Stress and Addiction Go Hand in Hand

When we experience stressful situations, our bodies will automatically release the hormones:

  • Adrenaline
  • Norepinephrine
  • Cortisol

These hormones are responsible for the so-called “fight or flight” response that helped keep our ancestors alive in times of danger. While the fight-or-flight response may have been useful in our ancient past, today this response to stress can lead to a host of both psychological and physical problems.

A survey of American teens performed by Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that teenagers under high amounts of stress were twice as likely to drink, smoke and use Illegal drugs compared to their less-stressed peers.

When people feel stress on an ongoing basis, they will look for relief anywhere they can find it. Many begin self-medicating with drugs and alcohol when the stress becomes too much.

Unfortunately, this solution only works in the short term. Over time, more and more of the substance is needed just to feel normal. At this stage, things can quickly spiral out of control into addiction.