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Alcohol’s Effect on Long Term Stress

Alcohol’s Effect on Long Term Stress

Using alcohol to cope with long-term stress may result in alcoholism

Everyone suffers from stress at some point in life. There is short-term stress, which may result from the anxiety that accompanies taking a major exam or attending a job interview, and there is long-term stress, which can alter an individual’s life in significant ways. Common causes of long-term stress include the following:

  • New job
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Death in the family
  • Moving to a new city
  • Diagnosis of an illness
  • Transition into or out of military life

Individuals who are struggling with stress may find that drinking alcohol provides comfort and relief. However, when stress is ongoing, continuing to drink alcohol in hopes of finding relief may eventually result in alcoholism. Even though drinking may provide a way to relax, unwind and escape from stress in the moment, as weeks, months or even years pass, excessive drinking leads to problems that only create more stress.

How to Handle Stress in Recovery from Alcoholism

Learning how to cope with stress in a healthy and positive way helps individuals recover from alcoholism and remain sober for years to come. Alcoholism treatment offers patients the opportunity to try new stress relief techniques. In treatment, recovering individuals may use the following methods to alleviate their stress:

  • Hobbies and activities that are unrelated to substance abuse – Fun activities, such as dance class, yoga, building model airplanes or any other fulfilling hobby can provide stress relief, as well as a distraction from alcohol cravings.
  • Eating well and exercising – Being healthy helps individuals gain an overall sense of both physical and emotional wellbeing, which helps relieve stress. Exercise even allows the body to release endorphins, which are chemicals that help a person feel happy.
  • Individual and group therapy – Individual therapy helps individuals work through the core issues of their stress, while group therapy provides reassurance from others as well as a chance to learn new coping skills from individuals who have been in similar situations.
  • Building a support network – One way to manage stress is to turn to others for support. Building a support network of family, friends, and other recovered individuals leads to long-term sobriety. These individuals can offer both emotional support and other, more tangible forms of help as well.

Learning how to manage stress is not only beneficial for alcoholism recovery, but also for life in general. Individuals who discover healthy ways to cope with their stress can use these newfound skills in many situations for the rest of their lives.

Need Help Finding High Quality Addiction Treatment?

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, we can help you find high quality addiction treatment. Call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator at any time of day or night. We are available 24 hours a day to help you find the treatment that can lead you or your loved one to long-term recovery.

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