Drugs and Anxiety: Treating Drug Addiction & Anxiety Disorder

Many people feel anxious when faced with difficult decisions or circumstances. This is commonly known as anxiety, but is not the same as having an anxiety disorder. Some turn to drugs to mask their anxiety leading to a dangerous mix of drugs and anxiety.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), people with anxiety disorders experience symptoms that do not go away and can even get worse over time. If you suffer from anxiety, you may find it difficult to engage in your normal daily activities like work, school, or relationships. Anxiety is often met with feelings of depression too.

Drugs and Anxiety - The word Anxiety printed out over a white background with an effect to make it look like it was down with a typewriter. Some areas of the letters have darker black ink that the others to give it an antique effect.When anxiety becomes overwhelming, you may be given medication for anxiety and depression by your doctor. Some people reach for illegal or non-prescribed drugs to ease the symptoms. But using drugs can actually make the anxiety worse.

It is important to know you are not alone. Our agents are available around the clock to help. They can get you placed into a dual-diagnosis rehabilitation facility that understands your unique mix of anxiety and drug use. They can help you begin your safe journey through detox.

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What Causes Anxiety

Anxiety can affect anyone, but there are certain factors that put you at a higher risk for anxiety. Below is a list of causes or risk factors:

  • Genetics – People with a close relative who has an anxiety disorder may be at a higher risk of having anxiety, especially if it is a parent.
  • Gender – Being female increases your risk of having anxiety.
  • History of trauma – If you have been through a traumatic event, such as physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, you may be at a higher risk of experiencing anxiety.
  • Medications – Anxiety and drug use often occur at the same time. It may be difficult to know what came first. This will be further discussed below.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety can be different in each person. Common symptoms include:

  • Restlessness.
  • Feeling on edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Difficulty controlling worry.
  • Sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Anxiety and drug abuse can happen at the same time. When the two happen together, it is called comorbidity or dual-diagnosis. The NIH reports that compared to the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders. The reverse is also true.

It is important to understand that there is a relationship between drug use and anxiety. As stated above, it may be difficult to know which came first. Anxiety can occur with both legal and illegal drug use.  

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Anxiety and the Link to Drug Use

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that withdrawal from alcohol or a medication such as a benzodiazepines may cause symptoms of anxiety. Common drugs that cause anxiety after drug use include Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan. When these drugs are stopped it is common to go through withdrawal symptoms. Anxiety may occur shortly after stopping the drug.

If your doctor feels that the anxiety was directly related to the drug use, you may be diagnosed with a drug induced anxiety disorder. This simply means that the drugs you were taking caused your symptoms of anxiety. Drugs known to put you at risk are alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, sedatives, and phencyclidine.

The use of illegal drugs and anxiety is another common combination. Along with anxiety, there are illegal drugs that cause panic attacks too. Illegal drugs alter the way your mind thinks and body reacts to normal stimulation and stress. This can cause symptoms of anxiety and other mood disorders.

You may also experience symptoms of anxiety when you stop using illegal drugs. This is part of withdrawal and may make you want to use drugs more. This can be a vicious cycle of anxiety and drug use that will take specialized medical treatment for you to be healthy.

Treating Anxiety and Drug Use

When you have both anxiety and drug use issues, you will need a special treatment center that knows how to treat both disorders. It is important that you attend this type of rehabilitation center to receive the right balance of both medical and psychological care.

While you are in rehab, you will receive a “multi-dimensional” approach to your recovery. This means that you will receive treatments that may include the following:

  • Medical detox
  • Treatment of both your substance use and anxiety
  • Psychotherapeutic medication for anxiety and any other mental disorders as needed
  • Supportive therapy to help build your confidence
  • Therapy that includes your family and friends
  • Aftercare programs that put you on the journey to long-term recovery

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Drugs and Anxiety – Begin Healing Today

It is important to start treatment as soon as you make the decision to get help. Our agents are available 24/7 and may be able to help with immediate placement. Don’t wait any longer. Call us today.