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Overcoming Stress Addiction: Understanding the Consequences and Finding Remedies

Updated: Feb 27

Discover the harmful effects of stress addiction on the body, including imbalanced hormones and an irregular nervous system. Learn how to regulate these systems for improved overall health and well-being.



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Written by: Tetske van Dun





***


“I will never make it on time to this dinner”

I thought while trying on the 7th dress to wear to a friendly dinner in town.

While looking at myself in the mirror I heard the voices of the newsreader downstairs talking about the financial crisis following the Ukrainian war threat.

“It’s so terrible that I worry about this now but...what will they think of me with this big belly and oh…. It’s such an expensive restaurant, I shouldn’t order more than 2 drinks for sure!”

I felt my heart racing and saw my chest pump up and down, even my jaws were set in a lock like I was bracing myself for an epic argument with my husband.

“Shit… that’s not good…”


“Ok… Breath! …in and out… 5 times, slowly -..-..-..-..-..Ahhhh that’s better.

Now, let’s just enjoy tonight and know that my friends are here for me!”

I got up and walked out of my messy bedroom feeling calm and ok with myself.


***


A little bit of stress is natural and necessary to live in this present day society where we want to be good, healthy, nice and beautiful people. Also stress is a natural response to danger and helps us deal with danger, real or imagined, in an efficient and healthy way. It can help us to focus and perform at our best in times of need.




However, when stress becomes chronic, daily and remains unobserved or resolved, it has negative impacts on our physical and mental health. One of the ways that chronic stress can manifest is through imbalanced hormones and an irregular nervous system. In this article, we will explore how this happens and the importance of learning how to regulate your systems for better overall health.


Health issues, work and money are some of the main causes of stress. World wide and societal issues, like war, inflation, the pandemic and financial crisis are also serious causes of stress for people these days (AiS, 2022). This adds up to an average of 77% of people who are experiencing such levels of stress that it affects their physical health (Global Organization for Stress, 2019).







How Stress Affects Your Body.


When our physical health is affected by stress it’s usually due to the continuous presence of stress hormones. It works like this: when we experience danger in any form our bodies respond with stress by releasing hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help to increase our heart rate, blood pressure, and energy levels, which can be useful in short-term situations such as responding to danger or meeting a deadline.


We can notice our stress levels rising by our heart rate, tingling or shaking, our voice changing and our breath increasing. It’s all the things your body would need to do to prepare for a fight or flight response. However, when we are constantly exposed to stress, our bodies remain in a state of high alert, leading to sustained high levels of these hormones. This is unhealthy in the long run.



Why Stress Is Not Making Us Well.


A constant state of stress, the continuous presence of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, can have a number of negative effects on our bodies. For example, high levels of cortisol have been linked to weight gain, particularly abdominal fat, as well as decreased bone density and immune function (Nemours Foundation, 2021). In addition, high levels of cortisol can disrupt the balance of other hormones in the body, including testosterone and estrogen, leading to further imbalances (Nemours Foundation, 2021).


The nervous system is also affected by chronic stress. The sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the "fight or flight" response, becomes overactive, while the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us to relax and rest, becomes underactive . This can lead to symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, irritability, and difficulty concentrating (Nemours Foundation, 2021).



Stress Addiction - Are You Addicted?


The most well known examples of stress addiction are workaholics or people working in high level business, gambling addicts or so called ‘adrenaline junkies’. People that need a high level of adrenaline and stress in their lives to be able to function in their day to day lives are considered stress addicts (DSM reference).


But stress addiction is no longer just affecting people in these extreme cases. The constant release of hormones and the resulting feelings of accomplishment and productivity can be rewarding for many people. This can lead to a cycle of seeking out stressful situations in order to get this rush of hormones and feeling of accomplishment. Think of stressful computer games like racing or shooting, driving fast in your car or picking fights with people even though there is no reason. Many people seek stress in their daily lives because it makes them feel ‘more alive’. However, this cycle can ultimately lead to negative consequences on both physical and mental health (Fastcompany, 2014)



Tools to Help You Combat & Deal With Stress


Stressful situations are, unfortunately, very common in our way of life. We cannot really avoid them. And the result of continuous stress is harmful for our health. So, we would like to help you to cope with stress in a healthy and balanced way.


