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Connection Between Anxiety and Drug Abuse

Decades of research has shown that anxiety disorders and substance use disorders go hand in hand. Although the connection between anxiety and drug use is not fully understood, experts do know that the rate of co-occurrence cannot be explained away by chance alone.

In other words, anxiety and addiction have a strong connection that needs to be understood. If you or someone you love suffers from addiction and anxiety, it’s important to understand this relationship to have the best chances of recovery.

The Relationship Between Anxiety and Addiction 

The relationship between substance abuse and anxiety is very clear. A number of studies have been conducted to determine how closely the disorders are related. Here are a few statistics to keep in mind about the relationship between anxiety and addiction:

  • Anywhere from 10% to 20% of individuals with any anxiety disorder abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • It’s estimated that anywhere from 10% to 40% of individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction suffer from a panic related anxiety disorder specifically. 

These statistics tell us that there is a strong relationship between anxiety and addiction. These statistics do not tell us if the anxiety occurred first or if the addiction led to anxiety.

However, most individuals who participate in these studies report that they suffered from anxiety before they ever tried alcohol or drugs. This fact seems to suggest that individuals who suffered from anxiety and addiction suffer from anxiety first.

Because of this fact, experts have predicted that addiction normally stems from a form of self-medicating. For example, an individual may suffer from severe panic disorder. As a way to cope with this disorder, they may turn to alcohol, which turns into a full addiction.

To make matters worse, studies have found that prolonged substance use increases anxiety over time. Although the substance may provide temporary relief, its long-term effects are devastating to one’s anxiety disorder. This fact makes anxiety and addiction bidirectional in their relationship. 

Addiction, Anxiety, and Depression 

Anxiety is not the only mental illness frequently found in individuals who suffer from addiction. Depression is another mental illness that often occurs alongside substance use. Much like the relationship between anxiety and addiction, depression is bidirectional with substance abuse.

In other words, many individuals turn to substances in order to soothe depression, but the depression worsens with substance abuse. Individuals can also experience anxiety in addition to addiction and depression.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Addiction and Anxiety 

Whenever a person suffers from a mental illness alongside their addiction, they have what is called a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis means that they have a mental illness that co-occurs alongside the addiction. It’s important that individuals who suffer from dual diagnosis receive proper treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment helps to treat the individual from all fronts, resulting in holistic care. They will receive appropriate and specialized care for their addiction, as well as their mental illness. By treating both diseases, the individual has the best chance of recovery.

Failing to receive dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring illnesses can be devastating to one’s recovery. Because of the bidirectional nature of co-occurring illnesses, only dealing with one of the illnesses will often lead to unsuccessful results since the other illness exacerbates symptoms.

Get Help from Outpatient LA 

If you or a loved one is suffering from anxiety and addiction, it’s important to get dual diagnosis treatment to heal you from the inside out. Outpatient LA is an outpatient drug rehab that provides specialized care for all patients. 

Contact Outpatient LA today to learn more about our treatment and offerings.

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