Dangers of Using Drugs & Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism
Whether due to stress, sadness or a difficult chapter in our lives we will naturally go searching for a way to relieve these feelings, even if it’s just temporarily. These daily ups and downs can hinder our ability to properly cope, which is why someone may turn to drugs and alcohol to help “take the edge off.” Those suffering from depression, anxiety or chronic stress oftentimes use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. No matter the reason for turning to excessive use of drugs or alcohol, this type of self-medicating could possibly lead to substance use disorder. If you’re doing any of the five things below, it is time to take a closer look at your relationship to drugs or alcohol.
5 Signs you Cope with Stress & Anxiety with Drugs & Alcohol
Using Drugs and/or Alcohol to Unwind
American culture often depicts using substances to deal with stress; winding down after a long with a glass of wine or a hit of weed. However, if you’re using substances to cope with stress from work, school and family, you’re walking a dangerous slope towards addiction.
Always using Substances in Social Situations
A social drinker will have one, maybe two, drinks at a social gathering, but they know when to stop. If you’re having several drinks and feel like you need it to feel comfortable or confident, it is time to reevaluate your substance use.
Needing Drugs and/or Alcohol to Sleep
Sleep and addiction are linked. Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to sleep issues, but insomnia and poor sleeping habits can also increase the risk of developing an addiction.
Alcohol is a depressant; while it may help you feel more relaxed before you sleep, you’ll have a less quality and amount of sleep.
Daydreaming about Using Drugs
Frequent thoughts about drug and alcohol consumption are a sure sign you use them as a coping mechanism.
For example, if you’re dealing with a stressful situation at work and you find yourself thinking you need a drink or hit to take the edge off, this is very dangerous territory.
Needing Drugs to Improve your Mood
Mental health disorders are often associated with illicit drug use. If you turn to drugs or alcohol to fix a low mood or anxious thoughts, substance use may be a way to cope with psychiatric symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or personality disorders.