Addicted and Anxious? How to Deal with Addiction and Anxiety as Co-Occurring Disorders

It’s natural and normal for people to worry. In moments of uncertainty, people often feel anxious. Usually, it’s before speaking or performing in public. It may also happen before taking a test. However, these feelings of worry are often temporary.

anxiety and addiction

It can be a different case when you’re dealing with anxiety disorders. These feelings, the heaviness in the pit of your stomach, the ever increasing heartbeat, the nausea, and the shortness of breath often affect the normal function of a person. For these people with anxiety disorders, the anxiety gets worse over time and can affect their lives in insidious ways.

When it comes to anxiety disorders, the anxiety can begin for no reason. It can be paralyzing. And many people all over the globe, regardless of age, gender, social and economic status, are affected by this. Unfortunately, there are those who turn to substance abuse in order to remedy their anxiety and the symptoms that go with it.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

Most people don’t recognize they have anxiety disorders. Anxiety consist of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and even physical manifestations. It is rooted in fear, and knowing this fear and not wanting this feeling can often aggravate the behavioral response.

People who have anxiety may appear irritable, confused, pre-occupied, unable to focus, and apprehensive. People who have anxiety often have the following characteristics:

  1. They have an excessive need to be in control
  2. They ignore the physical and psychological signs of stress
  3. They have an excessive need for approval or to please other people
  4. They are extreme perfectionists

These characteristics develop and perpetuate anxiety. The “should, would, could” statements reinforce the belief system present in people with anxiety disorders. Examples are:

  1. I shouldn’t have gone to that party and drank so much.
  2. I could have set the alarm clock last night so I won’t be late. How stupid of me.
  3. It would have been better if I took up the management course in college instead of this. Now my life is miserable.

These anxiety-riddled thoughts are often based on the past and are actually futile. Focusing too much on things that have already passed and therefore can’t be changed is unhealthy. There are also future-oriented thoughts that increase anxiety symptoms, like feelings of failure and impending doom. These thoughts can lead them to seek drugs as a form of escape.

Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety symptoms may be unrecognized or swept under the rug. These can go untreated for years. People with anxiety disorder may unknowingly turn to substance abuse as a way to self-medicate. As a result, both the anxiety and the drug or alcohol use may increase, resulting to addiction. Over time, these two can feed off each other.

Treating Anxiety and Addiction

Often, when a person has spiraled into addiction and gets treatment that the anxiety disorder is also uncovered. It is important to treat both substance abuse and anxiety disorder. This is especially true in order to lessen the chances of relapse when you get into recovery.

In developing treatment plans, rehab facilities such as Bridges of Hope take into consideration the occurence of both disorders. At Bridges of Hope, both are addressed to increase recovery rates and lessen any untoward repercussions such as development of depression and even suicidal tendencies, which may stem also from anxiety and addiction.

Getting Help

People with anxiety disorder and substance use disorder need professional help. Facilities such as Bridges of Hope have a track record for treating both using modern and tried-and-tested approaches that combine medication and therapy, among others.


If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety and have repeatedly turned to drugs and alcohol–or have even developed addiction–please seek help. Bridges of Hope is here. Contact us at 09175098826.

 

 

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