Stress and Addiction

Stress affects many aspects of our health and can result in addiction or relapse. Chronic stress causes problems in numerous systems in the body such as the central nervous system, endocrine system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, muscular system, immune system, digestive system and reproductive system. The body responds to stress by initiating a variety of biological and behavioural reactions. These responses, driven by changes in brain chemicals and hormones released from the adrenal glands cause a physiological response, which can include sweating and a change in cardiovascular function. Stress and the way the body reacts to it play a role in a person’s vulnerability to the initial use of alcohol and other drugs. In addition, our stress response can also affect the decision to seek treatment and the likelihood of relapsing during recovery. Finding healthy ways to manage stress is important in preventing relapse. Individuals in recovery can employ a number of strategies to reduce stress.

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