Home » blog » The Dangers of Using Alcohol and Drugs as Anxiety Control
alcohol depression

The Dangers of Using Alcohol and Drugs as Anxiety Control

Anxiety and depression are two problems that influence the lives of millions of people around the world. Getting through the emotional complications caused by these concerns can cause deep trauma, severe PTSD, depression, and a more difficult life in general. For example, many people who suffer from anxiety use alcohol and drugs like benzodiazepines to manage their symptoms. Unfortunately, they are putting themselves in a hazardous situation.

Just ask fans of Swedish DJ Avicii, who watched as their favorite musician slowly sank into drug and alcohol abuse as a way of managing his anxiety fueled by his continued success as perfectionist tendencies. Unfortunately, Avicii fell into a cycle that triggers many other issues and which can feel impossible from which to escape, which caused him to end his life far too early. This scenario is one that has played out thousands – if not more – times throughout the years and promises to become an even worse issue in the future.

Therefore, it is critical to understand why drugs and alcohol are so dangerous when dealing with mental health concerns. In this article, you will learn why people abuse substances to manage their anxiety, how these drugs worsen the situation, and how dual-diagnosis treatment and other types of treatment can manage their depression and fuel their recovery in a way that helps them regain a happy and stable life.

So if you know anybody going through this situation – or if it is affecting you – please read on to learn more about your detox and rehab options. Doing so could not only transform your life but save you from a fate similar to Avicii. This advice is not fear-mongering or even a slight exaggeration – drug abuse is one of the most damaging and severe epidemics sweeping the nation and may take your life if you aren’t careful with its effects on your body and mind.

Why People Use Alcohol and Drugs to Manage Anxiety and Depression

People who suffer from anxiety may have a hard time managing their symptoms or even admitting that they have a problem. This situation is not unusual – many try to downplay their anxiety and depression or try to control it using alternative methods. For example, someone may go to the bar at the end of every work shift to have a drink or two to calm the nerves associated with the demand of their position.

That’s because alcohol will immediately change the way that your brain works by affecting your neurotransmitters. For example, beer, liquor, and wine may all decrease the operation of these chemicals in your mind or produce a higher level of serotonin in a way that seems to minimize your stress. This effect is often very short-lived, though, and many people may feel more anxiety after alcohol worsens when these chemicals stabilize and become less potent.

As a result, they may get into a cycle in which they abuse alcohol at higher levels to manage their anxiety even further. This situation is what is known as alcohol-induced anxiety and is present in about seven percent of all Americans, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. This problem only increases if you have social anxiety or other types of mental health problems, such as trauma, PTSD, and even depression that bring you down for extended periods.

Perhaps that is why 20 percent of people with a social anxiety disorder also have a dependence on alcohol. That’s because they may think of this drink as a social lubricant that makes it easier for them to relate to others. And while one drink or two every day might not seem like a significant problem – after all, a person is not binge drinking if they only have a single drink – this pattern of behavior can quickly become a considerable concern.

For example, someone may need a shot of vodka to start their day, cutting their anxiety and depression short before they go to work. Or perhaps they need a “nightcap” to calm down enough to fall asleep. They may also feel a need to have a drink every time they meet up with others as a way of managing their social difficulties. Even worse, they may fall into heavy patterns of drinking that do become binge-like, including a tendency to drink five or more drinks every day.

This situation isn’t just one that occurs with alcohol – substances such as benzos and Xanax may also become a popular way to manage anxiety seemingly. Abusing these substances may seem to decrease a person’s symptoms but will only make them worse in the long-term. For example, they may experience severe worries about their legal status if they steal these substances or abuse them in illegal ways while at work or in other public places.

The biggest worry here is the ways that anxiety and depression and addiction feed off each other and create an even tighter bond that many people embrace or accept. This situation is one that can be tough to understand because reliance on substances can become a way of life that feels normal and stable. Unfortunately, this stability is almost always false and will ultimately lead to problematic issues.

For example, a multitude of studies, such as “Comorbidity and Treatment Considerations,” have found that anxiety disorders and alcohol abuse disorders are so commonly associated that new treatment methods may be necessary to manage these problems. They suggested adjusting intervention concepts for anxiety disorders as a way of helping individuals avoid falling into cyclical abuse behaviors.

