Stress Isn’t Harmful–How You Handle It Is
A stressful event or situation is not inherently harmful. What is harmful, however, is how a person interprets the stressor and copes with it. Some people cope with reappraisal, or assessing a situation differently and reinterpreting its meaning by saying something like, “This isn’t a big deal.” Others cope by smoking, overeating or self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.
People who are in unhappy marriages, unsatisfied with their jobs or experience harassment also report higher rates of addiction. Research suggests an undeniable correlation between chronic stress and substance abuse, especially if a person experienced adversity in childhood stemming from:
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Family dysfunction