How Stressful Events Trigger Mental Health Issues

How Stressful Events Trigger Mental Health IssuesWhen Ohio residents experience stress, their bodies produce adrenaline and cortisol through the stress response. The stress response is controlled by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system in the brain. The HPA also produces chemicals called catecholamines that cause an emotional response in the amygdala. An increased heart rate, shallow breathing and a strong emotional response often accompany a perceived threat or other stressful situation.

Ohio residents who cannot cope with stress may be more affected by the stress response. If you never learned how to cope with stress in childhood, or if you have experienced high amounts of stress or trauma, you may be less able to cope with stress as an adult. Experiencing stress early in life may cause some people to have a greater emotional and biochemical reaction to stress, creating a susceptibility to depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. For example, chronic stress can encourage bipolar disorder in someone with a genetic predisposition for the disorder.

High amounts of continual stress re-wire the brain and alter behavior. Synaptic connections in parts of the brain that control decision making and cognitive function may atrophy, while habit-forming mechanisms grow stronger. This may lead to compulsive drug use or other unhealthy coping methods, which may increase the chance of developing a mental health issue.

How Stressful Events May Worsen Mental Health Issues

Ohio residents who lack healthy ways to cope with stress may be more affected by problems. The stress response should go away after a stressful situation is over, but for some people it doesn’t. These individuals may feel anxious and stressed long after a stressful event is over, or may be less able to function during periods of high stress. If these people already experience the symptoms of a mental health issue, stressful events may increase symptoms and reduce the effectiveness of mental health medication.

Events may not be negative, but may still add stress and health problems if not managed in a healthy way. Stressful events may include any of the following problems:

  • Marriage
  • A new baby
  • Job promotion
  • Death of a loved one
  • Serious illness
  • Financial hardship
  • Divorce
  • College
  • Unemployment

Any event or situation that significantly changes someone’s relationships may lead to unhealthy coping methods.

Why Stressful Events May Lead to Drug Abuse

Drugs such as alcohol, opiates or cocaine affect the reward pathway in the brain, and may also affect the stress response system. In Ohio residents who are more susceptible to the effects of stress, this may lead to drug abuse to cope. These people may be more susceptible to the pleasurable effects of drugs, and may experience more intense cravings as a result. The brain becomes convinced that the drug is necessary for happiness and survival, and it may be difficult to stop using. People who lack a strong support network or coping methods may think that drug use is their only way to cope with stress. However, repeated drug use may lead to psychological and physical dependence and addiction.

Ohio Addiction Help

Mental health issues and addiction may be overwhelming, but treatment can help Ohio residents recover. Call our toll-free helpline to learn about treatment methods that may be right for you. Call now, as our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions.