Understanding Anxiety and Addiction
Anxiety entails an emotion that individuals will feel involving being uneasy or unexplained nervousness. These feelings often come up in high-stress situations or when a significant event or occurrence is happening, such as making a life change, taking a test, or confronting a new crisis. Anxiety is the body’s way to provide awareness and alert you to potential danger or uncomfortably. Anxiety disorder can occur in different forms, including panic disorder, personality disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
As your body is in a heightened state of fear or nervousness, it can become debilitating, making it challenging to function throughout the day. Many people turn to substance abuse to self-medicate to reduce the side effects, mitigate those symptoms, and alleviate their severity. As your use of drugs and alcohol increases, the more your body will become dependent on these substances to function normally throughout each day while opening the door to a life of drug or alcohol addiction.
Is Substance Abuse a Symptom of Anxiety?
Simply put, substance abuse is not a symptom of anxiety. However, individuals living with an anxiety disorder are at higher risk of developing a substance abuse disorder being twice as likely to enter into an addiction to drugs and alcohol than the general population. Living with generalized anxiety disorder comes with crippling side effects that are difficult to manage without the proper support of clinicians and medical professionals. Many individuals will attempt to find methods of healing within their own home, leading many to turn to alcohol or drugs to escape the intensity of anxiety disorder and be able to feel some normalcy. What many do not expect with this method of self-medication is that alcohol and drugs can exacerbate your anxiety disorder’s physical and psychological symptoms.
See which are the common drugs found in the home here:
Can Substance Abuse Cause Anxiety?
The use of alcohol and drugs will produce a variety of sensations and feelings within a person. Depending on your choice of drug or alcohol, as your levels of intoxication increase, some individuals will experience similar symptoms of anxiety. Additionally, drugs and alcohol withdrawal can commonly produce symptoms of anxiety, restlessness, and sleep disruptions.
Risk Factors for Anxiety and Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorders and anxiety disorders commonly coincide with a high proportionate amount of individuals experiencing both. Similarly, the risk factors associated with developing an anxiety or substance use disorder are often parallel with each other. The risk factors do not cause one or the other, as both anxiety disorders and substance disorders will evolve from the same risk factors.
Common risk factors for drug or alcohol addiction and anxiety disorder are:
Depending on your physiological makeup and family history, you may have an increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder or drug or alcohol addiction.
Environmental triggers or past experiences
Individuals who have experienced varying levels of trauma or abuse in their past, for example, are at a higher risk of developing a substance use disorder, along with increasing the probability of living with an anxiety disorder.
Depending on your age and stages of development, you may be at higher risk for anxiety and addiction. For example, adolescents going through developmental changes in their body and brain functioning can be more susceptible to drug or alcohol use and anxiety disorders.
There are key brain regions that respond to stress or rewards and can be affected by drug or alcohol use or experience high anxiety levels.
The Importance of Treating Anxiety and Addiction in Tandem
When you live with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and addiction, you must address both presenting concerns within an addiction treatment center through a dual diagnosis treatment program. As you manage what has been at the root of your drug and alcohol addiction, it is common for individuals to recognize that the symptoms of their co-occurring disorder have influenced their addictive behavior. Your treatment program will consist of helping you learn new methods of managing your anxiety disorder and its side effects from it with healthy, holistic forms of treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment provides individuals with the tools to create a healthy, sober lifestyle free of unpleasant side effects.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment at WhiteSands
WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab is the top choice for patients seeking effective addiction treatment. We help patients access dual diagnosis treatment within an inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab that uses the latest in drug and alcohol addiction therapy methods and mental health approaches with the supervision of medical professionals. Our patients are provided with individualized care that will assess and address their specific history of substance abuse and mental health to support them in developing a solid foundation for sobriety and health. Our compassionate team values supporting patients to find their passion for life and self-love and acceptance through our center’s comprehensive approaches to treatment. Reach out to us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.