to raise a family while both parents work a full-time job. Middle age can present the stresses of ageing, an empty home and the realisation that time may be running out on one’s dreams. Older age imposes the stress of a declining physical condition, physical pain, the loss of loved ones, and increased isolation and loneliness.
Each person makes their own decisions and reacts to stress in their own way, but unfortunately with the variety of alcohol, pills and drugs around it has become all too common in any phase of life to turn to drugs or alcohol as a ‘solution’ to dealing with stress.
Preventing Stress-Related Substance Abuse
Stress can all too easily trigger drug or alcohol use which can escalate into abuse and dependency. Managing stress without drug or alcohol use or abuse is the far better long-term choice.
Identify Your Sources of Stress
Identify the situations, issues and individuals which are a source of stress to you. Make the choice to avoid putting yourself in a position you know will cause you undue stress, and trigger your desire to drink or use drugs. This may be a person, a place or a situation.
Focus on Simple Changes
Focus on making simple changes in your lifestyle to minimise the stresses which you have now identified. If being at a place makes you feel that way, don’t go there. If a person makes you feel that way, try not to see them. A change of environment may be an option to consider too and if larger lifestyle changes are needed, don’t rule them out as an option either.
Take Care of Yourself
A Healthy Diet
Nutritious food is essential for energy and health. Stress depletes the body of needed nutrients, and so do drugs and alcohol—causing a person to feel even worse. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet can go far in preventing stress-related substance abuse.Daily Exercise
Exercise is an excellent stress reliever. An increased sense of physical and mental wellbeing is just one benefit. If you feel like you need a chemical substance—go take a walk, go for a run, swim, or ride a bike. Get out and about in the world, and push yourself if at first you don’t feel like it.
Lack of sleep itself acts as a stress, while also leaving a person open and more vulnerable to further stresses which can trigger the desire for drugs or alcohol. Many natural remedies are available to help with stress-related insomnia without turning to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to solve the problem.
Relax and Unwind
Learn to relax and unwind without using drugs or alcohol. A spiritual pursuit gives lasting benefits far transcending the brief chemical-induced relief of drugs or alcohol. And if you don’t feel like spirituality is your thing, find relaxing hobbies, something as simple as baking or gardening may be just what you need to unwind.
If you are already suffering from stress related addiction, then it is probably the right time to look into drug rehabilitation. Without it, the stress will only rapidly spiral downhill as drug addiction gets out of control and you find yourself stuck in its vicious cycle.
For more information on our rehabilitation programme, contact us on 00800 802 1375