Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder and Dual Diagnosis

Feelings of hopelessness, discomfort, and restlessness go hand in hand with addiction—after all, nearly half of all addicts are dual diagnosis victims, meaning that they have co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues. Substance abusers might already know the feeling of substance-induced anxiety disorder, which is just one of a host of negative effects that accompany drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances.

What is Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder?

Like other substance-induced disorders, substance-induced anxiety disorder refers to any amount of anxiety (which could range from light stress to panic attacks) which is caused exclusively by a substance abuse problem. How exactly the disorder manifests varies from substance to substance, but common symptoms include:

  • Pessimism, paranoia, and depression
  • Acute or chronic insomnia
  • Weight loss and lack of appetite
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • Gastrointestinal issues and nausea
  • Chills, sweats, and tremors
  • Physical pain (especially in the chest)
  • Pounding heartbeats or headaches
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing

These symptoms can sometimes be indications of more severe health issues, so it’s important that addicts seek treatment, no matter how minor their symptoms might seem. 

Substance abuse problems can cause anxiety disorders, but it’s important to remember that mental health issues and addictions aren’t dependent on one another. Very few people have exclusively substance-induced disorders; most experience them alongside a variety of other mental health issues (such as major depression) which are separate from their addiction. However, the link between mental disorders and substance abuse problems is significant, and many substances have been proven to frequently cause substance-induced anxiety disorder.

  • Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder and Dual DiagnosisAlcoholism can make levels of serotonin in the body vary widely, commonly causing anxiety and depression in addicts. This also lends itself to obsessiveness, panic, and the general feeling of a lack of control.
  • Amphetamines are powerful stimulants, triggering a pleasant high of energy and elation in those who use it. However, as its effect wears off (and as a matter of fact for abusers), individuals can become anxious as their brain chemistry tries to stabilize.
  • Caffeine, despite being a generally benign substance overall, has been linked to increased panic attacks and anxiety. Overuse of caffeine can cause physical dependence and associated withdrawal symptoms, just like any other drug, though these symptoms are usually no more severe than headaches and stress.
  • Nicotine, opioids, hallucinogens, marijuana, and general sedatives can cause anxiety in users, despite overall having a relaxing effect.

The time of onset of substance-induced anxiety disorder varies greatly, based on the individual and the drug in question. Symptoms can start the moment intoxication begins, while the effect wears off, or might only set in once someone goes through withdrawal.

Treating Addictions and Anxiety Disorders

Treating addiction isn’t always enough for those with mental health issues. They need constant support from compassionate caregivers and a personalized Continuing Care for Recovery program in Tennessee that addresses their anxieties, addiction, and any other mental health issues they might have which could increase the odds of relapse. Unlike normal rehab, Discovery Place’s alternative treatment center has been proven to work and focuses on the post-treatment experience to get your life on the right track for good. If you’re struggling with substance-induced anxiety disorder, contact us at 1-800-725-0922 to learn more about how our alternative long term drug and alcohol addiction recovery plan in Burns, Tennessee can help you.

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