If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at 866-303-3480.

Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety disorder is the most prevalent psychological disorder in America that affects around 40 million people ages 18 and younger1. The following articles will explain the differences between anxiety and a disorder of routine behavior, the connection between anxiety and addiction and how to find help for patients with co-occurring conditions such as anxiety. Are you looking for help managing your substance abuse? Get FREE 24/7 support via SMS. Get assistance as needed.

The Cycle of Drugs and Anxiety According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, social anxiety disorder “frequently travels in the company” of alcohol or drug abuse, as people with social anxiety disorder might try to make use of these substances to help them feel more comfortable and less inhibited in social settings.

Anxiety Disorders and Drug Addiction

About 17% of Americans experience anxiety disorder. Those in this group may also experience problems with anxiety a little higher than those without anxiety. When people have mental and substance problems, it’s called the dual diagnosis. Treatment is available for both types.

The symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) include: 4 Feeling restless or on edge. Getting tired easily. An inability to concentrate. Being irritable. Tense muscles. Being unable to control worrying. Problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, or feeling rested.

Long-term abuse of Xanax can be associated with depression, psychotic experiences, and aggressive or impulsive behaviors. Therefore, the use of Xanax to treat anxiety disorders can also easily lead to the abuse of the substance, and consequently a substance use disorder.

How do substance use disorders cause anxiety?

Anxiety is a multiform problem. Recently it is becoming increasingly obvious that anxiety disorders often converge on addiction and that people suffering from one or both of the conditions will suffer from one. Substances are able to relieve an anxious condition and temporarily relieve symptoms. People exhibiting anxiety often use drugs or alcohol to soothe their pain and this will eventually cause them to ingest the drugs in the long term or become dependent upon these. In other words, anxiety is a common side effect from substance use which may lead to anxiety or depressed thoughts.

Panic disorder: Episodes of overwhelming, uncontrollable terror are the hallmark sign of panic disorder. Although panic attacks are rarely fatal, a person suffering from one of these episodes may feel an overpowering sense of doom and impending death.


Other psycho-social interventions that can be a potential cure for co-occurrences such as SUD is Mindfulness Therapy. Mind-body interventions, including mindfulness, have recently been studied to improve the effectiveness of reducing drug abuse. Mindfulness meditation is an intentional suspension of awareness of “current moment” experiences, which exclude judgements, evaluation and reactions. Mindfulness meditation was tested on incarcerated individuals with severe depression or post-traumatic stress syndrome. Participation in mindfulness courses predicted reducing alcohol consumption in 3 months without significant PTSD symptoms.


During the life span the prevalence of sod is 3%-13%. Around 20% of people diagnosed with sod suffer from a drug. A lifetime prevalence of AUD with SoAD is more than 50 % greater for the person without life onset SoAD (29% – g). A typical social phobia starts early in the teens, and symptoms of social anxiety usually precede alcohol and drug addiction (Sareen, Charter Kjernisted – et.al, 2001). SoAD has been diagnosed in 97.7% of Australian hospitals, and onset of SoAD precedes occurrence of AUD in 92.8% cases (Carrigan & Randall 2003).

Tell me the substance use disorder?

Substance abuse disorder is a condition that occurs due to dependence and negative effects on harmful chemicals like alcohol or drugs. SUD is an illness that mainly impacts the brain and causes severe problems. Prolonged drug use results in dependency and craving, which means that the body needs substances in order of functioning. Substances activate the reward system on the brain, creating emotions that induce happiness, relaxation, or excitement. Therefore substance use is going to continue to be an issue to achieve these feelings.

When combined with psychological and psychosocial therapies, medication can be a valuable tool in overcoming anxiety. Medications in the SSRI category (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are frequently prescribed to treat the symptoms of anxiety and help these individuals lead more satisfying lives. Drugs in this category are generally considered safe and effective, and they have a low potential for abuse or addiction.

Substance abuse and anxiety

Everyone feels stressed or anxious. But while many people may feel some kind of anxiety at the very least sometimes, it is not connected to specific situations or circumstances. It might be very insignificant. The presence of severe fear can negatively affect how you can function in everyday life. Many anxiety sufferers also have two diagnoses, the dual diagnosis is that the person is experiencing both an underlying mental disorder such as an anxiety disorder. Sometimes the anxiety disorder or substance abuse disorder comes first.

