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Anxiety and Addiction: A Vicious Cycle

May 2-7 marks Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week. These are serious issues that people face every day. They can also be linked to substance use creating more complex challenges. Sometimes people self-medicate using drugs or alcohol as a way of trying to calm their anxiety and relax. While this may provide temporary relief in the short term, it can actually end up making symptoms worse in the long run. When the drugs wear off, anxiety may return with a vengeance. This can lead to increased substance use which may develop into addiction.

At the same time, substance use can also trigger feelings of anxiety. It can exacerbate underlying conditions that may not have been as problematic before. Anxiety and addiction can become a vicious cycle as both of these conditions feed off of one another. It can become a difficult cycle to break.

Coping with Addiction and Anxiety

Understanding the interrelated nature of these two conditions is important for recovery. They should be treated simultaneously through a dual diagnosis program. Treating only one at a time may increase risk of relapse because the cycle can still continue.  When you recognize how your anxiety and addiction impact one another, you can be more proactive in addressing issues as they arise and minimizing triggers.

Typically a combination of therapy, counseling, medication, and holistic activities are used to support recovery. You develop healthier routines and coping mechanisms that do not involve substance abuse and help to keep your anxiety better controlled. Recovery can be more challenging for those with a dual diagnosis, but change is possible.

With comprehensive care from Above It All, you can improve your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.  You can also take steps to prevent relapse and establish a healthier lifestyle that aligns with your personal goals and needs.

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