As much as we may try to hide it, stress is a problem that affects all of us, whether we experience it frequently or sporadically. From completing a rigorous work schedule to finishing a difficult test at school, everyone from children to young adults will feel a bit stressed out once or twice. It’s only natural. When our bodies experience “stress,” a variety of changes (both behavioral and physiological) begin to take place in the nervous and endocrine systems to cope with this stress. Unfortunately, as a result of these moments of tension and physical torment, some people will turn to alcohol to put a damper on their problems. While alcohol may appear to be an effect suppressant (taking away feelings and control), the fact of the matter is that these drinks will only make the situation worse. Let’s take a closer look and see how stress and alcohol use go hand-in-hand.
Dealing with Stress
When we experience a stressful moment or anticipate a stressful situation, our bodies shift their metabolic processes into action mode (so to speak), boosted by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis system to change the pathways of our hormone messengers. Ultimately, this is how we feel the “fight-or-flight” reflex, ordering us to make a split second decision to defend ourselves or flee. One of the most important hormones in this process is cortisol, which increases glucose levels and nutrients for an emergency situation.
Resilience, simply put, is the natural ability to put up with stress. Ultimately, researchers have discovered that people who have positive and happy attitudes and who are intelligent problem-solvers have a better knack for dealing with stress than impulsive, novelty-seekers. In fact, additional research indicates that people who cannot handle stress very well fall into one of four categories:
- Individuals with a family history of alcoholism
- Children of mothers who drank during their pregnancies
- Victims of abuse and/or neglect during childhood
- Individuals with mental health problems
Turning to Alcohol
When people consume alcohol, their bodies immediately release cortisol and completely changing normal behavioral function. As a result, these people will not respond to stress as they should. Even more disturbing, alcohol will also throw the body into a hormonal tailspin, completely upsetting the balance of our system. One primary reason people continue drinking alcohol is due to the simple fact that cortisol directly interacts with the reward system in the human brain. In fact, alcoholic drinks continue to influence your body even after the chemical components have left your system, resulting in alcohol withdrawal.
Always remember that alcohol does not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance use disorder or a severe form of addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your alcohol abuse or addiction troubles today.