National Stress Awareness Day took place this year on 4 November. It may have passed you by in the excitement of Bonfire Night. However, the issue of stress and its causal effects on addiction can be just as explosive as any firework, which is why we’ve compiled this guide on how to cope and where to turn for advice.
Acute stress can sometimes lead to drug and substance abuse in vulnerable individuals and increase the risk of relapse in recovering addicts. How often do we hear the story of an alcoholic who turns to drink to ‘drown their sorrows’ or ‘works hard and plays hard’ as a release from a high pressure job? Or the drug addict who sought solace in a substance to ‘turn down the volume’ on traumatic life experiences?
The link between stress and addiction cannot be underestimated. So what can be done to break the cycle?
Know the signs of stress
If you’re not sure what’s causing your stress, it might be an idea to keep a diary and note down any stressful episodes for two to four weeks. You can then look back over that period to pinpoint any stress triggers, work out if those tally up with any episodes of substance abuse, and then set about developing better coping mechanisms.
Things you might want to write down and give a stress rating of 0-10 to (where 10 is the most stressed you could ever feel) include:
- The date, time and place of a stressful episode.
- What you were doing.
- Who you were with.
- How you felt emotionally.
- What you were thinking.
- What you started doing.
- How you felt physically.
Seeking help for stress
No single method for overcoming stress will work for everyone. However, there are simple things you can do to change the common life problems that cause you stress or make stress a problem. These include relaxation techniques, exercise and talking the issues through.
Because talking through the issues is one of the key ways to tackle stress, you may find it useful to attend a stress management group or class. These are sometimes run in doctors’ surgeries or community centres and can help you to identify the cause of your stress and develop effective coping techniques.
If your stress is causing you to regularly seek solace in substance abuse, and is leading to a potential addiction, then talking to Port of Call can help. Our professional advisers can offer you guidance and advice on how best to treat your addiction. We can help you to access the right treatment, at the right time for you.
So let us take the stress out of seeking help for your addiction today.
Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. If you think you are addicted to a substance, you may need to consider alcohol or drug rehab. There are so many private rehab options to consider, so talk to us today. Take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010.