How Stressful Events Trigger Mental Health Issues

How Stressful Events Trigger Mental Health IssuesStress is a normal part of life in California, and over the course of human evolution we have developed a survival mechanism known as a stress response or the “fight-or-flight” reaction. When the body perceives a threat it releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which heighten awareness and sharpen the senses. The stress response can allow you to do your best in a high stress situation, as when paramedics fight to save someone’s life, or it can even save your life, as when time seems to slow down and reaction times decrease during an emergency.

The Relationship between Stress, Mental Health and Addiction

Tolerance for stress levels varies between California residents, but everyone has a point at which stress can become overwhelming. Stress overload can produce a wide range of mental and physical symptoms depending on the person and the level of stress. Eventually stress overload can reach a critical point and cause the development of clinical stress disorders such as acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Chronic stress and stress disorders commonly cause or exacerbate anxiety and depression. Suffering from anxiety or depression is a significant risk factor for developing substance abuse or addiction issues, since people who are anxious or depressed often seek escape or relief through substance abuse. Finding relief from anxiety or depression in drugs or alcohol can quickly get to be a habit and may develop into full-blown addiction. People who suffer from a stress disorder are at high risk for developing substance abuse or addiction issues. People who suffer from chronic stress often feel a tremendous need to escape, and they may find a quick and convenient method of escape by drinking or taking drugs.

Stressful or Traumatic Events and Mental Health

Extremely stressful or traumatic events can lead to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is seen most often in combat veterans but can occur in emergency service workers and victims of traumatic events such as accidents, natural disasters or violent crime. PTSD is typically triggered by a stress overload that produces feelings of helplessness. Under the same circumstances one person may develop PTSD while another does not. Multiple studies conducted by the Veterans Administration (VA) and private research organizations have consistently shown that other risk factors contribute to the development of PTSD in certain individuals. People who experienced childhood abuse, bullying at school or instability in the home growing up are at increased risk for developing PTSD following a traumatic event. As with other stress disorders anxiety, depression, substance abuse and addiction are common psychological and behavioral symptoms of PTSD.

Treatment for Addiction and other Mental Health Issues

Stress disorders, depression and addiction can take a tremendous toll on a person’s life in California. However they can all be treated for a healthy and manageable life. If you would like help finding professional treatment for any mental health or drug abuse issues, call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have and help you find the treatment you need.

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