Anxiety Leads to Substance Abuse and Addiction
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, which can trigger many different things, including financial problems, health problems, legal turmoil, interpersonal disputes, and obstacles in everyday life. Sometimes addictive substances like drugs and alcohol can quickly fix bad feelings caused by anxiety. But these substances should be avoided whenever possible. Unfortunately, this behavior pattern can lead to the development of an addiction.
According to the American Association for Anxiety and Depression, about twenty percent of people diagnosed with anxiety disorders also have a problem with drug use. People who are forced to live with anxiety, emotional upheaval, and physical symptoms related to anxiety may be more likely to use addictive medications to find temporary comfort. Unfortunately, anxiety symptoms are sometimes made worse by drug and alcohol use. Fortunately, people with anxiety can benefit from education about anxiety disorders and how these diseases can increase their risk of substance abuse, which in turn can help them break the addiction cycle and move into rehab.
Ways Of Anxiety That Lead to Substance Abuse
Opioids and prescription pain relievers can provide short-term relief from symptoms of physical anxiety.
Physical discomfort caused by anxiety can include muscle tightness, headaches, palpitations, tremors, shallow breathing, abdominal pain, nausea, and migraines. Anxiety can also cause heart palpitations. Many people take prescription pain medications to ease the physical suffering that can be overwhelming and interfering with their normal lives. However, overuse of these drugs can lead to substance abuse, abuse, and unfortunately addiction, even if the substances themselves are legal.
People with anxiety may have a great need to self-medicate their emotional anxiety with substances such as alcohol or drugs.
Anxiety disorders can make people feel as if they are living in a state of impending doom. In addition, anxiety disorders can make individuals feel as if they have no control over their situation or any hope for the future, which can lead to drug abuse. At the same time, anxiety can cause symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions that can lead to increased drug and alcohol use.
Brain changes can be caused by anxiety, and these changes can make a person more susceptible to drug abuse.
The amygdala, a small almond-shaped gland responsible for regulating emotions and mood, enlarges when someone is always restless. This almost always results in hyperactivity. The connection between the amygdala and the prefrontal brain becomes more jagged when a person is restless. When this happens, people find it hard to think rationally. These changes in the brain can make a person more susceptible to substances like drugs and alcohol, and also generally more impulsive.
Restless people often look for ways to relieve emotional pain.
People with anxiety disorders can suffer from severe emotional pain. For example:
- People who are always upset, irritated, or anxious may use alcohol as a coping measure.
- Not being able to sleep at night can lead to the use of prescription medications such as Xanax, Lunesta, Ambien and Restoril.
- Ketamine, PCP, LCD and other hallucinogens can be used by those who wish to escape reality altogether.
- People who are tired and unable to concentrate can turn to energy-producing stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin.
After the effects of these drugs have ceased, after the momentary comfort they provide, a collapse usually ensues. Thanks to this revolving door, they can still consume the medicine. The possible consequences are addiction and abuse.
- Nursing care with an emphasis on the brain that heals anxiety and other mental health conditions
Both anxiety and drug addiction have their roots in the brain, although anxiety is more common. For this reason, we use a brain-centered strategy to treat mental illness and addiction-related difficulties.
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