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By: Mohmod Irfan Shah

Stress is the body’s reaction to external events, and it can be the outcome of a single incident or ongoing problems. These incidents or problems might be acceptable or undesirable for an individual, such as the beginning of a new school or college, the approach of parents towards their children, financial issues, getting married or divorced, having a baby, being unwell, losing a loved one, relocating, or being in an accident. We experience three types of stress in our day-to-day lives:

  • Everyday stress caused by everyday situations
  • Stress caused by a sudden unexpected shift or incident
  • Stress caused by a traumatic incident

Changes take place in the brain and body when a person is stressed. The heart rate intensifies; pulse rate increases; concentration, attention, and the senses sharpen; and the urge to sleep and eat decreases. Each of us copes with stress differently and some may turn to inappropriate stress management strategies, such as substance abuse. Stress can raise a person’s likelihood of consuming drugs; in fact, stressed individuals are more prone to use mind-altering substances.

Stress is the most well-known contributing factor to drug addiction and relapse susceptibility. Many stressed people drink alcohol or consume drugs to calm themselves every day. So, before we go ahead, ask yourself, Is drinking alcohol or consuming substances beneficial for all of the symptoms of stress? Is it true that consuming drugs increases stress or helps individuals cope with stress?

When stressed, the idea of taking a pill, sedative drugs or a drink and suddenly having the energy to perform more chores in less time may sound enticing, or you might feel calm for a while. People frequently take stimulants, particularly prescription stimulants, to lower their workload or control their anger or stress. One of the most serious issues with the stress-stimulant relationship is the increased possibility of addiction which we ignore most of the time. Nowadays, it is common to consume alcohol or take drugs to ease tension. Despite anecdotal evidence that drinking can help a person relax, using alcohol or drugs to cope with stress is useless. When combined with stress symptoms, the physical side effects of alcohol usage or drugs may wreak havoc on the body. Aside from potential health risks, going to alcohol every time a stressful circumstance arises inhibits the development of natural coping mechanisms.

Students and Substance Abuse:

The factors contributing to the high incidence of drug usage among college students are Curiosity, peer pressure, stress, and course load.

Today’s generation tries to explore new aspects of life on their own. It is not unusual for this self-exploration to lead today’s young age to drug use. The celebrities we follow on social media largely affect what we want to do in our life. Following idols that are into drugs or seeing videos over the internet and forcing themselves to experiment the same is not uncommon nowadays.

College students accompanied by other students, and friends, who are using pleasure drugs for sleep and performance, are more inclined to trial those drugs themselves. The friend circle with whom we move is the most common cause of drug abuse nowadays. One drug addict involves more people every next day, and the chain is growing on. Parents providing money to their children without even asking for the reason gives it a more push. The easy availability of such drugs is pushing our society to our darker end. Time is not far when we will see drug addicts on the street if strict legal action is not taken at this moment. We as citizens are responsible for the growth of drug abuse, as we see students at places where they should not be or carry stuff they should not be having. The same reason is why theft cases are rising, as the same drug addicts get into a robbery when they don’t get enough money from family.

Many students turn to drugs to deal with the intense demands of academics, internships, part-time jobs, social duties, and other obligations. Students nowadays are turning to stimulants like Adderall to make them stay up long enough to work or complete coursework by the due date. These prescription medicines are often acquired without a valid prescription.

These reasons seem to be unclear why a student may experiment with drugs or alcohol. They may be attempting to conceal prior trauma. They might be maintaining a habit that they started in high school. The liberty of being away from family and the easy availability of drugs and alcohol make it easy to explore.

How can we as an individual or society help?

This is the right time for us as an individual or society to reform our strategy for alcohol and drug use disorders before it’s too late. Letting our community degrade or upgrade in our hands. It is precisely the same when we think of ourselves or loved ones whom we want to take pen over drugs. The story doesn’t end at our home; keeping a check on your child or your loved ones, you have to help your society in this cause; Holding webinars, seminars and group discussions to make people aware of drug abuse. We find syringes, sedative tablet packets, or cannabis growing in many places nowadays. Either we ignore them, or we don’t know what these are. If we know, we should not keep it within ourselves; making our society aware of this evil is our duty. Doctors cannot roam around in graveyards and old buildings or under-construction structures; our responsibility is to check these places. Doctors can help them with a specific medicine or counselling lessons, but we have to check where it comes from, who is helping them, what the cause is, and why the percentage increases. If we find any clue about anyone or any place where this crime occurs, it is better to take help from any professional and perform your duty.


Everyone can understand stress management, but it requires practice. Here are some helpful hints:

Look for yourself: Healthy nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep can lift your mood and ability to cope! Believe in yourself that you can overcome any difficulty. Each of us experiences ups and downs in life, but that doesn’t mean the downs of our life will push us into something from which we can never come out. Drugs are never a solution for stress.

Focus: To avoid getting overwhelmed, take on one task at a time. There is no need to work more than your body isn’t comfortable. You can skip your chores if you want to. Give time to yourself, heal up and come back better.

Maintain your cool: Take a deep breath and step away from the argument, fight or conflict. Go for a walk, drive, picnic or do some other form of physical activity. There is no need to get into an argument which will degrade your mental health. Learn how to forgive and forget; that will help you to become a better person.

Continue your journey: If you don’t succeed the first time, practise and prepare for another time. Alternatively, you might participate in another activity. Failure doesn’t mean the end; it is just a part of life. No one is perfect; we all face failures, which makes us perfect.

Let’s talk about it: Speaking with an empathetic listener who keeps calm may be beneficial. If you are stressed, talk to a close friend, or you can visit a psychologist or counsellor for the same. But if you opt for drugs over a talk, it is going to affect you and push you to end your life in the long run. No matter what, your parents, teachers, friends and siblings can be the best listeners; you need to approach the right person according to the situation.

The writer, pursuing B.E Civil Engineering from SSM College of Engineering, is a Columnist, poet and co-author of an anthology “Pristine Scars”. Email: [email protected]

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