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Addiction and Anxiety: Do the Two Go Hand-in-Hand?

Cigarette in a person’s hand

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems people around the world deal with. In the US alone, more than 40 million adults deal with anxiety disorders. Anxiety has often been linked with substance abuse.

More than 22 million people in the US are battling substance abuse disorders or “addiction”. It also directly affects more than 45 million others. Substance abuse is a huge problem in the country, and mental health problems like anxiety can be a precursor to someone’s addiction.


Addiction is also known as substance abuse disorder. It’s not the same as substance abuse. Substance abuse is manageable and can be stopped independently. When it reaches the level of a disorder, it requires intervention.

A person with an addiction problem can not control themselves and their substance abuse, even when it is causing them significant harm. Following are the symptoms of a substance abuse disorder.

●Using the substance throughout the day,

●Constant thoughts about the substance,

●Having an increased level of tolerance for the substance,

●Engaging in high-risk behaviors to acquire the substance,

●Inability to halt the intake of the substance despite trying to do so.

Alcoholic beer on a table


Many factors lead to a person being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Several symptoms have been assigned to different anxiety disorders. Following are some common symptoms.

●Fear, panic, and uneasiness

●Heart palpitations

●Sleep problems

●Hands and feet cold, numb, tingling, or sweaty

●Inability to focus or concentrate

●Obsessively avoiding certain people, places, or objects

Link Between Addiction and Anxiety

20% of people in the US who deal with anxiety also struggle with substance abuse disorders. Anyone with an anxiety disorder has three times the probability of developing an addiction problem in their lifetime.

Easing the Symptoms

Those dealing with anxiety often turn to painkillers or other substances to ease their symptoms. These symptoms can be physical pain or trouble sleeping. People want relief from their hopelessness and confused thinking, so they turn to alcohol or drugs.

Attempting to Forget

Often, those struggling with anxiety just want to forget their traumatic past. They want to stop reliving certain memories. PTSD or anxiety due to trauma is strongly associated with substance abuse, especially alcohol addiction.

If a person is suffering from anxiety or any other mood disorder, they are more likely to become addicted to a substance, leading to substance abuse disorders. More than often, the medication given to manage the anxiety ends up being abused.

Treatment for Anxiety and Substance Abuse

When it comes to mental health concerns, the best way to go about it is to seek treatment. Having a treatment plan for both anxiety and substance abuse is recommended. When you start the treatment for your anxiety problems, it can improve your addiction issues and vice versa.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, KB Psychotherapy can help. We provide mental health services across Lake Geneva, WI. Our services include anxiety counseling, depression therapy, trauma counseling, addiction treatment, ADHD counseling, and individual counseling in lake Geneva.

You can check out our Facebook page for more updates and book an appointment today with our psychotherapist in Lake Geneva.

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