Ambivalence can be found among those who need addiction treatment, especially if the treatment program has been mandated by a court or legal program. Rather than ignoring this ambivalence, motivational interviewing acknowledges it and tries to help people work through it.

Treatment options for Co-occurring Anxiety and Substance Use Disorders

Coexisting disorders can sometimes have two distinct types of treatments: Because drugs and anger are a part of a person’s life, there’s no cure to treat them both. Co-occurring disorder treatment includes treatment programmes based on double diagnoses. Treatment could be inpatient therapy where patients live and have 24-hour medical care or inpatient therapy where individuals stay at homes and visit specialized hospitals for treatments such as medications and treatment counseling if needed.

Medical detoxification

All types of drug abuse treatment begins with detoxification. When you stop using the product after prolonged use, you may be experiencing gastrointestinal distress, nausea vomiting, headaches, sleep disturbances and headaches. Symptom-related withdrawal can cause resentment or even irritability if your body is addicted to something you are taking in. In such a situation it is important to get help in detoxifying your system under medical supervision and taking a drug as needed. It increases your likelihood of completing detoxification, reducing relapses.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive procedure using electrical pulsation of the brain to stimulate mood. This medication can be useful for treating depression as well as reducing anxiety and alcohol abuse. Moreover, it can be used to help prevent withdrawal symptoms from using substances after prolonged usage or to control cravings. It is not invasive and can help patients who do not need medication because they may experience some side effects.

How can I help someone with anxiety and drug addiction?

Assisting someone with anxiety or addiction can begin when you recognize some of the symptoms. Generally, a change is necessary to treat an individual who has lost interest in hobbies and is still unable to take a drug or alcohol. In serious substance addiction, first steps in regaining strength are usually detox. Generally, acute withdrawal syndrome is unpleasant but potentially dangerous and so it’s advisable not to do it at home.

Together, anxiety disorders constitute the most common type of mental illness in the US. The solution to anxiety and substance abuse lies in comprehensive recovery programs that integrate services for mental health and addiction.

Tell me the symptoms of substance use disorder?

Diagnostic statistics Manual for Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists 11 criteria used to detect substance abuse disorders. The type of criteria applicable determines the severity of a condition in a patient. A mild substance misuse disorder is identified by a number of criteria described in DSM5. Having four or five symptoms is indicative of mild substance abuse. Displaying 6 to 6 signs indicates severe drug abuse.

Effects of Drug Use on Anxiety Symptoms Substance use has a large impact on the psychological symptoms of anxiety . When someone consistently used drugs or alcohol for an extended amount of time, the individual’s body may develop a tolerance to the substance, which means he or she may need to increase his or her intake to get the same effects.

Feeling Anxious vs. Having Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a very broad term describing many diseases that affect millions of people. While the concept of anxiety has been widely understood, the mechanics and implications for the medical state might surprise others, besides the correlation of anxiety and drug addiction. Recovery can occur, but a part of treatment involves gaining an understanding of how much stress can be experienced in relation to substance abuse.

Women and Anxiety

Gender plays an important role in our lives. Women have two times the chance of having a serious mental health problem and have a higher likelihood of acquiring a mental health problem earlier than men.2. These differences may be because there are differences within male brains of estrogen- and progesterone and a tendency toward a relatively stronger flight response.4,5.

Tell me the symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety consists of feelings triggered by emotion. Symptoms are visible and can be seen. Anxiety is sometimes defined by the feeling of trembling, irrational fear & excessive fear and can cause physical symptoms of hypertension, sweating, dizziness, heart rate, nausea and vomiting. The most significant form of anxiety can occur when a person is feeling an irritant reaction to irrational beliefs.

Find dual diagnosis treatment centers

Generally our facilities have specialized dual diagnosis treatment facilities which are prepared to support the person or family member whose addictions or mental illness have been resolved. Find our rehabilitation centers below. We treat people with chronic conditions from state to state.