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How Anxiety Can Lead to Addiction

Some people have the misconception that getting mental health treatment is somehow a sign of weakness. The truth is that it takes inner strength for someone to seek help for mental health issues, such as anxiety. Teens and young adults are especially at risk these days, and the level of anxiety surrounding navigating these ages is not helpful. That’s because anxiety is often connected to addiction. Addiction is generally thought of as an adult issue, but many teens and young adults struggle with it too. At Zelus Recovery, our team believes that recognizing how the two are related can truly begin the healing process. Learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment program in Boise, ID, today!

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is not just feeling stressed or worried. It involves more than an imminent event or something where a person might not know what to expect. In fact, there are numerous anxiety disorders. Anxiety is considered a mental health issue when it affects a person’s ability to function in their daily life. They are significantly impacted by the anxiety and often have difficulty controlling the symptoms, which can become debilitating if left untreated.

A person who does not have an anxiety disorder can experience anxious moments, but they can typically get back to their normal state of mind when the trouble passes. For those that deal with anxiety disorders, the level of panic, stress, and uneasiness that comes with their anxiety is enough to disrupt their daily lives.

Different types of anxiety include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

A person with anxiety may experience panic attacks or typical signs of the disorder, including:

  • A sense of impending danger
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating or trembling
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Poor concentration
  • Feelings of nervousness or irritability
  • Sleep issues

How Can Anxiety Lead to Addiction?

When a person is anxious, they often want an escape. This is particularly true of teens and young adults who have not yet mastered all of the necessary social and emotional skills needed to recognize when they need help or how to get help.

Furthermore, anxiety and addiction often present an awful cycle. It is often difficult to determine which comes first, the anxiety or the addiction. But there is no denying that the two are related. In fact, the two are connected because of how they work. Drugs bring momentary relief but can also cause anxiety, while anxiety sometimes prevents a person from knowing when to stop or that drugs will not help their fears. This is how they can quickly become co-occurring disorders.

Sometimes, even the thought of undergoing treatment can be too anxiety-inducing for a person to seek help. And undergoing detox can bring about distressing anxiety-related symptoms. So the cycle continues in the realm of anxiety therapy as well, but it is no less important to seek anxiety treatment when needed.

Why Is Anxiety Treatment Essential?

Because anxiety and addiction are so profoundly connected, getting help for the anxiety is essential. If the addiction alone is treated, but not the root cause, then the anxious person might again turn to drugs as a form of relief. Drugs can also do long-term damage to the body’s ability to cope and relieve anxiety symptoms, making it even harder for a person to cope when they aren’t using drugs. That’s one of the reasons that anxiety therapy is so crucial. Anxiety therapy helps people to learn skills and strategies to deal with their anxiety, as well as their addiction.

Understanding what causes the anxiety is also crucial. Examples of situations that may lead to a teen or young adult’s anxiety include:

  • Peer pressure
  • Relationship issues
  • Financial struggles
  • Grief
  • Lack of coping skills

No matter what causes the anxiety, getting help and recognizing the connection to addiction is the first step to recovery.

Decrease Your Teen’s Anxiety with Help from Zelus Recovery

If you know a teen or young adult that is struggling with anxiety, we want to help. Whether it has already led to co-occurring disorders and addiction or there is fear surrounding the possibility, getting anxiety treatment is an essential step. Our early intervention, outpatient, and family programs help teens and young adults up to age twenty-five using a multi-systemic family approach. Reach out to Zelus Recovery today by calling 208.518.0797, or contact us online.