Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy How Relationship Turmoil Can Lead to Substance Abuse

How Relationship Turmoil Can Lead to Substance Abuse

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Substance abuse is an issue that millions of Americans face. It can come in many forms and can be brought on due to a number of different things. This could be because of job loss, the stress in life, or oftentimes, the deterioration of a relationship.

To learn about and understand someone’s substance abuse problem, it can often be beneficial to learn about their past relationships. “You have to look beyond the addiction and find its root causes”, say counsellors at Gatehouse Rehab Center. “Heartbreak, suffering, and loss are all triggers to drug abuse.”

While there are many things that can lead to substance abuse, relationship turmoil and losing a partner are some of the most common. This guide is going to go over why relationship problems and loss can often lead to substance abuse.

Losing a partner can be a very emotional time and leave you with a lot of negative feelings. You might be sad, mad, annoyed, or struggling with a sense of loss. Many people don’t love to let these feelings exist in their minds unchecked, so they will develop strategies to help them manage these feelings and get past the situation.

While these can be healthy, plenty of people, unfortunately, turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. They can help numb or suppress these feelings, or replace them with other ones that are easier to handle at the time. However, this is only a momentary bit of relief, and those real feelings will eventually come rushing back.

Instead of using substances to cope, it is a good idea for individuals to develop healthy coping skills. Drugs and alcohol don’t actually help you change how you are feeling or improve your situation, they only provide a temporary reprieve.

Replacing someone with a substance

One thing that many people don’t think about and plan for when a relationship ends is all the free time they will have. In a relationship, you spend hours every day spending time with, texting, calling, or thinking about your partner. There are constant reminders in your life about them, and they play a large role in who you are as a person.

But once the relationship ends, all of this time you would have spent with them or talking to them is now free. Once people have all of this free time and are not in the best mental space, they can often fill the void with drugs or alcohol.

Alcohol or drug use becomes much more regular for them, and a problem can develop incredibly quickly if it is not dealt with. Instead of relying on drugs or alcohol to fill time and pass the days, people should fill the empty space with things like learning new skills, spending time with friends, changing their environment, or finding other ways to better themselves.

Use substances to escape from reality

When a relationship ends, it can be very hard to face. You don’t want to imagine your life without your partner, and dealing with your thoughts while trying to go on with your everyday life can feel impossible.

Because the reality is too difficult to handle, many people will turn to ways to escape reality. This could be through reading or playing video games, but also through substance abuse. These substances can alter your mind and give it a break from the pains of reality, but can also do a ton of damage to your health, life, and mind at the same time.

Instead of trying to escape reality with drugs or alcohol, you need to find healthier ways to take a break from reality or face it head-on. If you cannot do it alone, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends or family for help, or even meet with a professional.

These are a few of the ways a broken heart or turmoil in a relationship can lead to substance abuse issues.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.


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