Some of the most common mental health illnesses in the United States and affecting close to 40 million Americans, are depression and anxiety.
When coupled with addiction or substance use disorders, anxiety disorders can compound or increase. Our therapists and staff at La Jolla Recovery approach specific anxiety disorders to understand a client better. Dual diagnosis programs take into consideration mental health components as well as drug use disorders. Those resistant to depression treatment may now inquire about Spravato or Esketamine, medication-assisted treatment with significant results for those suffering from depression.
Substance Abuse Anxiety
It is common for those suffering from anxiety to use other substances to treat their mental illness, such as Xanax or alcohol. Given its nature as a depressant and its impact on the prefrontal cortex and amygdala by relaxing neurotransmitter activity, it might provide a relaxation or calm effect yet not attend to the roots of this anxiety or stress.
Depression and Substance Abuse
Self treating anxiety with alcohol or drugs
At La Jolla Recovery, anxiety therapy is a comprehensive approach to anxiety disorders in addition to substance abuse treatment. Given its nature as a depressant and its impact on the prefrontal cortex and amygdala by relaxing neurotransmitter activity, it might provide a relaxation or calm effect yet not attend to the roots of this anxiety or stress. Other medications or drugs such as benzos or opiates are frequently used with alcohol, only to leave a user depressed or emotionally down.
Mental health and Addiction
Alleviating Anxiety or Depression with Drugs
The problem with continuing this vicious cycle of seeking comfort from drugs and alcohol to alleviate anxiety or depression is a furthering of the symptoms and a continuous search for coming to baseline or homeostasis. This usually leads the user to use more frequently and have deeper bouts of mental health disorders, including anxiety. This physical and psychological dependence, now known as substance use disorder, deepens and requires attention from detox throughout rehab, such as outpatient.
Anxiety from Addiction
Symptoms of Substance Induced Anxiety
With time, the person generally needs more and more alcohol or drugs to feel more anchored and secure. This leads to both physical and psychological addiction.
Abstaining from alcohol or substances causes an onset of even more intense symptoms, making it quite impossible for the individual to break free from the vicious circle. They experience insomnia, paranoia, extreme irritability, and hallucinations. Alcohol withdrawal could even cause seizures. This reiterates the need for a physician during drug detox.
Self Medication and GAD
Generally Anxiety Disorder
Research shows that less than half of those suffering from anxiety, specifically GAD or general anxiety disorder, receive the appropriate help. This leads to self-medication and a non-controlled environment of trying to alleviate symptoms and furthering mental health problems. Both mental health and addiction rarely get attended to.
Studies and research suggest that less than half of people suffering from anxiety receive professional help, especially those with a General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This means many sufferers self-medicate, most probably with alcohol and illicit or legal substances. It is also highly likely that they will not link their anxiety to their addiction problem. This is known as dual diagnosis.
When Abusing Drugs or Alcohol Leads to Dual Diagnosis
Dual Diagnosis and
Like all dual diagnoses, anxiety and alcohol or drugs have a complicated and intimate relationship. Many factors are at play: genetics, history of trauma, brain chemistry, medications that produce side effects, and substance abuse.
It can be difficult to distinguish where anxiety stops and addiction begins. Sometimes, anxiety is the result of the habit and other times, it is vice versa. Cocaine, meth, marijuana, and alcohol can also bring about anxiety due to their abuse. At La Jolla Recovery, a mental health treatment that encompasses substance use disorder and specific attention to the cognitive and biological factors.
The problem is perpetuated by abusing alcohol or drugs, causing manifold problems in the individual’s social, emotional, and professional life, making the anxiety worse. You are not alone in our community.