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Stress is a normal part of life for everyone, as it is the body’s reaction to change. The Oxford English Dictionary explains stress as the “feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.” Stress often triggers anxiety which is defined as a “feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” Chronic stress and anxiety can alter brain physiology, according to brain research. For example, studies have found that “pathological anxiety and chronic stress lead to structural degeneration and impaired functioning of the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex, which may account for the increased risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and dementia.” Anxiety affects certain hormones in the brain, including cortisol, known as the primary stress hormone, and corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), which is the neuroendocrine system mediating the stress response. There is a plethora of unavoidable stressors that people must face, and every person will experience stress differently. The top five most stressful life events, according to the University Hospital, are:

  1. Death of a loved one
  2. Divorce or separation
  3. Moving
  4. Major illness or injury
  5. Job loss

Each of the above events includes some element of loss. The Oxford English Dictionary defines loss as “the fact or process of losing something or someone.” The Mayo Clinic explains that “grief is a strong, sometimes, overwhelming emotion for people.” The more significant the loss, the more intensely grief is experienced. Grief affects the human limbic system by disrupting certain brain chemicals (e.g., serotonin and dopamine). Dopamine is the neurotransmitter associated with one’s reward center and feelings of pleasure. Serotonin is known as one of the chemicals responsible for maintaining one’s mood balance. Although experiencing loss and grief are inevitable when they occur their inevitability does not necessarily make navigating them any less difficult or less complicated, which is why each of the above life events are considered profoundly stressful, respectively.


For Information and Support

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.


Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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