Drugs and Alcohol and Anxiety
Anytime we as humans are under stress, we look for relief. Some people choose different outlets – exercise, for example. Some of us choose to turn to drugs and alcohol during periods of anxiety.
Shutting Off Your Emotions and Natural Reactions
Using drugs and alcohol doesn’t really help worries; it just helps you shut off your emotions. Most of us already know the reason we drink or do drugs is to escape our feelings and our realities. But deep down, we also know that it only makes things worse in the long run.
What People Worry About
According to psych experts and the studies, here are some of the top things people worry about in life:
- Money, Money, Money
Financial worries are a major source of stress for most people. Money is one of the top three things couples fight about. And being broke, wondering how you’ll pay your bills each month, doesn’t leave much dough for fun and entertainment.
“Crap, how am I going to afford that trip to Ireland with my friends on this budget? But I soooo wanna go!”
- Sex and Relationships
Arguing about it, getting enough sex, satisfying our partner, fantasizing about what we really want and more – all of these things can cause anxiety. When we’re unfulfilled or rejected, we want to turn to our drug of choice.
“Can I find a boyfriend/girlfriend? Am I with the right person? Will I ever get married? Why do we argue so much? Is my significant other happy?”
- Health and Your Body
Body image is a big deal for most people, no matter what age. Women are a little more obsessed, but guys feel it too.
Beyond looks, if you have a health problem, it automatically comes with a great deal of stress. Additionally, there is anxiety in worrying about potential health problems, waiting for medical tests or having a condition that can lead to something worse.
- Finding the Right Career or Being Stressed on the Job
It’s a common worry that we will never find the right career for us. Most high school graduates aren’t sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
We spend most of our week at our job(s), and if it’s not something we enjoy, then most of our life is not as happy as we’d like.
What about the people we work with? Do you have a Frankenboss?
- Missing Out on Something
It’s a phenomenon: fear of missing out (FOMO) on something…Valentine’s Day, not going out on a Saturday night, not being invited to a party not getting whatever “everybody else” is getting.
There is a principle called sunk cost fallacy that we all fall victim to. As humans, we have a natural aversion to loss that is much stronger than our desire to acquire gains. This loss aversion makes it harder to abandon something — fixing up a house, playing a progressive video game, staying in a long-term relationship — the more you’ve invested in it emotionally or financially.
So, for fear of missing out on something in our long-term investment — losing rewards in a game, for example — we make decisions that may not be in our best interests. We worry about what we’ll lose if…
The Takeaway on Worries
How can drugs and alcohol really help with any of these things? Sure, there is a momentary reprieve from our feelings, but as soon as the high is over, the same problems are staring back at us – with the added burden of the consequences of a substance abuse problem.
Other Solutions Instead of Turning to Drugs and Alcohol
Here are a few tips for when your worries have you in a rough spot and you’re tempted to reach for drugs and alcohol as relief:
- Realize you’re not alone! If these are the top things people worry about, it’s happening to a lot of people.
- Talk it out, write it out, pray it out.
- See a psychologist.
- Exercise for anxiety.
- Make time for yourself. Do something fun that you can afford, like a hobby or hanging out with friends.
You Are Invited!
You are invited to join the discussion! Tell us what you worry about most in the comments below. Also, feel free to share your views on drugs and alcohol and how they relate to anxiety and worries. Get commenting now!