Addicted to Stress: Five Ways to Break Free


Sober Recovery Expert Author

More and more people in the U.S. are taking trips to the doctor’s office for ailments and illnesses primarily due to chronic stress.[1] People today tend to have many tasks to accomplish and life has a way of getting messy (especially during this year of Covid), but have you ever entertained the idea that maybe you are addicted to stress? Could the incessant need to “go, go, go” and “do, do, do” actually be addictive?

At least 67 percent of people in the U.S. state that they are stressed out, and more than 25 percent state that they are “greatly stressed,” according to the Harvard School of Public Health.[2] Some of it is legitimate taxation on the body due to work, raising children, life issues, and other things on one’s plate. Lately, however, more experts think that stress may be partly self-imposed. As it turns out, one can become addicted to the thrill of the cycle of “too much to do and not enough time to do it” and even take delight in telling others of their plight.

Chronic stress is at an all-time high in the U.S., but people may be getting addicted to it. Find out the importance of taking a breather.

How to Overcome Stress Addiction

If the description sounds familiar, you may have to admit that you enjoy stress a little too much. You may also have to confess that you are addicted to the busyness, the drama, and the feelings associated with those circumstances. It’s time to break the addiction by consciously opting to take a step back, breathe deeply, relax and reevaluate your life.

Here are 5 ways to relax and break your stress addiction:

Evaluate your schedule. You’ve got to take a look at your schedule and let some things go. Do you really need to spend four hours each evening on the internet and then stress how dirty your house is? Do you find yourself making all sorts of stops on the way home from work out of obligation and then feel run down when you finally make it home? Take a look at your schedule and make some firm changes.

Turn the phone off. Nowadays, many arguments crop up when someone doesn’t answer a text right away. It can be stressful feeling like you have to have your phone with you 24/7 to stay caught up on texts, social media, and emails, and it can certainly become addictive. Try turning your phone off periodically or leaving it at home sometimes to break the addiction.

Exercise regularly. Exercise reduces stress, so get out there and do something a few times a week to get the blood pumping.

Ditch negative friends. Negative people are not the best of friends to be around. They will end up bringing stress into your life. Kindly refrain from hanging out with them and surround yourself with positive individuals instead.

Do nothing. Can you fathom yourself doing absolutely nothing? For just a little bit of time each day, sit quietly and let yourself relax. You can meditate, pray or observe the beauty of creation. Allow yourself some time to enjoy some peace.

If you constantly feel pressed, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your life. Know that a life of stress and strife is not your only option. You can instead choose to live a life of peace and happiness by making a few little changes. Prioritize your personal time so you can rest and revive yourself with a simpler, more content life—one that is guaranteed to make you feel ten times lighter.

How Stress Becomes an Addiction

When you are stressed out, your body produces adrenaline and cortisol as your body goes into fight or flight mode. In the same way, your body also produces such hormones when you do something awesome, like score the winning touchdown. Normally, those hormones will decrease when the occasion is over, but chronic stress will cause the hormones to linger and negatively affect your mental and physical health. You may get high off of stress and, as with most addictions, you’ll need to up your dosage to the same effect. You create more stress or drama in your life because it seems like the natural thing to do.

Do you know anyone who is an adrenaline junkie? Perhaps a person who is always insanely busy and almost proud of it? It is as though being busy carries the same weight as a good life, but it really doesn’t. Like every other addiction, it carries with it negative consequences.

If you or someone you know is seeking help for behavioral, alcohol, or drug addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 866-606-0182 to start the path to recovery today.


[1] When Physicians Counsel About Stress: Results of a National Study. (n.d.). Retrieved August 24, 2015.

[2] The Burden of Stress in America. (2014, April 8). Retrieved August 24, 2015.

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