The relationship between stress and addiction
A great deal of research (as well as anecdotal evidence) points to a definite link between high levels of stress and addiction. Stress can work not only as a trigger for addiction but for relapse too. So it’s extremely important to handle stress in a healthy way if you’re struggling with an addiction, are concerned that your showing signs of addiction or have been into rehab.
Unfortunately, stress is a part of everyday life. Whether you live a busy London life or home is in the suburbs or country, everyone is exposed to stress. Sometimes our professional lives can feel overwhelming as deadlines and demands become more exacting. There may be conflict within your family or health worries. The truth is that the more pressure you’re under, the more likely you’ll try your best to escape from it.
Healthy ways to handle stress
At Step One Recovery, we understand how challenging dealing with stress can be for a person who struggles with addiction. Our luxurious rehab centre is based in Spain, but we treat many people there from London and the rest of the UK to help them overcome their addictions.
We treat alcoholism, drug addiction, prescription medication abuse, gambling addiction and love and sex addiction as well as anxiety and depression. Stress (and how it’s dealt with) is often a major factor in all types of addiction. We create bespoke treatment programmes that explore all potential triggers including historical issues and conflicts. Our expert team of psychotherapists, doctors, counsellors and diet and exercise experts work with you to help you build new ways to cope with stress.
A new way forward
Certainly, our rehab centre is an ideal place to make positive change and build a productive future. We continue to care for our clients when they leave our rehab centre as we know just how prevalent stress really is. Our aftercare support involves group meeting and telephone support, but we also have lots of advice on how to cope with the stress that can lead to relapse.
Looking out for physical symptoms
Understanding your body’s response to stress and recognising the physical signs of too much stress can help you keep stress under check. If we feel under threat, our bodies automatically release hormones to help us react quickly to danger. This ‘fight or flight’ response is healthy and natural. But if stress levels rise and become out of control, you’ll start to experience specific symptoms. These can include headaches, back pain, upset stomach, dry mouth, palpitations, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite or overeating and anxiety. At this point, it’s important to take simple steps to de-stress. Here are some of the tips we share at our rehab centre.
• Talk to someone you can trust about the way you feel. This is a great way to clear confusion and focus on resolving problems. Bottling things up only increases stress levels. If you feel that you can’t talk to anyone, simply write it all down. This is a useful way to release emotions and help you move on to feeling better.
• Avoid stressful situations by planning ahead. If you know that running late makes you feel stressed, set an alarm for 15 minutes earlier. Perhaps you find family occasions challenging? You could still go along but plan to leave early with a good reason in place. The idea is to keep you in control so that stress doesn’t take over.
• Get a good night’s sleep. This is one of the most effective ways to handle stress as good-quality sleep helps your body and mind rejuvenate and heal.
• Use deep breathing whenever you feel angry, upset, frustrated, stressed or anxious. This is a simple way to regain calm and build positive thoughts.
• Yoga and meditation are both excellent ways to become more mindful and aware of your thoughts and emotions.
• Exercise and a healthy diet are often underestimated in managing stress. It doesn’t really matter what exercise you do as long as you enjoy it – the point is to release stress and feel good.
When stress and addiction take over
If you feel that stress has triggered and nurtured an addiction and that you can’t manage life properly, you are not alone. Many people have come into rehab at our recovery centre in Spain and left feeling stronger, healthier and ready to build a new life without addiction.
Stress and addiction can leave you feeling paralysed and uncertain of who to turn to. Our expert team is always on hand to help manage your admission into rehab seamlessly. We’re not here to judge – only to help you get better.