How Anxiety and Substance Abuse Can Lead to Addiction
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The Connection Between Anxiety and Substance Abuse

Written By Legacy Healing Center - Mar 2 2021

The Connection Between Anxiety and Substance Abuse

Table of Contents

The Cycle of Anxiety and Substance Abuse

Anxiety presents a significant problem in modern life, one that can have troubling repercussions for individuals and society as a whole. And since many anxiety disorders go undiagnosed, it’s not uncommon for those who suffer from anxiety to try to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.

A strong correlation exists between anxiety and substance abuse, with anxiety often driving people to drink or use drugs to cope with their disorder. Over time, however, drug and alcohol use will only make anxiety worse, easily leading to a downward spiral of dependency and addiction.


If you recognize any of these warning signs, we encourage you to get help now before your substance use disorder and anxiety get even worse. The sooner you seek help, the quicker we can help you heal, so pick up the phone today and contact Legacy Healing Center.

Click here to speak with a treatment specialist today or call us anytime 24/7 at (888) 534-2295

Anxiety as a Root Cause of Addiction

Anxiety, along with other mental health conditions, is a common underlying cause of substance abuse and addiction.  People with undiagnosed and untreated anxiety often try to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Consider someone with social anxiety who relies on alcohol at parties and gatherings as a social lubricant.  Or the person who takes Xanax or an Opioid to get through a stressful day.  If you’ve been using drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety, it is vital to get help as soon as possible, and we are here to provide you with information, guidance, and support along the way.

How Substance Abuse Makes Anxiety Worse

Ironically, this strategy of turning to alcohol and drugs to cope with anxiety is ineffective and even dangerously counterproductive. Far from making things better, using drugs and alcohol actually makes anxiety worse, and it does so in many different ways.

Anxiety is a common withdrawal symptom of many of the substances people use to try to cope with anxiety.  Alcohol, benzodiazepines (like Xanax), Opioids, and other drugs people typically use to try to calm their anxiety are all central nervous system depressants.  When used regularly, the body becomes accustomed to the effects of these drugs and adjusts its own biochemical processes to compensate.  When you remove the influence of drugs or alcohol, the person will be left with even less ability to relax on their own.

In the end, the use of alcohol and drugs, whether illegally obtained or legally prescribed, is only a short-term mask for anxiety and certainly not a cure for this complex condition. If you have been using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate anxiety, it’s time to get real treatment for both conditions.

Treating Anxiety to Achieve Lasting Sobriety

Without a concerted effort to treat the root causes of your anxiety, any attempt at drug and alcohol rehab will only be a temporary fix. Treating the symptoms without medical supervision is not an effective strategy, whether the disease in question is a chronic condition like heart disease or a deep-rooted problem like substance use disorder.

At Legacy Healing Center, we take a holistic approach to treating substance use disorder. We delve deep to uncover the root causes of addiction and give our patients the tools they need to heal their bodies and their spirits as well. By treating the root causes of their anxiety, we provide our patients the ability to heal, not only for the short term but for the rest of their lives as well.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Legacy Healing Center

Problems as severe and complex as drug addiction and alcoholism rarely arise in a vacuum. For the most part, emotionally healthy men and women rarely turn to drugs and alcohol. The excessive use of these toxic substances is often a response to preexisting mental illness problems and physical challenges.

There is even a name for this interaction between co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. It’s called Dual Diagnosis, and at Legacy Healing Center, we are experts at treating it in a safe, effective, and compassionate manner.

Whether the Dual Diagnosis arises from a history of childhood abuse, the untimely loss of a spouse or parent, or some other kind of emotional trauma, we can trace the root causes of the problem and help you develop the coping skills you need to face life head-on. Your journey to healing and recovery begins when you reach out for help, so we urge you to call 888.534.2295 and take the first step toward overcoming your challenges, so you can regain control of your life and treat your anxiety the right way.

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