Your Stress Managing Habits May Be Aging You
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Ingrained Stress Managing Habits That May Have Been Aging You
Stress can cause emotional and mental upheaval. It can disrupt your everyday life and it can cause you to be unable to focus on what you need to take care of. But it can also cause health problems – including speeding up the aging process.
When you’re under stress, it just doesn’t feel good. This is why some people attempt to deal with stress by any means possible. And sometimes this includes delving into substance abuse.
It’s not like anyone deliberately decides to abuse substances in order to try and quell the stress. It starts out small, but gradually builds until the person must have these things in order to just get through the day.
One of the things that people turn to is alcohol. The ethanol in alcohol gets absorbed quickly and once it’s absorbed, it acts in the brain to prohibit certain signals from the brain’s neurotransmitters.
This is how alcohol dulls pain. It can dull both emotional as well as physical pain. But on top of that, it boosts the release of dopamine so that the person who drinks feels great as long as they’re drinking.
Alcohol is also a depressant, so eventually, the person drinking will need more alcohol as tolerance builds up in order to achieve the same effective pain numbing high they get.
Alcohol ages you by damaging the immune system as well as the brain. In the brain, it causes cell shrinkage and death that is linked to memory loss as well as dementia. It can cause mood disorders, blood vessel problems, fatty liver disease and insomnia, all of which age the body.
It also ages the body outwardly by causing the loss of collagen, which leads to wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin. Some people turn to smoking in an attempt to deal with stress.
Smoking creates a false sense of relief from stress. The nicotine in cigarettes creates the relaxing effect, but this effect is due to stimulating the release of dopamine. So the smoker feels like the cigarette is helping.
But what’s actually going on is while smoking, the heart is beating faster, the blood pressure is rising and tension is flooding the body. A rise in both anxiety and stress is actually taking place, but the dopamine is masking that.
Smoking ages you faster by limiting the amount of oxygen in the body. It impacts the blood vessels, the heart and even your skin because it prevents your body from getting the nutrients it needs.
Using drugs is the way that some people self medicate to try to cope with stress. What they don’t realize is that using the drugs raises anxiety and stress levels. Drugs also make the brain more susceptible to the effects of stress. You’ll be more affected by stress than those who don’t abuse drugs.
Plus, drug use speeds up the aging process. You can see this in before and after photos of those who do drugs. Drug use triggers biological aging by causing cells to age, and bring about inflammation in the body. But it also causes brain shrinkage and brain function decline.