Clark Counseling Solutions | Indianapolis
Founded by Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, LMHC, CVRT

Blog

Are You Addicted to Stress?

Are you stressed out most of the time? Have you tried to manage your stress levels, and the remedies don’t work or failed attempts stress you out more? Well there is a reason for that.

people-1492052_1920.jpg

There are dozens of tips to reduce stress out there, and all kinds of warnings on how stress can negatively impact your health and your life. But, often there is a major component left out. Our bodies can actually become addicted to stress.

When we experience stress, our brains release hormones, primarily adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. The hormones give us more energy, make us more alert, and physically ready to handle the crisis. It’s a survival mechanism that serves us well when we are actually in danger. But, that same chemical release happens when we are stressed over work, pressured to meet deadlines, dealing with a difficult relationship, and lots of other everyday scenarios. 

Our brains crave stability, and prefer to travel on the previously formed neuropathways rather than create new ones. Our brains are constantly looking for patterns and routines that take the least amount of effort to accomplish a task. So, when we have been stressed for an extended amount of time, that becomes the norm. Just like we can become addicted to caffeine or nicotine, we can develop an addiction to stress hormones. Most people who are addicted to stress don’t even realize it, because it is their normal state. This often begins in childhood, when a kid grows up in an unsafe, unstable, hostile, or high pressure environment. Those stress hormones protect them. For others, it can develop later in life from a high pressure job, or a stressful period in a person’s life. Whatever the cause, the result is the same. Your body becomes dependent upon that heightened state of awareness and fast reaction time. 

Excessive amounts of stress hormones for an extended amount of time are harmful to your health. So, it’s important to identify and learn to manage stress levels. You can reset your body’s hormone levels to where they should be by treating the addiction in addition to the traditional stress management techniques. 

Do you think you may be addicted to stress? Have any tips that you have found helpful? Please share…

Sarah ClarkComment