Anxiety and Addiction

Anyone that has had a glass of wine or a cigarette to relax after a stressful day can understand a little how anxiety can lead to addiction. At the general population level, we can understand this. However, anxiety that leads to addiction is often the result of a mental health condition known as an anxiety disorder. Approximately 19 percent of the American population is suffering from this today.

Experts at centers such as those at know that at the clinical level, both anxiety and addiction are disorders that need to be treated clinically. When recovering from addiction, support will include treating connections to the addiction, and that will often include treatment for anxiety. Learn more about the connection between anxiety and addiction here.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a global term to describe excessive worry. It can be stress, nervousness, fear, and dread. There are many anxiety disorders that people struggle with. They all have their own unique markers specific to the individual’s problem.

If you worry on occasion, you might not have an anxiety problem. But if you worry about everything all the time and without cause, then you probably do have an anxiety disorder. That makes you one in five Americans that struggle with this.

This problem is marked by more than just worry and nervousness. It causes sleeplessness, overeating, undereating, work problems, relationship problems, and everyday life problems. Anxiety can take over a day in an instant.

Clinical anxiety makes it difficult for people to relax. Many people with clinical anxiety will turn to something that will help them to relax, such as drugs or alcohol. This is why it is so common to see two disorders when someone is struggling with addiction.

Connecting Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety and drug addiction go together so frequently because people with anxiety have problems relaxing. They self-treat or self-medicate to calm down. Or, they just stop caring enough about their clinical problems, so another one begins.

It’s really hard to ask for help when you worry too much. So people isolate, and that opens the door to substances, which becomes substance abuse, which becomes an addiction.

Treating Anxiety and Addiction

When someone is undergoing treatment for addiction, clinical treatment will include anxiety treatment in the form of psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a common form of treatment for many clients in treatment because their anxiety levels are so high.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)works with how people think about their problems, or, how they worry. A lot of anxiety is based on events that haven’t even happened and won’t even happen. CBT helps people to understand the difference between a fear that doesn’t need a lot of worries, and a life event that might need some attention.

It also helps people to focus on resolutions, by teaching clients how to walk problems through and see where their runaway thoughts are actually going. It is a successful treatment that helps those with addiction understand how to problem-solve differently, even when they have anxiety.

Get Support

Struggling with both anxiety and addiction is very common. Centers such as see this every day. When it feels like it is getting out of control, get support and get your hands back on the steering wheel again.