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The Dangers of Stress in Recovery

Stress is difficult for anyone to cope with, and it may be life-threatening for men and women in recovery. Past drug and alcohol use was often caused, in part, by an inability to cope with stress in a healthy manner. Rather than dealing with the stress we were under, we chose to escape into a fog of intoxication. In early sobriety, it is extremely important to turn our attention to developing the coping skills necessary to overcome and stressful event that may occur in our lives.

A University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking, and Health study examined the links between stressful life events and substance use. The study analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) of 921 adults who reported that they had symptoms that met the diagnosis for drug dependence. The stressful events that researchers examined included the death of a family member or close friend, serious illness of a family member or close friend, move or new member of the household, job loss or problems with coworkers, long-term unemployment, end of relationship or marriage, financial crisis, legal problems including arrest or incarceration, and being the victim of a crime, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The researchers found that there was a strong correlation between drug use and experiencing stressful life events. According to the NIDA, “the number of reported stressful life events correlated with the severity of drug use. Those who had remained abstinent all year reported an average of 2.7 stressful events, and those who were dependent on drugs reported an average of 4.7 stressful events. Those who used drugs but were not dependent and those in partial remission reported 3.9 and 4.0 stressful events, respectively.” Stressful life events may cause the emotional instability that lead to relapse. The NIDA explains, “Science has taught us that stress, cues linked to the drug experience (such as people, places, things, and moods), and exposure to drugs are the most common triggers for relapse.” Stress, especially the extreme stress caused by major life events, may be responsible for a significantly increased vulnerability to relapse.

A happy, joyous, and free life in sobriety is possible. You can make the courageous decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings the highest quality behavior and addictions specialists together with spiritual guides and holistic experts to help you heal. For information about treatment options, please call today: 833-change1 (833) 242-6431