Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety and Addiction: The Connection

Anyone can be impacted by anxiety or addiction. In fact, nearly 30% of Americans who suffer from a significant mental condition also struggle with substance use. However, if you treat one of these conditions and not the other, you will risk relapse.

Understanding the links between anxiety and addiction is crucial for your recovery.

Residents at The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation support and encourage one another to reach their goals of a sober, productive, and fulfilling life. Contact us to learn more about our proven track record of helping people in their journey to recovery.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

When anxiety symptoms become persistent and interfere with day-to-day functioning and daily living, it becomes a disorder. The following persistent symptoms are experienced by those who have an anxiety disorder:

  • Physical sluggishness
  • Difficulties sleeping or staying asleep
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Feeling tense
  • Ongoing anxiety
  • Easily worn out
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Stiff muscles
  • Clammy hands

Different Anxiety Disorders

There are various varieties of anxiety disorders, and each one needs a comprehensive strategy for therapy. Below we list some common types:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

In this type of anxiety, the person experiences a generalized sense of dread that is practically constant. When you have GAD, your anxieties seem to jump from one subject to another. It’s common for people with GAD to dismiss their fixations as “typical worries,”  but sufferers experience intense anxiety that goes beyond the norm.

Social Anxiety Disorder

People with social anxiety disorder (SAD), commonly referred to as social phobia, have an excessive dread of interacting with people. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this prevalent disorder, which affects approximately 15 million American adults, is characterized by fears of being seen in crowded areas, participating in social activities, speaking in front of an audience, and other encounters with the public.


This anxiety disorder can appear when a person goes through a traumatic event. PTSD disorder, which is characterized by nightmares, flashbacks to the event, irritability or rage, insomnia, and hypervigilance or paranoia, is estimated to affect around 8 million Americans who encounter trauma.

Panic Disorder

The defining symptom of panic disorder is episodes of extreme, uncontrollable terror leading to panic attacks. Even though they are rarely fatal, panic attacks can leave their victims with an overwhelming sense of despair and approaching death. Like other anxiety-related reactions, these panic attacks are frequently unfounded.


This is an unreasonable, incapacitating fear of a certain thing, such as a circumstance or animal. People who experience this type of anxiety will go to great lengths to avoid the thing they are afraid of. The most prevalent specific phobias include claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), aviophobia (fear of flying), and acrophobia (fear of heights).

Anxiety and Addiction: The Connection

Anxiety and addiction are more likely to appear in people who have experienced trauma. Both illnesses may be brought on by genetics and chemical abnormalities in the brain.

There are various relationships between anxiety and addiction. For example, some people may turn to drugs or alcohol as self-medication due to worry. They become relaxed and feel at ease when they consume alcohol or opiates. However, they subsequently develop a dependency on the drug to manage their fear.

On the flip side, addiction can make some people anxious. When drugs and anxiety combine, the disorder is often known as substance-induced anxiety. Cocaine affects the brain regions associated with stress, promoting reliance while aiding in developing anxiety disorders. Alcohol, prescription and illegal stimulants, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and marijuana are four more drugs that can exacerbate the symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

If your loved one needs help to succeed, contact us to discover the benefits of living with others who have the same desire to build a sober and healthy life.