Anxiety, Depression and Substance Abuse

It is no secret that life can be challenging at times. Work-related stress compounded with issues at home or other relational problems can often result in anxiety or depression. If life circumstances do not improve and the individual does not prioritize his or her mental health, substance abuse can easily become a coping mechanism.

Anxiety is a mental disorder often causing persistent feelings of worry, fear, and nervousness, and may even lead to chest pain, heart palpitations, and nausea or vomiting.[1] Individuals with an anxiety disorder often turn to alcohol or other depressants such as Xanax or Ativan. These depressants slow the heart rate and numb the racing mind so as to temporarily relieve the individual. However, withdrawal symptoms often cause greater anxiety and panic attacks.

Depression, on the other hand, is a mental disorder that causes changes in sleep patterns, either sleeping too much or not enough, a loss of interest in activities that once brought pleasure, unexplained aches and pains, and an overall sense of worthlessness or hopelessness. Individuals who suffer from depression usually turn to alcohol, though there is typically a mixture of both drugs and alcohol. Alcohol used as a coping mechanism relieves the individual from persistent feelings of hopelessness, numbing the mind and body from experiencing the difficulties of life.

Often, substance abuse and mental disorders go hand-in-hand. This is referred to as a Dual Diagnosis, which is proven to be a much more effective treatment plan than merely dealing with the addiction. Because the root of the problem is the mental disorder perhaps fueled by difficult life circumstances, dealing with the substance abuse alone will not be enough.

If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse coupled with anxiety or depression, call us today at (888)507-1355 for a free, over-the-phone treatment assessment. We are committed to finding the best Dual Diagnosis treatment for you.


“Stop worrying about what can go wrong and get excited about what can go right.”