How Anxiety Disorders Can Lead to Substance Abuse

How Anxiety Disorders Can Lead to Substance Abuse

Anxiety is a normal reaction to threat or danger. It helps prepare us to make quick decisions to protect ourselves and our survival. The stressors of the modern world can also induce anxiety, even when no threat is present. When anxiety is persistent, it indicates anxiety disorder, and this can take many forms.

If the individual does not have skills to manage their anxiety, they may seek alternative means for relief. Driven by the need to escape anxiousness, some individuals resort to substance abuse. Substances drown out, dull, or temporarily distract the person from anxiety. In these cases, substance abuse begins as a way to self-medicate. Addiction develops, the more the substances are used.

Eventually, the lines between self-medicating and chemical dependency blur and the individual continues with substance abuse due to a physical and emotional need. The vicious cycle continues, depleting health until professional help steps in. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety and substance abuse, read on to learn more about this comorbidity and how anxiety treatment centers can help.

Anxiety And Substance Abuse

In the wild, animals become anxious to protect themselves. As survival instincts kick in, so does anxiety, and all of this helps them make smart decisions that influence the chances of their survival. Once the threat is gone, they physically shake off lingering feelings of danger. Humans cannot simply shake off anxiety.

With less threat to our survival, our anxieties emerge in response to threats related to our finances, our relationships, and other modern stressors. These stressors are continuous, and those without the skills to cope with anxiety tend to feel it build until they are left with nothing more than the urge to take the edge off.

Not everyone struggles with anxiety, but for those that do, it’s not surprising that an estimated 20% of people with anxiety disorders additionally struggle with substance abuse. Getting help at anxiety treatment centers can help one overcome the need to default to substance abuse.

Seek Help At Anxiety Treatment Centers

Anxiety disorders comorbid with substance abuse create a handful of consequences that diminish quality of life and put the health of the user in harm’s way. While seeking relief from intense anxiety is understandable, relying on substances is a destructive approach to having these needs met.

By getting involved in a program through anxiety treatment centers, those struggling can learn effective coping mechanisms to manage their anxiety and avoid relapsing. If chemical dependency develops, the first step in treatment will be detox.

Find anxiety treatment centers that offer dual diagnosis treatment approaches to address substance abuse and anxiety. In these cases, it is a chicken-or-the-egg situation and therefore requires a combined approach to treatment.

Health Is A Birthright

If you or someone you care for is struggling with anxiety disorders and substance use, reach out to anxiety treatment centers near you to start getting the help that is needed. Good health is a birthright and can be achieved with the proper support.  

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