What kind of life is this? Why must be always me? Will I ever overcome these challenges? When will all these end? I am tired and frustrated with this kind of work? It is now time for paying bills and I don’t have money how will I face my landlord? These and many more are some of the questions that illustrate the kinds of life we live today, a life full of demands with very limited resources in a fast moving society. People are discouraged, lost in thoughts and ideas on how to make ends meet. The result of this is living a very stressful life full of worries, temptations, anarchy and wishes. I wish I had this, did that and so on. The question that begs for an answer is how do you cope with situations like these? Many people often resort to using drugs as relief providers. They just want to have everything behind them thinking that they will indeed succeed in doing so by taking drugs or alcohol. This is not always the case because the power of addiction and stress in life are not limited to drugs. We spoke to doctor Dalal Akoury who is an expert in addiction for well over two decades and she acknowledges that substance abuse is one way through which many people think of when it comes to relieving of their stressful moments.
She says that even though this is the common practice across the globe, it is the worse anyone can do for him or herself. By resorting to drugs you are indeed adding more problems into your life instead of eliminating them. It is true that when under the influence of drugs, you are not really yourself and as long as the substance is still controlling your systems you may not experience the effects of your stressful life. However the moment sobriety sets in, you pick up the pieces from when you left and this time it will even come with other additional complications. When you are overwhelmed you resort to drugs again and again and before you know it, you are addicted to that. It now means that besides the stress you were trying to escape from, you have added into your life the garbage of addiction to that specific drug.
Like we have already mentioned self-medication is a situation where people turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to manage their problems. Depressants like alcohol produce a calming effect on the body, and so the individual will feel like they have escaped their difficulties. They may start to take these substances more and more as a way to manage their stress levels. This is dangerous because the cure can be far more damaging than the initial symptoms.
The power of addiction and stress in life: The dangers of using alcohol and drugs to deal with stress
If you understand the consequences of using drugs or alcohol in excess, then you wouldn’t use them when stressed. It may be true that using alcohol or drugs to deal with stress is at best a short-term solution but the resulting consequences are very dangerous because:
- It can lead toaddiction. If this happens then the individual may find it difficult to stop. Addicts can end up losing everything including their possessions, health, friends, family, and self-respect.
- Substance abuse only masks the problem and doesn’t eliminate it. It will be almost impossible for the individual to learn better ways of managing stress while they are still abusing alcohol or drugs.
- Substance abuse increases the amount of stress in people’s lives. It makes it difficult to be effective at work, and it damages people’s ability to form meaningful relationships. The longer a person abuses these substances the more things they will have in their lives to feel stressed about. They can then get into a vicious circle of abusing drugs more and more to escape the stress that is being caused by their substance abuse.
It is possible that sometimes people can be stressed and not even noticing therefore is important to have the understanding of some of the most common symptoms which may include:
- Inability to sleep properly
- Loss of appetite and discomfort when eating
- Feeling antsy
- Stomach discomfort or ‘butterflies in the stomach’
- Getting irritated easily
- Luck of concentration– sometimes described as ‘fuzzy thinking’
- Lack of energy
- Thinking negatively most of time
- Muscle tension
- Evidence of an ineffective immune system – e.g. frequent colds
- Loss of interest in sex
- Feelings of frustration
It may not be possible for people to completely eliminate stress from their lives. Because of that fact it is important that we develop strategies for managing it. In those strategies substance abuse must never be part of the solution because they are not. The most effective solutions include:
- Learning a meditation technique such asmindfulness. This teaches people to observe what is happening in their mind without taking it so personally. Just the simple technique of naming and observing stress can be enough to reduce it.
- Relaxation techniques provide the body with the opportunity to let go of stress. This could include simple breathing techniques or visualizations.
- Exercise is another good way to relieve stress. This is because itincreases the release of body chemicals that make people feel good. Just going for a long walk every day can be enough to keep stress levels under control.
- Listening to music or spending time engaged in a hobby can also dramatically reduce stress levels.
- Getting away for a few days can help people recharge and escape the usual stressors. A break away from normal living also provides the opportunity to reassess life.
- Keeping a journal provides the opportunity to vent about stressors. These annoyances tend to be more damaging when they are internalized. Just writing about them on paper can diminish the strength of these stressors.
- Talking about problems to other people is another good way to reduce stress levels
Finally it is necessary that when people continue to struggle with chronic stress for unnecessarily too long, they should advice from a therapist immediately. Talking to doctor Dalal Akoury the founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center will go a long way in finding lasting solution to all your addiction or stressful life concerns. Call her today on Tel: 843 213 1480 to schedule for an appointment right away.