The notion that stress leads to drug abuse in vulnerable individuals and relapse in addicts is not new. Most major theories of addiction postulate that stress plays an important role in increasing drug use and relapse. Several animal studies and some human laboratory studies have shown that stress exposure enhances drug self-administration. Although clinical observations suggest that exposure to stress increases drug use, and are associated with craving and relapse in addicts, human research in this area is largely correlational and at times contradictory.
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