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Adults in the United States struggle with stress – from work, children, aging parents, major life changes, and much more. Women report higher levels of stress than men. On average, men reported feeling a 4.6 on a scale of 1-10, while women reported 5.3 on the same scale.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the US, and stress is a huge trigger for this problem. Feeling overwhelmed and too stressed without treatment or management can also lead to hair loss, appetite and weight changes, depression, irregular menstruation, acne breakdowns, reduced sex drive, and insomnia in women.
At the same time, more women are abusing drugs, especially alcohol, as they stereotypically drink wine as a reward for their hard work or to de-stress. However, abusing drugs and alcohol increases the risk of physical dependence, addiction, and increased stress on the body and mind. Women who abuse drugs or alcohol to manage stress do not experience less stress; instead, they put themselves at greater risk of chronic illnesses, early death, fertility struggles, financial problems, becoming the victim of a crime, mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and family problems.
Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol to de-stress, it is important to find healthy ways of managing the experience. Women who experience high levels of stress leading to panic may also have depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition. Consulting a doctor or therapist to discuss symptoms can help to get an appropriate diagnosis and course of treatment. Working with a behavioral therapist and possibly taking small doses of prescription antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can help to manage mental health on top of immediate, healthy approaches to de-stressing.
Women in recovery need to find healthy alternatives to drug abuse, particularly if they abused substances as a method of managing life’s stresses. Here are the 10 most popular healthy techniques to de-stress that do not involve alcohol or drugs.
Working to end an addiction, reducing alcohol or caffeine intake, managing a stressful life change, or managing symptoms from a mood disorder can all be accomplished with the help of these 10 approaches to stress relief. It is important to get help from medical professionals to manage mental and behavioral conditions, including addiction, but working to relieve stress in daily life will help women in recovery stay focused on long-term sobriety and healing.