In our NeuroZen Course, we supply some appropriate tools and information that will help you re-balance your hormones and nervous systems so you feel stronger, healthier and more capable of dealing with stressful situations.


By taking steps to regulate your system, you can help to reduce the negative effects of chronic stress and improve your overall health. Which way works best for you depends on the type of person you are, your general lifestyle and the type of stress you are experiencing. We recommend contacting your Holistic Health professional to get the right analysis of the stress contributing factors and the appropriate measures for you.




It is important to learn how to regulate your system in order to break this cycle and improve overall health. There are a number of ways to do this, including:

  • Engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga

  • Exercising regularly

  • Getting enough sleep (course availability opens soon)

  • Eating a healthy diet (course availability opens soon)

  • Seeking support from friends and family

  • Seeking professional help if needed


By taking steps to regulate your system, you can help to reduce the negative effects of chronic stress and improve your overall health. Which way works best for you depends on the type of person you are, your general lifestyle and the type of stress you are experiencing. We recommend contacting your Holistic Health professional to get the right analysis of the stress contributing factors and the appropriate measures for you.


Here is a cool and easy to follow guideline that someone can follow to help them manage stress and improve their overall health:

  1. Identify the sources of your stress: Take some time to think about what is causing stress in your life. This could include work, relationships, financial concerns, or other issues.

  2. Develop coping strategies: Once you have identified the sources of your stress, come up with strategies for coping with them. This could include finding ways to manage your time more effectively, setting boundaries, or seeking support from friends and family.

  3. Engage in relaxation techniques: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help calm your mind and body.

  4. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help to reduce stress and improve overall physical and mental health.

  5. Get enough sleep: Ensuring that you get enough sleep can help to reduce stress and improve your overall health.

  6. Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can provide the nutrients your body needs to function properly and cope with stress.

  7. Seek support: Don't be afraid to seek support from friends and family or to seek professional help if needed.


By following these steps, you can help to manage stress and improve your overall health. Remember to be patient and take things one step at a time. It may take time to develop new habits and find what works best for you, but the benefits to your overall health and well-being are worth the effort.


It's really the simple things that make the biggest difference. If we allow ourselves to open up to these paths that can bring us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other, and bring about more enriched lives.




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Copyright © 2023 Holistic Healing Tribe Community

Created by Ashley Elizabeth Dawson,

HOLISTIC HEALTH PRACTITIONER

FITNESS & NUTRITION TRAINER

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📢DISCLAIMER: This disclaimer emphasizes that the holistic health information provided in the blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Readers are encouraged to consult with their healthcare professionals before implementing any suggestions from the article. The creators disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting from reliance on the information and underscore the importance of individual consultation and personal responsibility for health decisions.



References

  • DeLongis, A., Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. S. (1988). The impact of daily stress on health and mood: Psychological and social resources as mediators. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(3), 486–495.

  • Murphy LR. Stress Management in Work Settings: A Critical Review of the Health Effects. American Journal of Health Promotion. 1996;11(2):112-135. doi:10.4278/0890-1171-11.2.112

  • Nemours Foundation. (2021). Stress and your health. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/stress.html


Links


1: Global Organization for Stress. “Stress Facts.” Accessed on January 7, 2023.

2: American Insitute of Stress, 2022. ‘Stress Level Of Americans Is Rising Rapidly In 2022, New Study Finds’. “https://www.stress.org.” accessed on January 7, 2023

3: Fastcompany 2014. Is Your Brain Chemically Dependent on Stress?. accessed on January 7, 2023.






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