In The Know

Stress, Substance Use, and Your Teen

According to Richard S. Lazarus, stress is a feeling experienced when a person thinks that demand exceeds the personal and social resources the individual can mobilize. It can also be defined as mental, physical and emotional reactions someone experiences as a result of demands of life. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), substance abuse is a maladaptive pattern use of drugs or alcohol leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. Stress is a well-known risk factor in the development of addiction or rather substance use disorder (Enoch, 2011).

Numerous studies have linked stress and substance abuse. Researchers believe that stress can cause brain changes which leads to misuse of substance use. Also, there are some mental health disorders such as depression that has been linked to substance usage. Stress leads to an increase in vulnerability of substance use (Sinha, 2001). There are a series of the population-based and epidemiology studies that have identified specific stressors and individual level variables that are predictive of substance use. Stress experiences can be emotionally or physiologically challenging and activate stress responses and adaptive processes to regain homeostasis (Sinha, 2001).

Learn more about the link between stress and substance use here: Stress linked to substance use