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What Are Some Side Effects Of Stress?

Stress is a relapse trigger for a lot of people in recovery. It’s also part of being human. Stress, like other triggers, must be addressed and dealt with in new ways because reaching for a drink or drug is no longer an option. In treatment, clients leave with an arsenal of tools to handle stress and other triggers. There is also a wealth of information that is available online with suggestions on how to lower its levels in your life. If you let stress run wild, the following may be wreaking havoc on your body:

  1. Anxiety – This symptom and the next one (#2) are extremely dangerous for addicts and alcoholics. We tend to self-medicate ourselves with drugs and alcohol, and when anxiety is a factor in our lives, we are at a heightened risk of relapse. If you are seeing a doctor, make sure she or he knows that you are in recovery.
  2. Depression – If you aren’t coping well with stressful life situations, depression may set in. The double whammy, is that illnesses are considered chronic stressors—including depression, so each is feeding into the other. Depression also prevents us from doing the things that help relieve stress, such as exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques, and talk therapy.
  3. Insomnia – Lack of sleep is not conducive to recovery. Stress can cause our minds to race, and when we’re not sleeping, our mental health suffers. This one is one of four acronyms called HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired); addicts and alcoholics should avoid getting too deep in any of these feelings.
  4. Weight Issues – Whether it’s overeating or not eating enough, stress releases the hormone cortisol into our bodies and increases blood glucose levels. Cortisol can cause weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, lower immune function, and a host of other negative side effects.
  5. Sexual and Reproductive Problems – Chronic stress can cause erectile dysfunction, lower testosterone, and a decrease in sperm production in men. In women, menstrual cycles can be affected, and menopause symptoms may increase in intensity. Both men and women may lose sexual desire as a result of constant stress.




If addiction is ruining your life or the life of your loved one, call the Serenity Recovery Center. We can help you attain sobriety and live a life free from drugs and alcohol. You are not alone. Give us a call, we are available 24/7, toll-free at (844-339-6964). Recovery is possible for you. Call now.