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How Natural Disasters Can Trigger a Relapse

How Natural Disasters Can Trigger a RelapseNatural disasters can be devastating in many ways, but especially so for recovering drug addicts. These troubling situations can trigger relapse, which can undermine recovery. Natural disasters place people in stressful situations, so if someone is unable to cope, the temptation to use again can be overwhelming. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stress greatly contributes to alcohol and drug abuse, as well as to relapse after periods of abstinence. Because stress produces both a physical and psychological response, learning to cope with stress after a natural disaster can reduce the risk of relapse for any Austin resident.

The Body’s Response to Stress

The body’s response to stress is controlled by various bodily systems, so when people experience stress, their bodies release epinephrine and cortisol. Epinephrine increases heart rate and blood pressure while decreasing the body’s ability to fight infection. This neurotransmitter is also involved with the memory of the natural disaster, which may explain why trauma is easy to remember. Moving on to cortisol, this hormone is found in the brain and triggers biological responses to stress. There is a connection between this hormone and drug abuse, as almost all illicit drugs have been found to increase this chemical in the brain. Although stress can produce helpful side effects, like increased attention span and the ability to store life-saving information, prolonged exposure can harm any Austin resident.

Stress and Addiction

Because stress can cause so many physical symptoms, recovering Austin drug addicts may look to drugs for relief during periods of extreme agitation. Because addicts are accustomed to abusing a substance to deal with pain or experience euphoria, it may be hard to avoid drugs after a natural disaster. That is why it is so important for recovering addicts to have a support system during stressful situations. This may be difficult to do when a natural disaster strikes, but having multiple sources of accountability can help. This is especially true if Austin friends live in another part of the world from you. Letting others know about your struggles can bridge the gap until you get to a support group, therapist or rehab counselor.

Help for Austin Drug Addicts

Dealing with a natural disaster is stressful for anyone, but dealing with a natural disaster while going through addiction recovery can trigger relapse. If you or an Austin loved one struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, we are here to help. Our counselors can answer your questions about addiction and help you find a treatment program to meet your needs. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now for instant support.