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Can Anxiety Cause Addiction?

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Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, impacting over 13% of the country’s population every year. While it’s highly treatable, less than 40% of those suffering from an anxiety disorder will receive the help they so desperately need. 

Among the behavioral concerns that stem from anxiety is addiction. Over 10 million people misuse opioids every year, and more than 750,000 people have died from drug overdose since 1999. Nearly 15 million people above the age of 12 suffer from alcohol use disorder

Drug addiction and anxiety are two of the most common issues people face in the world, so it’s no surprise to learn that the two are sometimes connected. Drug and alcohol abuse can result in anxiety-related symptoms, and many anxiety patients are prone to experience drug addiction. 

Whether you have anxiety and are worried you might one day turn to drugs and alcohol, or you have an addiction and are suffering from anxiety-related symptoms, it’s important to know that help is available. If you feel you or a loved one needs help, don’t hesitate to reach out today!

What are Common Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety is a normal, natural, and regular emotion everyone experiences daily. It’s used as a response to stress or high-pressure situations. It’s your body’s way of signaling that danger might lie ahead and to remain alert. In the right scenario, anxiety is necessary for survival.

Unfortunately, some people suffer from something called an anxiety disorder. This is when the body is exposed to high or prolonged levels of anxiety – especially in moments when anxiety isn’t needed. Let’s take a look at some of the most common anxiety disorders in the world today:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder – also known as GAD, generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive and prolonged worrying about everyday life. 
  • Social Anxiety Disorder – this type of anxiety disorder is characterized by a deep fear of social interaction and large groups of people. It becomes extremely hard to socialize. 
  • Panic Disorder – often mistaken for a heart attack, panic disorders are characterized by intense physical symptoms that resemble a panic attack. It usually happens suddenly.
  • Specific Phobias – we all have certain things we’re terrified of, but some people have intense fears that impede their day-to-day lifestyle and create intense levels of anxiety.

If left untreated, it can result in a wide range of physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral problems that have a negative impact on an individual’s ability to live a happy, healthy, and rewarding life. For those suffering from an anxiety disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help. 

Can Anxiety Cause Addiction?

Those that are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are at an increased risk of turning to drugs or other substances to cope with their symptoms. When they find their substance of choice that provides a sense of relief, they begin to use the drug often to sustain that relief long-term. 

The more they use the drug to cope with anxiety symptoms – whether it was prescribed to them or not – the more they grow a tolerance against the drug and a dependency on it. This often results in using higher-than-necessary doses of the drug, frequent usage, or prolonged use. 

This is often where addiction starts. Their mind, body, and soul become dependent on the drug, and it often worsens the anxiety symptoms and introduces a world of new risks and dangers. For these people, drug addiction and anxiety could be avoided with proper treatment. 

Can Addiction Cause Anxiety?

While anxiety often leads to drug addiction, it also works the other way around – addiction sometimes leads to anxiety in people that didn’t suffer from it before. Even those that had anxiety before will likely see their symptoms worsen if they become addicted to drugs. 

A majority of the anxiety-related symptoms will start during the recovery process – more specifically during the detoxification process when the individual starts to experience withdrawal symptoms. Things like stress, anxiety, depression, agitation, and irritation are very common. 

In some cases, doctors and mental health professionals will utilize medication to treat anxiety symptoms in addicted individuals. This can help ease the symptoms and provide relief, making it easier for the individual to focus their time, energy, and effort on recovery. 

How to Find Anxiety and Addiction Treatment Programs

If you’re suffering from a combination of anxiety and addiction, immediate help is necessary. Without proper treatment, your anxiety symptoms and dependence on drugs will continue to worsen over time. This will make it extremely difficult to find meaning and purpose in life. 

At Thrive Treatment, we take pride in helping individuals overcome their struggles with anxiety and addiction. We use a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle, habitual, and behavioral changes to ensure each patient is met with a lasting and sustainable recovery. 
To learn more about our Santa Monica treatment services, our philosophy, and how we can help people like you turn a new chapter in their life, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can’t wait to help you begin your road to recovery – we’ll be with you every step of the way, don’t worry!

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