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Stress is your body’s natural reaction to external forces and events that it identifies as threatening. When taken at face value, stress is actually a positive thing. Stress helps you to stay alert in a fight, it keeps you focused and sharp during a live performance, it even helps you to deescalate from a dangerous situation. Stress is one of your body’s instinctive defense mechanisms. In this context, stress is a good thing. However, if it is allowed to linger for too long it can have a negative effect on your mood which may trigger a change in your habits.
Many people suffering from drug abuse and alcohol dependence can attribute their drinking or drug use to negative stress in their life. Their drug abuse and addiction has not developed simply because they enjoy getting drunk, or high. Drug addicts depend on substances to help them ignore the emotional stress, depression, or pain they are currently facing in their lives. The drugs provide a temporary, short term high which helps to blot out the stress and negative emotions. Unfortunately abusing a substance to overcome emotional stress will inevitably lead to a dependency or addiction to that substance. Your body will depend on the drug to maintain homeostasis. As your tolerance grows your body will need gradually larger doses to achieve the same homeostasis that the initial dose achieved. This is how drug abuse begins.
Limiting stress can be a challenge, especially if that stress is external. We don’t always have control over our work environment or relationships. However, we do have control over how we respond. Responding to stress by using drugs may cause aggressive or unwanted behavior that will cloud your judgment and prevent you from handling the situation properly. Health care centers and rehab services are there to help you conquer your stress naturally and guide you through the recovery process. You don’t have to overcome stress and addiction by yourself.