Stress causes addiction

Approximately 15 percent of high school students abuse over-the-counter drugs, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Unmanaged stress can cause many mental, physical and emotional issues. Unmanaged stress can lead to hypertension, high blood pressure and heart disease as well as anger, irritability, social anxiety disorder and cause strain on relationships– romantic or not.
Patt Ellis is a Crisis Intervention Coordinator with the Kent Police Department and also works as a Chaplain. He has been with the department for 14 years.
“When you put stress in to that you see people start to struggle with looking for the activity which feeds that feeling or desire to engage in reckless activity. Stress causes us to feel out of control emotionally. We feel out of sorts and need to do something to bring that sense of control back. Some of those behaviors come out in being reckless; driving fast, gambling, getting drunk or high and engaging in extramarital affairs or sexual addictive behaviors,” Ellis said.
Driving fast and addiction to drugs as a release put students lives at risk.
“Because of stress symptoms, people will start to seek out activities that are unhealthy and lead to certain addictions. If you look at the personality type that does best in high stress environments you will see they close alight with the addictive personality type. I would not say that addiction is the main effect but because of the addictive personality falling in to addictive behaviors is an issue that must be looked and addressed,” Ellis said.
David Guidry is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) and has been in the medical field for 18 years.
“I think the term addiction is overused. When people talk about problems a lot of them feel controlled by external factors while in reality they do have control. The main idea for coping with addictions and stressful behaviors is by developing internal controls instead of external controls,” Guidry said. “It is also about resilience, like how some military veterans develop PTSD while others in similar and sometimes the same situation do not see any affects to their mental health. The veterans who do not experience PTSD usually have developed a higher sense of self.”
Ellis offered coping strategies with addiction.
“People can become addicted to working out, playing computer games, to the internet and even to their phones. One of the addictive behaviors that we are starting to see more and more of is an addiction to social media, especial since we all carry smart phone now. Some of the games on our phones can become very addicting,” Ellis said.
Guidry offered a different look at coping with stressful and addictive situations.
“Yoga, exercise and meditation are good building blocks for promoting self worth and better capacity for not being as affected by high stress situations.” Guidry said “Sexual compulsions as well as video games can become addictions that are not skilful coping choices compared to meditation and exercise this way students can be more prepared to deal with the hardships and stress high school brings.”