Attempting to bottle up stress or to avoid negative emotions can be a far more serious issue than many people realize. Being unable to effectively manage high levels of stress, constant anxiety or strong negative emotions that result from past emotional trauma can lead to no end of physiological problems ranging from substance abuse and addiction to behaviors that may be dangerous or lead to self-harm. Counseling can be a very effective tool for those who are seeking ways to better deal with their stress or to overcome and unlearn bad habits or unhealthy behaviors.
Stress is a natural reaction to a frustrating situation or the perception of danger. When threatened, the body undergoes a series of physiological changes known as the fight or flight response. While this response can be critically important during a survival situation it can often be very problematic when triggered during the course of everyday life. Stress occurs through the suppression of the fight or flight response. While stress is simply a part of modern life, stress that is chronic, acute or that is not managed effectively can lead to serious mental and psychological problems.
Bottling Up Emotions
Simply ignoring stress is not always effective. While learning not to act on instinct is an important skill, attempting to keep negative emotions bottled up or choosing not to deal with the issues and concerns which may be causing stress can be very unhealthy. Many people turn to drugs and alcohol in an effort to help regulate their stress levels or to try and escape the grief and pain of a past emotional trauma. While it may be possible to suppress stress and emotions in the short term, such efforts will only lead to more problems in the days ahead.
Psychical and Psychological Effects of Stress
High levels of stress may lead a variety of mental and emotional issues. Everyone responds to stress differently and stress-related symptoms may vary widely in terms of both severity and presentation. Physical symptoms commonly include:
- Digestive issues
In addition to the physical effects of stress, there are also a number of emotional and psychological symptoms that may develop, such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Suicidal ideation
Professional therapy and formal counseling sessions are often essential for learning how to cope with stress. Counseling services may also be needed in order to identify and address any mental-health issues that may be either causing additional stress or that have developed as a result of poor stress management.
Alcoholism and Addiction
High levels of stress can be a major risk factor for developing an addiction or other substance abuse problems. The effects of drugs and alcohol often provide immediate relief from stress and are commonly the only effective means of relaxation for those who keep their emotions bottled up. Long-term use of drugs and alcohol often leads to dependency, meaning that higher doses are required in order to produce the same effect. Seeking counseling in order to learn stress-management skills, how to deal with strong emotions or to overcome an addiction can often make a life-saving difference.
Learning to Cope With Stress
While there is no way to avoid stress entirely, learning stress-management skills can allow individuals to cope with stress without resorting to unhealthy behaviors. Even people who have been able to mange their stress in the past can run into problems, especially when it comes to to stressful situations like loosing a job or the death of a loved one. Seeking external help through therapy and counseling services can be especially important for those who find themselves unable to manage stress levels or who may have experienced a problem with drugs or alcohol in the past.
Trying to contain and suppress emotions or to keep stress bottled up can only work for so long. Problems and issues that may be creating unbearable levels of stress can easily lead to substance abuse problems or even a psychiatric emergency, especially for those who fail to seek help.
If you are someone you know is suffering from acute emotional stress or struggling to overcome a problem with drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 844-639-8371.