According to the 2015 data released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2014, nearly 22.5 million Americans aged 12 years or older needed treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, however, only 4.1 million people received treatment for substance use disorder during the same period. Thus, there continues to be a large treatment gap in the country, despite a significantly high rate of substance use, abuse and dependence among Americans. Read more
In a number of social circles, it is a commonly held belief that in addition to its well-supported benefits for chronic medical conditions, using cannabis also aids with achieving general relaxation and reducing excess stress. While this may be true for some, a number of research studies reveal surprising and substantial evidence that long-term use is actually linked to anxiety disorders.
Evidence of this stress-based relationship was first examined as early as 2001, when Lorena Siqueira, M.D., and fellow researchers from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine conducted the study, “The relationship of stress and coping methods to adolescent marijuana use.” Reviewing the data from 918 participants between the ages of 12 and 21, 18.4 percent reported frequent marijuana use each week while 59 percent used it at least once in their lifetime. The results showed that adverse life experiences, a greater frequency of negative coping strategies such as anger and a lower frequency of positive coping like parental support were markedly correlated with those who identified as marijuana users. Read more
Although many individuals use alcohol to self-medicate their own stress, substance use is generally unreliable for achieving peace of mind and tends to lead users to dependency.
In “Does Drinking Reduce Stress?,” an article written in 1999 by Michael A. Sayette, Ph.D., he summarized an effect classified as stress response dampening (SRD) that drinking alcohol can produce. However, Dr. Sayette detailed that since the 1980s, previous studies had found inconsistent measurements of an SRD effect associated with intoxication. Over subsequent years, multiple factors have been identified that fluctuate the stress-relieving impact of alcohol. They include individual differences, such as one’s family history of alcoholism, personality, level of self-consciousness, cognitive functioning and gender. Situational factors like distractions during a stressful situation and the timing of drinking and stress can also mediate alcohol’s effects. Read more
Valerian root or extract, also known as valeriana officinalis, is an herbal ingredient that can be therapeutic in a number of ways. In terms of its effectiveness, clinical trials have sought to determine its actual utility for various conditions.
According to a collection of data detailed in the 2009 article, “Nutrients and Botanicals for Treatment of Stress: Adrenal Fatigue, Neurotransmitter Imbalance, Anxiety, and Restless Sleep,” valerian increases the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces brain activity. Brain scans have shown that those with a lower presence of GABA in their brains are usually afflicted with some type of anxiety disorder, so the potential for valerian to induce a sedative effect is physiologically evident. Other examples that showed valerian’s benefit include: Read more
Melatonin, also known as N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is a substance that is naturally produced by people and other organisms. In the former case, melatonin is synthesized by the amino acid tryptophan and other chemical ingredients when light levels decrease, usually due to the onset of nightfall. When molecules of melatonin are released, an individual typically experiences fatigue. This observed effect has led to various utilizations of the substance, especially for those who are burdened by stress and anxiety. So far, conducted research has shown its wide range of implications.