Stress and Stimulant or Alcohol Use
Stimulants are psychoactive drugs that are prescribed in the medical profession for the treatment of ADHD and sometimes depression. By increasing chemical activity in the brain, the individual is able to be more alert, focus, have more energy, and also helps to elevate a person's mood.
Stimulants increase dopamine (chemical) levels in the brain which helps with the symptoms of depression. Stimulant drugs also have a potential for dependency and should never be misused but unfortunately many people use stimulants to get high.
We all suffer from stress from time to time, that's a part of life. There are times in our life when stress becomes overwhelming and then affects us emotionally and physically. Long term stress can cause depression, heart disease and many other illnesses. Some people turn to food, alcohol or drugs during stressful times in their life instead of finding ways to alleviate some of the problems causing the stress.
When a person feels anxious they may be feeling nervous, worried, uneasy or restless. We have all felt anxious at one time or another in our lives. It's really an uncomfortable feeling but sometimes anxiety is good. It can warn us if we are about to make a poor decision and we're not using our best judgment. When a person is overwhelmed and stressed these anxious feelings can be hard to deal with and instead of being normal feelings of worry and uneasiness they become fearful and panicky. When anxiety becomes ongoing due to stress or traumatic situations it affects your heart rate, your breathing, your sleep and you may become irritable or tense.
Panic Attacks are extremely uncomfortable and scary because of physical symptoms associated with them. Many people have gone to the emergency room thinking they were having a heart attack and found out they were experiencing a panic attack. Panic is a form of anxiety that most of us have experienced at least once in our life. Many people suffer from phobias that are so severe they bring on panic attacks though. If panic attacks go untreated they can also cause phobias. The feelings associated with panic attacks can be so severe that some people feel like they're dying. These symptoms include:
- Pressure or pain in the chest
- Your heart begins to pound
- Your pulse races
- You become light headed and faint
- Your throat becomes tight and you become short of breath
- You begin to sweat
- Your body begins to tremble and shake
- You can become nauseated and sick to your stomach
- You can experience feelings of hot or cold chills
- Some people experience tingling sensations or numbness in their hands or feet
When the economy took a turn for the worse a few years ago, many people began to suffer from stress, depression, anxiety and panic attacks because of the loss of their jobs. In some families, both the parents lost their jobs and ended up in financial crisis. Many people lost their homes, their vehicles were repossessed or they had to file for bankruptcy. During times like these families sometimes fall apart and relationships break up.
Some people found themselves drinking more than before, using medications like antidepressants for the first time in their lives, or using pain medications due to migraines or headaches and aches and pains due to stress and anxiety. Unfortunately during these stressful times many people find ways of making themselves feel better even if it's negative and unhealthy. Some people find they eat more when they're stressed and worried. People who smoke usually find they use tobacco twice as much during stressful times.
Stress is a very big factor associated with drug and alcohol use. If a person has a problem with alcohol or substance abuse even though they're financially strapped during this time their use tends to increase. Some people who never had a problem with alcohol found themselves drinking a lot more than ever before after the economy crashed.
The loss of a loved one is always hard and never easy to come to terms with no matter how old they are. Some of our young people have lost siblings, friends or a parent in their life due to illness or injuries suffered from accidents and are unable to deal with their loss. Eventually some have turned to alcohol or the use of drugs or other substances to help themself forget or feel a little better for a while.
Many parents and children have either lost a son, daughter, parent, brother, or sister in the military due to injuries suffered while protecting our country. I can't imagine this kind of loss and understand why some people need to find a way to deal with their pain. The loss of a loved one no matter who they are is one of the hardest things in life to deal with. Many people that have experienced the loss of a loved one have had to take medications for depression, anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia just to get through the day or night.
It's easy to see why many people have become dependent on prescription drugs or alcohol during times of stress and depression. Sometimes young people turn to street drugs like marijuana or stimulants like crystal Meth or Ritalin to escape and get high. When situations take place in our lives that are out of our control it's often hard for people to cope and many find ways of self-medicating themselves rather than seeking medical help.
When we find ways to self-medicate ourselves we only make the situation worse in the long run. Stress and anxiety over an extended period of time can cause many serious illnesses if gone untreated or if we choose to medicate ourselves through food, tobacco, alcohol or drugs.
Seeking professional help is essential for anyone suffering from depression, stress, anxiety and ongoing panic attacks. There are safe medications that can be prescribed which will help with the emotional, physical and uncomfortable symptoms you're experiencing. Therapy, counseling, meditation, and yoga are just a few helpful ways of dealing with stress, depression and anxiety that are overwhelming and affecting your life.
Sadly another disaster struck this past week that has caused devastation, taken many lives and has changed Japan forever. It's disasters like this that make you stop and think; life is precious and way to short. We take so much in life for granted without even realizing it. Many people have families, loved ones and friends that were lost due to the traumatic events that took place. Our hearts and our prayers go out to all those suffering during this time.