Alcohol’s Effect on Long-Term Stress

Alcohol's Effect on Long-Term Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life: everyone experiences it from time to time, whether it comes from a positive experience (such as planning a wedding) or a negative experience (such as a physical illness). One of the most common mistakes people make when they experience stress is turning to alcohol for quick relief. Although alcohol seems to minimize stressors temporarily, it can actually increase your long-term stress, as well as stress’s effects. Seek help to deal with stress in healthier ways than by drinking alcohol.

How Alcohol Affects Long-Term Stress

Alcohol consumption can create many effects that lead you to believe it addresses stress. For example, after taking a drink you may quickly experience slowed heart and breathing rates, both of which can simulate relief. However, alcohol can actually increase the body’s overall stress response by stimulating the release of certain hormones. These effects are more strongly noted in chronic users.

The way alcohol affects stress can become even greater when people continuously drink to relax. After abusing alcohol on a daily basis, you may begin to find that you have to drink more to feel the relief that you are looking for. This problem is the start of an alcohol tolerance, and is common in those who are addicted to alcohol. You may also find that your stress seems more intolerable in the times that you have not abused alcohol; as a result, you may start turning to alcohol much more frequently, like several times a day. When you develop an alcohol addiction, then it does not address your stressors in ineffective ways, and it can also introduce new stressors into your life, especially financially, physically and relationally.

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress

You may quickly realize that drinking does little to decrease your stress, but that it actually contributes to stress in many ways. After having this realization, you can begin using healthier and more effective methods of coping with your problems. The first thing that you should do in a stressful situation is evaluate what is causing your discomfort, and then think about what you can do to feel better. Sometimes, a stressor is something with an easily approachable solution. For example, some marital disagreements can be worked through by going to couples therapy. Find ways to reduce your stressors to help you feel relaxed and in control of yourself and your problems.

Many times the cause of stress cannot be easily overcome. In these situations you must find ways to relax in spite of your tension. Each person reacts differently to methods of relaxation, so you will need to discover what options best help you relax when you feel tense. Some healthy ways of relieving stress include the following examples:

  • Keep a daily journal to note patterns of stress which you can avoid in the future
  • Take a leisurely walk
  • Play with a pet
  • Read a new book
  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Treat yourself to a massage
  • Take up a new hobby

Of course, healthy coping mechanisms are counteracted by the presence of alcohol addiction, which means that you must combine recovery from alcohol addiction with healthy coping strategies before you will ever find true relief from either problem. There are several forms of treatment for alcohol abuse in light of stress, including both inpatient and outpatient rehab. While in treatment, you might also learn some additional techniques of managing stress, especially as you learn to avoid relapse.

Get Help for Alcohol Addiction and Stress

Treating your addiction to alcohol is an essential part of managing times of stress. Therefore, if you or a loved one suffers from alcohol addiction, then please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about treatment for alcohol addiction, especially if its causes are rooted in stress. You can recover with the right help, so seek it now by picking up your phone and making the call.