Stress and Addiction

In today’s modern world, many of us are under a great deal of pressure and stress. While it’s true that we need a certain amount of stress to function most effectively, excessive stress will lead us to a desire to escape. And this can be a path to addiction for some.

Unhealthy Methods of Escaping Stress

If your life becomes more than you can bear, escaping that stress actually becomes a new task. Sadly, these escapes are rarely healthy. Activities from overeating to binge drinking to recreational drug use are an easy way to escape stress because they provide pleasure and give us something new to focus on.

Breaking the Connection to Unhealthy Patterns

D2 receptors in the brain receive dopamine, the pleasure hormone. If you’re starving and pick up a serving of your favorite dessert, your brain experiences a euphoric dopamine rush as you eat. Unfortunately, if you’re not starving and come across the same desert, you will experience pleasure.

Stress can actually limit the number of critical neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. This will impact your ability to make smart choices in line with your goals for a healthy life.

The ability of the brain to say no to an addictive pattern can actually be limited by a shortage of dopamine receptors. Because every dose of the unhealthy dessert, serving of alcohol or dosage of recreational drug also limits the number of specialized cells in your brain, stress and addiction work together to focus your intent on the unhealthy choice and make it much harder to experience pleasure in anything else.

Healing the Brain

Breaking the physical addiction to unhealthy chemicals actually doesn’t always require a great deal of time. What does require a lot of time and focus is finding other ways to manage your stress and take pleasure in your life. Many addicts find that, even though they have made great progress in overcoming the physical addiction, they feel lethargy and even depressed about their future, as it’s hard to find pleasure in anything else.

Healing your brain will take time. It is much more than willpower. You will need the support of friends, family, and even a group of people who have suffered similar addictive tendencies to remember that there is a way out.

Getting Help in Phoenix

Having someone to talk to, getting proper nutrition, making time for proper rest and finding effective ways to release stress is key to the recovery process. Take care to engage in activities such as exercise, reading or meditating. Don’t be afraid to ask for alone time. Beyond that, be sure to seek out any help you need for your own mental health and recovery. At Purpose Healing Center in Scottsdale, we help people in Phoenix to recovery from addiction using holistic methods, designed to heal the whole person.