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The Link Between Anxiety and Substance Abuse

The Link Between Anxiety and Substance Abuse cover

Those who suffer from anxiety disorders experience a different quality of life than others. Their struggles are not only internal but have real, negative effects on their lives. They face isolation and even relationship issues as a result of their anxiety. While some people are able to manage it with the help of therapy, medication, or other forms of self-care, others spiral into addiction as a result of their struggle. For those who struggle with both types of issues, recovery can be more difficult than usual. Because they often need to address both problems simultaneously, they require highly structured sober living homes that can provide support for both simultaneously. This article will explain the link between anxiety and substance abuse and ways in which you can work to overcome both at the same time.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion or feeling of worry or nervousness that occurs when an individual is anticipating something that may have a negative outcome. When these feelings become excessive and out of proportion to the actual situation, they may be an indicator of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders affect a significant number of individuals in their lifetime, with an estimated 40 million people in the United States experiencing symptoms in any given year. There are many types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.

Signs of Anxiety

Physical symptoms of anxiety disorders include a fast or erratic heartbeat, nausea, muscle tension, and sweating. People who experience anxiety may notice they have an increased heart rate, feel tense or anxious, sweat more than usual, or have an upset stomach. They may also feel restless or like they are “on edge.” Other signs of anxiety include:

  • A fast or erratic heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweating
  • An upset stomach
  • Restlessness
  • Being on edge

The Link Between Anxiety and Substance Abuse

There are many theories as to why people with anxiety disorders may turn to substance abuse more often than others, but none of them have been definitively proven. However, what is known is that there is a significant link between the two.

Everyone experiences stress in their life from time to time, but some people find it hard to cope with and let go. For others, stressors continue to build until they reach a breaking point. This can lead someone to develop a secondary anxiety disorder called co-occurring anxiety and substance abuse.

Consequently, many individuals who struggle with addiction also have an underlying anxiety disorder that needs treatment. Let’s take a closer look at the link between anxiety and substance abuse as well as the risks of having both disorders simultaneously. Understanding why these conditions frequently occur together is an excellent first step towards getting the help you need and deserve.

3 Ways Anxiety Can Cause Substance Abuse

  • Anxiety and Depression: Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. In these instances, the person dealing with these issues often uses either alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate. Some studies suggest that people who suffer from both anxiety and depression are up to 11 times more likely to develop a substance abuse problem than other groups of people.
  • Inability to cope: Some people cope with anxiety by escaping from the situation. This can lead them to find solace in drugs or alcohol. They may feel like they are too overwhelmed or anxious to deal with the situation.
  • Raised risk: Some studies show that those who suffer from anxiety disorders may have a higher risk of substance abuse later in life. However, it is important to note that there are many other factors that can lead a person to develop a substance abuse problem. So, while anxiety may increase the risk of substance abuse, other factors are also involved.

3 Ways Substance Abuse Can Cause Anxiety

  • Withdrawal: When a person becomes dependent on drugs and alcohol, they must take them regularly to achieve the desired effect. When they stop suddenly, they go through what is known as withdrawal. This can include nausea, anxiety, and other symptoms that mimic anxiety disorders.
  • Damaged brain: When a person drinks or does drugs regularly, the substances can damage the brain. This can lead to issues that mimic anxiety disorders. Studies show that people who have suffered from a substance abuse problem in the past are more likely to experience anxiety disorders later in life. This may be due to the damage done to the brain from substance abuse.
  • Comorbidity: In addition, substance use disorders often co-occur with other mental health disorders, such as depression and PTSD. People who suffer from these conditions are more likely to experience anxiety as well.

Co-occurring Disorders and Recovery in a Los Angeles Sober Living Home

Anxiety disorders and substance use disorders often occur together. Research suggests that people who suffer from both conditions are many times more likely to develop a substance abuse problem than other groups of people. Whether you are dealing with anxiety in Los Angeles or elsewhere, recovery is possible. Sober living homes make a good option for those who need to address both disorders simultaneously. These facilities, including Bridges Sober Apartments in Los Angeles, CA, provide the structure and support needed in order to help you deal with both of these issues at once. If you or someone you love is struggling with both anxiety and addiction, help is available. Reach out to a staff member at Bridges Sober Apartments today to find out what steps to take next!

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