One of the reasons of using drugs is stress as reported by a number of worldwide surveys. Stress is the way that you feel when pressure is placed on you. A little bit of pressure can be productive, gives you motivation, and help you to perform better at something. However, too much pressure or prolonged pressure can lead to stress, which is unhealthy for the mind and body. Everyone reacts differently to stress, and some people may have a higher threshold than others. Too much stress often leads to physical, mental and emotional problems. In this part of the manual you will learn healthy ways to cope with stress.
First of all you need to learn about stress. When faced with a situation that makes you stressed out, your body releases chemicals, including cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These invoke the 'fight or flight' response that helps us to deal with the situation. However, when you're in a situation that prevents you from fighting or escaping, such as being on an overcrowded train, these chemicals are not used.
If the chemicals that are released during stressful situations accumulate from not being used, their effects are felt by the body. A build-up of adrenaline and noradrenaline increases blood pressure, heart rate, and the amount that you sweat. Cortisol prevents your immune system from functioning properly, as well as releasing fat and sugar into your blood stream.
Stress affects different people in different ways and everyone has a different method of dealing with it. The chemicals that are released by your body as a result of stress can build up over time and cause various mental and physical symptoms. These are listed below:
anger, depression, anxiety, changes in behaviour, food cravings, lack of appetite,
frequent crying, disturbed sleep, feeling tired, and difficulty to concentrate, cramps or muscle spasms, dizziness, chest pain, constipation or diarrhoea, fainting spells, nail biting, nervous twitches, pins and needles, feeling restless, a tendency to sweat, breathlessness, muscular and aches.
Experiencing even one or two of these symptoms can make you feel frustrated or anxious. This can be a vicious circle - for example, you want to avoid stress but symptoms such as frequent crying or nervous twitching can make you feel annoyed with yourself and even more stressed out.