It is hard for many people to tolerate their frustration, making them prone to depend on unhealthy substances like drugs. The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston conducted a new study to see how frustration played a factor in addiction. By going into addiction treatment, you will not miss out on learning about healthy ways to deal with your negative feelings.

University of Texas Study

A study published on January 9, 2021, in the medical journal Psychopharmacology called “Lever-Press Duration as a Measure of Frustration in Sucrose and Drug Reinforcement” created a hypothesis that other than craving, impulsivity, or habit being factors in addiction, they believed a fourth factor was frustration. They trained rats to push a lever for food or drugs (reinforcer). The rats would either receive a sucrose pellet or an intravenous infusion of a synthetic opioid. The subject is considered frustrated the rat is unable to achieve the reinforcer, receives less of the reinforcer than anticipated, or has to work harder to achieve the reinforcer. If someone was frustrated for having to wait on a slow elevator, they would press the button repeatedly or hold the button longer with many more attempts. The rats did the same thing where they pressed the lever more frequently or for longer periods.

University of Texas Study Results

All rats would press a lever for intravenous infusions of fentanyl, but 10% would escalate their intake of fentanyl to double that of the average rate. When the escalating rats take massive amounts of drugs, they end up pressing the bar for up to ten minutes even though long bar presses did not increase the number of drugs delivered. Even though these rats were taking as much fentanyl as their bodies could handle, they were frustrated that they were not getting enough of the drug to satisfy them. A study like this could help scientists understand how frustration, craving, impulsivity, and habit can lead to addiction.

Frustration Tolerance Around Those with Addiction

It is easy for someone who does not have an addiction to yell, lecture, or give ultimatums to “fix” their addiction. It is best to try to be patient and calm during these moments of intensity. Set limits like not giving them money but fixing a meal for them. If you and your loved one both go to addiction treatment, your loved one will develop a frustration tolerance during their recovery, and you will learn to handle your frustration to them as well.

When people are easily frustrated, they tend to use drugs as a way to cope instead of healthier methods. A friend or relative of someone with addiction may lose their frustration with them when they make demands or play the guilt card. At Alta Loma, we understand how challenging it is to keep your cool. Luckily, our facilities located in Georgetown, Texas, can give you the tools you need to control your frustration and your addiction, like individualized therapy, family treatment, 12-step programs, and more. Please give us a call at (866) 457-3843 to learn more about our transformative services.