Substance Abuse and Addiction - A Result of Anxiety and Stress


Substance Abuse and Addiction - A Result of Anxiety and Stress

Common Ways People Cope with Stress and Anxiety That are Unfortunately 'Negative'

We all experience stress and anxiety throughout our lives and we all have our own personal ways of coping when dealing with life's emotional challenges.


Sometimes we bring stress upon ourselves with choices we make and other times situations take place in our lives that we have no control over. Everyone has their own unique way of coping with stress and quite often they're unhealthy coping skills.

stressed, anxious and depressed

When we're stressed, anxious or depressed our thinking is usually clouded and we reach for ways to make us feel better for the moment. Because everyone is different, some people shut down and can't function at all when a stressful situation takes place in their life and others become overly anxious and run on nervous energy. Without realizing it we usually make the stress in our lives worse due to the way we have learned or choose to cope with it.

Whether we shut down due to stress or become anxious and agitated our thoughts and behaviors can go to the extreme which not only makes the stressful situations worse, but affects our emotional and physical health. We don't realize it at the time, but the way we cope with stress doesn't just affect ourselves, it also affects our families, loved ones, friends and others around us.

Unhealthy Stressful Coping Skills

  1. Become depressed and shut down and sometimes unable to function
  2. Become controlling, angry, agitated and sometimes violent
  3. Loss of appetite and don't eat enough
  4. Emotionally overeat (most of the time unhealthy junk foods)
  5. Consume too much caffeine such as coffee or soda
  6. Bite our fingernails and cuticles
  7. Smoke cigarettes
  8. Smoke pot (marijuana)
  9. Compulsive spending and shopping
  10. Drink alcohol sometimes in excess
  11. Become consumed with video games or TV
  12. Abuse street drugs
  13. Abuse prescription drugs such as stimulants, depressants or pain relievers
  14. Gamble
  15. Become consumed with sex or porn

Some individuals also involved in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex or driving intoxicated or impaired due to drugs.

None of us are perfect and make positive healthy choices all the time when it comes to coping and dealing with stress, depression and anxiety. Fortunately not everyone chooses to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, overeat, or abuse street drugs or prescription medications but very rarely do we choose positive ways to cope. This is just as true for adults as it is with young people, as adults sometimes we like to think we know what we're doing, have it under control and make the best possible choices for ourselves at the time.

When it comes to stress, anxiety and depression most of the time we're not thinking any clearer than adolescents, teens or young adults are. Many young people experiment with street drugs or prescription drugs, smoke pot or cigarettes, or drink alcohol as a way of coping with depression or anxiety as well as many adults. No matter how old we are, none of us cope with stress or life's emotional challenges the way we should for our emotional health and well-being all of the time. Sometimes we make poor choices that negatively affect us as well as those we love and care about.

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