The Link between Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety is an emotion that everyone has at some time. It’s characterized by nervousness and uneasiness. It often occurs before an event such as a test or job interview. Small amounts of anxiety are healthy. It helps a person stay aware and alert.

Addiction and anxiety are closely related. Many people who have anxiety use drugs and alcohol to manage their condition. Some people may also develop anxiety as the result of their substance abuse. Professionals have to be able to identify whether the anxiety triggered substance abuse or the substance abuse triggered the anxiety.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

People who have high levels of anxiety often find that it is debilitating. Symptoms of severe anxiety include chest pain, choking sensation, heart palpitations, trembling and muscle tension. High levels of anxiety can impair performance at work and school. It can also lead to a decline in relationships.

There are Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are different forms of anxiety as categorized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The most common type of anxiety is generalized anxiety disorder, which is also known as GAD. People who have GAD are constantly experiencing low to sever levels of anxiety. They always anticipate the worse outcome in a situation. They also find it difficult to relax.

Other forms of anxiety include panic disorder, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia. People who have social anxiety fear going in public places and being around large groups of people.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a condition that is characterized by intrusive thoughts that lead to compulsive behaviors. These behaviors include excessive showering, cleaning the house, repeating words, checking parts of your body for a condition and checking to see if one made a mistake.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a form of anxiety that occurs after a traumatic experience. This includes things such as a violent crime, natural disaster, war or sexual assault. It is characterized by insomnia, anger, irritability and flashbacks to the event.

How to Treat Anxiety Symptoms and Addiction

Both conditions have to be treated at the same time. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants can be used to manage anxiety symptoms. They can also help people manage their withdrawal symptoms.

Along with other services, cognitive-behavioral therapy may also be recommended. Therapy can help people identify the problems that they may be masking with their substance abuse. In addition to getting one-on-one therapy, people can join a support group and go to group counseling.

Complete Healing is Possible

Anxiety is not a sign of weakness. In general, it may be triggered by family history, substance abuse, trauma and long-lasting stress. Furthermore, people who have other psychiatric disorders are more likely to develop anxiety. For example, if someone has depression, then they are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than someone who does not have depression. Ultimately, treating an underlying anxiety disorder along with addiction is possible, but requires professional intervention and care.