Woman feeling the effects of anxiety and addiction

How Are Anxiety and Addiction Linked?

Anxiety is a prevalent mental health condition characterized by chronic feelings of fear or worry. Although plenty of treatment modalities are available to manage anxiety, including pharmaceutical and holistic options, many people are not getting the help they need. Self-medication is often the response to untreated anxiety disorders, setting a person up for addiction.

If you or a loved one are affected by chronic anxiety and addiction, Promises Brazos Valley can help. Our dual diagnosis treatment programs can help you feel better faster by tending to both conditions. Call us today at 979.426.0086 to learn more.

How Are Anxiety and Addiction Connected?

Anxiety and addiction are related in several ways:

  • Anxiety can increase the risk of substance misuse.
  • Drug or alcohol addiction can instigate or exacerbate anxiety.
  • Anxiety can interfere with addiction recovery.

As you can see, anxiety and addiction play off one another. Either one can occur first and trigger the other. Here is a closer look at how anxiety and addiction are connected:

Anxiety Can Lead to Addiction 

Anxiety disorders come in many forms. Some people occasionally have anxiety when encountering stressful or problematic situations. But anxiety disorders are chronic conditions that may include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

While anxiety disorders are relatively common, plenty of people struggling with these conditions do not seek treatment. Instead, they may find relief in self-medication with drugs or alcohol. Forgoing the appropriate treatment and self-medicating with substances can significantly increase the risk of developing an addiction.

Addiction Can Trigger Anxiety

Even if you do not already struggle with anxiety before developing an addiction, you may be more susceptible to this mental health disorder if you misuse substances. Alcohol and drugs interact with chemicals in your brain, some of which are responsible for a healthy mood. These substances induce pleasure at rates much higher than the brain typically provides. Once you are dependent on drugs or alcohol, your brain will struggle to produce these chemicals on its own, and you will be left feeling anxious or depressed until you use those substances again.

If you self-medicate anxiety with drugs or alcohol, your condition will likely worsen. The root cause of anxiety is not being addressed, and you are not learning healthy coping skills. You will come to depend on the substance to soothe anxious feelings, which can lead to tolerance and the need for more significant amounts. 

Anxiety Makes Addiction Recovery Harder

People struggling with co-occurring conditions like anxiety or depression are at a higher risk of relapse. If your anxiety has worsened due to addiction, you will likely feel anxious whenever the high wears off. Without proper management, it can be more difficult to abstain from drugs or alcohol. 

Effective Treatment for Addiction and Co-occurring Anxiety 

To truly heal from anxiety and addiction, it is essential to get the proper treatment. The most effective plan for addiction and co-occurring anxiety is dual diagnosis treatment. This involves:

  • Treating both conditions concurrently
  • Taking anti-anxiety medications
  • Taking addiction treatment medications to minimize withdrawal symptoms and cravings, if applicable
  • Attending therapy sessions to address the underlying causes of substance misuse
  • Learning stress reduction and anxiety management skills

It is best to treat anxiety and addiction simultaneously. As you get your anxiety under control, it will be easier to focus on addiction recovery. And as your brain heals from the effects of drug or alcohol use, you will start to feel more emotionally balanced and less tempted to self-medicate.

Find Relief from Anxiety and Addiction at Promises Brazos Valley 

It is time to stop letting anxiety and addiction run your life. Promises Brazos Valley can provide the tools you need to reduce anxiety symptoms and overcome addiction to drugs or alcohol. Contact Promises Brazos Valley today at 979.426.0086 to get started.

Scroll to Top