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Is There a Connection Between Stress and Alcoholism?

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November 5, 2020

With the election, the pandemic, the protests, the fires, and the hurricanes, there is plenty to be stressed about in 2020. Not to mention the regular obstacles that we face in any given year for just existing as an adult living in this world.

Stress is the body’s response to a demand or challenge. In certain situations, it can be helpful. For example, when someone needs to meet a deadline at work or school or when an individual is avoiding danger.

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is an ongoing relapsing brain disorder that impairs an individual’s ability to control or stop their alcohol use, regardless of health, social, or occupational consequences.

At American Addiction Centers, the nationwide leader in addiction treatment, we provide medical detox, treatment, and help with aftercare planning for those battling alcoholism. If you find yourself struggling with an addiction, please reach out for help.

 

What is Stress and How Does it Contribute to Alcohol Abuse?

Stress is normal, especially with the current state of events in the United States. There are common types of woman staying sober in crisis holding headstress that can impact people’s lives.

Types of stress:

  • General life stressors. Examples: starting a new job, wedding/marriage, or divorce.
  • Childhood stress. Examples: physical/emotional/sexual abuse and/or neglect before 18.
  • Racial/ethnic stress. Example: stress related to being discriminated against as a minority.
  • Catastrophic events. Examples: September 11th/Hurricane Katrina.

Some people may turn to alcohol to cope at a time like this. With waiting days to determine who the next American president will be and a growing daily rate of COVID-19 infections that is forcing people to remain isolated in their homes, people may feel too overwhelmed to deal with their emotions productively.

Resilience is the ability to cope with stress. It reveals how someone is able to acclimate to physiological and psychological responses involved in stress response. When faced with stressful events, the body responds fast. It shifts from normal metabolic processes into a higher/faster pace. Individuals are most resilient when they can respond rapidly to stress. Heredity, lifestyle, and personality can dictate how an individual deals with stress.

Consuming alcohol may temporarily lead to relaxation and positive feelings, as these beverages may appear to be the solution to dealing with continuous stressful situations or circumstances. In the long-run, heavy drinking can work against an individual. It can lead to psychological and medical problems, as well as the heightened risk for developing alcohol dependence.

If you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol, you’re not alone. We’re here. There are resources available to help you achieve long-term sobriety and to live a healthy and productive life. Don’t let a battle with alcoholism hinder you. Please reach out to get the help that you need.

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