Anxiety is the human body’s normal, natural, and healthy reaction to stress. Unfortunately, some people experience high levels of anxiety during unnecessary moments of the day – something known as an anxiety disorder. It affects over 40 million adults in the United States every year.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, but it’s not the only problem our nation is facing. Over 14.5 million people above the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder and over 10 million people above the age of 12 have misused opioids in the past year.
Between anxiety and addiction, millions of people are struggling to maintain a quality life on any given day. They’re two of the most common problems reported by individuals across the United States, and while millions of people are currently receiving treatment, millions of others are not.
That begs the question – are drug addiction and anxiety related? How can anxiety impact addiction? Can substance abuse cause anxiety? It’s a bit surprising that these two disorders are very closely related, but don’t worry; we’re going to break down the connection between the two.
Contact Thrive Teen today for teen mental health treatment in Santa Monica, California.
When humans are exposed to stress or stressful situations, the body responds with anxiety – making them more alert, uneasy, worrisome, focused, and energetic. While this is a temporary reaction to stress, some people experience more severe, permanent, and persistent anxiety.
Someone with an anxiety disorder experiences these feelings irregularly and abnormally. They might come at a time when anxiety isn’t needed, the feelings might get worse over time, and they might overstay their welcome. Let’s look at some of the most common anxiety disorders:
While there are more than 40 million people with an anxiety disorder in the United States, only about 15 million of them are receiving treatment. When left untreated, anxiety disorders result in unwanted behaviors, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and a severe reduction in one’s quality of life.
People with an anxiety disorder are at an increased risk of addiction. They often utilize drugs and other harmful substances as a sense of relief from their anxiety – whether it be prescription drugs, alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco. When they finally get relief, they don’t want it to stop.
The continued use of drugs and other harmful substances results in a higher tolerance for the drug. This often leads to higher doses, dosing more frequently, and dosing long-term. Eventually, the body grows dependent, and the individual becomes addicted to the temporary sense of relief.
Of course, this only makes the anxiety disorder worse and presents a world of other issues, complications, risks, and threats to the individual’s health and quality of life. In order to treat the individual, doctors and mental health professionals must address both the anxiety and addiction.
While anxiety disorders are known to lead to substance abuse, the same can be said vice versa – substance abuse can result in abnormal and persistent anxiety. Not only that, but the use of drugs can make anxiety symptoms worse in those that already have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is extremely common during the addiction recovery and detoxification processes. When addicts are asked to stop or slow down the use of drugs, they often experience withdrawal symptoms – which usually include anxiety, irritability, depression, stress, and much more.
To help patients cope with the anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms, they often prescribe medication. If not taken as directed, the individual could grow addicted to the medication and abuse it. This complicates the recovery process and often results in relapse or even worse.
Is your teenager struggling with anxiety? Are you worried that their anxiety will lead to or has already led to substance abuse or drug addiction? If so, don’t worry, Thrive Teen is here to help. Our Santa Monica addiction and anxiety program is tailored and suited to help teenagers recover properly.
Our trained, skilled, licensed, and certified team of clinicians is dedicated to providing the relief, resources, and continued support needed when overcoming drug addiction – even in the face of an anxiety disorder. With compassion, assertiveness, and fun, we can change your teen’s life!
Contact Thrive Teen today and learn more about how our Southern California teen mental health treatment center can help you today!