Anxiety disorders impact nearly 40 million Americans aged 18 or older. This translates into a significant 18.1 percent of the adult population. There are various kinds of anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and phobia. An untreated anxiety disorder can lead to substance abuse. Given below are few scenarios where a person with an anxiety-related condition develops a substance use disorder (SUD) or vice versa:
- Self-medication brings relief to such people from fearful thoughts and excessive worry about impending events.
- Prolonged use of a drug changes brain chemistry that alters the way one behaves, thinks and feels.
- People suffering from social phobia are often prescribed benzodiazepines, which are addictive in nature. Prolonged and consistent use beyond the doctor’s advice results in one getting caught in the cycle of abuse and addiction.
The chances of delayed diagnosis and treatment or misdiagnosis of co-occurring disorders are …