Addiction is associated with relieving anxiety. People may drink, smoke, gamble or do drugs in order to cope with daily hassles, such as relationship problems, workplace stress and financial difficulties. This may contribute to the initiation and continuation of addictive behaviour.
Research has found that people who are exposed to severe stress are more vulnerable to addiction, especially adolescents who have experienced parental loss or child abuse. Furthermore, a study also found that 30% of drug addicts and 15% of Alcoholics suffered from Post-Dramatic Stress Disorder, and that experience to more trauma was sufficient to lead to addiction.
Additionally, Kosten found that baby rats subject to isolation stress on their 2nd to 9th day of life had a greater tendency to self-administer cocaine when adults than rats who didn't suffer isolation stress.
These results have important implications for the role of early childhood stress in the vulnerability to addiction in later life.