Addiction is said to affect everyone in the life of a man who has become addicted. The chaos and stress caused by addiction cannot be isolated to one person’s experience, though it feels that way to a man who is addicted. His friends, family members, loved ones, coworkers, and many other people he encounters will somehow be affected by his addiction. More specifically, they will be affected by the way his addiction affects him.
The University of Calgary conducted a study which suggests that stress is in fact contagious. Big Think reports on the study. Researchers used mice for the study, which are often a positive indicator of human behavior. Using male and female pairs, the researchers would separate one of the coupled mice and “expose them to mild stressors,” then return them to their partners. Specifically, the researchers examined the mice’s CRH neurons which, the article explains, affects how the brain responds to stress. Researchers wanted to see how the CRH neurons might change in the partners who were not exposed to stress. Remarkably, the same changes in CRH neurons in brains of the mice who were exposed to stress took place in the brains of the mice who were not exposed to stress. What the neurons did was create what the researchers called an “alarm pheromone” which was contagious among the mice, sharing information of danger. When a lighting technique was used to “silence” the CRH neurons, the stress was not transferred.
Interestingly, the influence of stress is not necessarily negative. Certainly, the lives of men who are addicted can have a negative influence on the lives of those around him. In a sense, however, he is priming those around him to beware drugs and alcohol, abuse of these substances, or addiction to these substances. The system discovered by researchers “…might be part of an evolutionary signaling system altering others to pending threats,” the article explains. Information passed from one bring to the other “…neurologically primes your tribe for a challenge.”
Recovering from addiction is a challenge you can overcome. At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, men are finding freedom from addiction every day through innovative treatment programs creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474