How are Anxiety and Addiction Connected?


If you are concerned that you or someone you love may be suffering from addiction and/or anxiety, call 1-800-832-5250 to learn more about the treatment of co-occurring disorders.

Anxiety can manifest itself through symptoms that are physical, mental or both. It is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness. Stress, loss of a job, trauma, the end of a relationship, financial difficulties—all factors that can lead to an increased sense of anxiety. For someone suffering from anxiety, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. It may start as a drink after work to relax or a sleeping pill at night to help calm the racing thoughts. These individuals are then vulnerable to becoming mentally and physically dependent on substances. Individuals prescribed benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Xanax or Ativan, are also at risk of becoming addicted to these medications.

Anxiety can be both a cause and a symptom of drug use. Once you stop using drugs and alcohol for a sustained period of time, an evaluation from a medical professional can help determine a proper diagnosis. Both illnesses share many of the symptoms:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Isolating
  • Lack of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • High risk behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts

Dual diagnosis treatment is used to treat co-morbidity. This involves working with an addictions psychiatrist who can prescribe non-addictive anti-anxiety medication to help you become stabilized so that you may focus on your recovery program. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has also been shown to be an effective treatment method. CBT teaches clients to replace negative thought patterns with ones that more accurately reflect a positive reality. What we think and the beliefs we hold affect our actions and behaviors. For example, if you think “I am worthless” your actions and the way you interact with others with reflect this belief and you will incorrectly interpret situations in a way that reinforces this belief. CBT helps clients gain a new perspective that promotes healing and growth.

There is a Solution is a treatment placement service. Depending on your drug and psychiatric history, we can recommend a facility that is best able to help you begin your recovery process. There is a better way to live—call There is a Solution today to speak with one of our care coordinators and learn more about your different treatment options. You can speak with someone 24/7 by calling 1-800-832-5250.

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