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Stress and Addiction

Everyone experiences stress in their lives. Most stressors are small or temporary, and they can be handled with some self-care and support. An acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or chronic stress condition, however, can make it hard to function, requiring therapy and other stress management tools to work through it.

It’s common for stressed people to turn to unhealthy habits, but it becomes a greater problem when someone turns to drugs or alcohol for relief. Substance use disorders and stress often occur together, and they can exacerbate each other.

Physical and Mental Effects of Stress

The Physical and Mental Effects of Stress

Being stressed isn’t just a feeling; it’s a natural “fight or flight” response with real physiological effects. It triggers the release of adrenaline and puts the body and brain on high alert.

Common effects of stress include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Faster, shallower breathing
  • Heightened alertness, hypervigilance (common in PTSD)
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Increased psychological disorder symptoms

Over time, chronic stress is a risk factor for long-term health problems like depression, anxiety disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Stress also tends to increase mental illness symptoms and can contribute to substance abuse issues.

Stress and Substance Abuse Create a Vicious Cycle

Stress is a risk factor for substance use disorders. For many, drug and alcohol abuse starts as a means of self-medicating for stress or mental illness. Depressants like opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol are common for this, as they reduce central nervous system activity, temporarily relaxing the body and relieving anxiety.

Using substance abuse as coping mechanisms can feel good at first, but once the body is dependent on the substance use it becomes a burden. The need to use drugs to prevent sickness only adds to the stress that was never addressed, creating a cycle of more and more substance abuse.

At our Agoura Hills, CA treatment center, we understand how to break the substance use cycle and can help you manage stress and relieve mental health disorder symptoms in a healthy, long-lasting way.

Stress and Substance Abuse
Dual Diagnosis Treatment to Heal Stress and Substance Abuse

How We Use Dual Diagnosis Treatment to Heal Stress and Substance Abuse

At Del Arroyo Recovery Center in Agoura Hills (southern California), we provide dual diagnosis holistic treatment that addresses both the substance use disorder and any co-occurring mental health disorders. Because we know stress is a risk factor for substance use, we foster a safe, comfortable environment where clients can relax and heal from drug and alcohol addiction.

Assessment and Substance Abuse Treatment Planning

Inpatient clients at our Agoura Hills treatment center start with a medical detox. Staff monitor individuals while they are weaned off of drug use, and they may be given medications to ease withdrawals.

We also perform an initial physical and mental health assessment to determine a baseline and identify any co-occurring conditions. We then select the most appropriate evidence-based treatment options.

Treatment options we may use for co-occurring stress, addiction, and other issues include:

  • Psychotherapy: Professional therapy sessions take place using techniques like dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Family therapy: Clients and loved ones can work through issues with a professional therapist, and families can learn how to provide healthy support.
  • Medication assisted treatment: If appropriate, doctors may prescribe medications to help manage mental health conditions.
  • Peer support: Regular 12-step addiction program meetings allow clients to discuss their progress and receive social support from peers in drug abuse recovery.
Assessment and Substance Abuse Treatment
substance abuse treatment

We Are Committed to Preventing Relapse After Substance Abuse Treatment

At our Los Angeles area drug addiction treatment center, our highest goal is long-term addiction recovery success. During treatment, we teach clients valuable life skills, coping strategies, and stress management techniques. This gives them the best chance of success and helps them stay resilient and controlled in the face of stress and temptation.

Graduates also benefit from our alumni program, which offers ongoing group meetings and aftercare resources. This continued support can help individuals stay sober and make positive changes even after treatment.

Get Specialized Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Stress and Drug Abuse in Los Angeles

The combination of stress and drug addiction can be complex, but our experienced addiction specialists can help. If you or someone you care about are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse with a co-occurring condition, contact our Agoura Hills, CA addiction recovery center today to get started with a comprehensive treatment program.

Stress and drug addiction

Cognitive Behavioral Therapists in Agoura Hills, CA

Contact us today to learn more about our Los Angeles-area individualized addiction treatment programs and explore your options.