Likewise, the study “Treatment of Comorbid Alcohol Dependence and Anxiety Disorder: Review of the Scientific Evidence and Recommendations for Treatment” found similar evidence of co-occurring alcohol and anxiety disorders. And while they stated that women typically had higher rates of abuse in this situation, many men did fall into these patterns of behavior. One such individual was Avicii.

How Anxiety and Substance Abuse Ended Avicii’s Life

Examining Avicii’s death is a tragedy that showcases just how dangerous treating anxiety and depression with drugs and alcohol can be for the average person. At only 28-years of age, Avicii (Tim Bergling) was one of the most popular DJ artists in the world, hailed for his engaging and innovative music. Thousands of people attended his concerts every year and helped fuel his substantial financial success.

However, this success came at a price – Bergling was dissatisfied with much of his music and often worked long hours trying to perfect mixes and various production elements. Money did not buy happiness for this intelligent and thoughtful musician. As a result, he struggled hard to find a center during his successful years, and it seemed that no amount of cash or musical success could fill the hole caused by his anxiety.

As a result, Bergling turned to substances like alcohol to manage his anxiety and become a very heavy drinker in a way that affected his health. For example, he developed acute pancreatitis, gallbladder issues, and appendix problems all related to his drinking. And while he no longer toured – his health was too delicate even at such a young age – in 2016, he continued to work on his music in an attempt to focus his mind and find a purpose in life.

During this time, Bergling continued to abuse alcohol and other substances, believing that they helped with his anxiety. Unfortunately, they ultimately betrayed him because they not only worsened his symptoms but also increased his depression and trauma issues. As a result, Bergling took a piece of a broken wine bottle and ended his life, trapped in a cycle that he found impossible to manage.

The tragic part of this situation is that Bergling could have received professional treatment to eliminate his reliance on alcohol and drugs and also manage his anxiety and learn how to cope with its symptoms. Expert medical care is so crucial in these situations because it can minimize the intensity of your problem and give you the best chance of recovering.

Professional Treatment is Critical for Anxiety and Depression

If you’ve fallen into a destructive cycle of alcohol and drug abuse or know someone else experiencing this issue, you should seriously consider high-quality dual-diagnosis therapy. This treatment option has become one of the standard methods for improving addiction recovery. It works by tackling both your anxiety and your addiction to give you a better understanding of how these issues influence each other and worsen your situation.

For example, you’ll go through a physical exam to gauge where your anxiety originates, including what kinds of medications or medical conditions may trigger it. After blood and urine tests – as well as an examination of your medical history – your therapist can help you better understand the depression and anxiety that are plaguing your life. At this point, you’ll then learn more about how your addiction fuels this issue and vice versa.

Then, dual-diagnosis treatment and recovery will help to teach you various coping mechanisms that will teach you how to handle the triggers for both your addiction and anxiety. These coping methods vary depending on your situation and may include meditation, relaxation techniques, and regular treatment with psychotherapy professionals who can fully understand your concerns.

At this point, you may need to get a variety of antidepressants or anxiety medications to help decrease your symptoms. This treatment is necessary if you can’t control your stress due to imbalances in your mental chemistry. Medicines like these restore your mental balance and make your care more comfortable to handle. Even better, it will improve your chances of getting over your addiction as well.

Other care methods include various types of exercise therapy, help with your sleep, detox to decrease the substances in your blood, nutritional health, and tips on quitting smoking or drinking caffeine – both of which can make your anxiety worse. All of these techniques will also focus heavily on managing your addiction and giving you the chance to cope with its impact on your life.

Let Us Help You Recover

As you can see, anxiety and depression are two problems that should never be treated with alcohol, heroin, methamphetamine, opiates, or any other kind of drug that is not prescribed to you by a doctor. However, you may have already fallen into the throes of addiction and need help escaping. That’s where we can be so helpful. At His House, we have years of experience working with individuals who need dual-diagnosis therapy and other methods of recovery and treatment.

Our professionals know how to help you withdraw from opioids and other dangerous substances in a way that is as pain-free as possible. Replacement medications help to take off the edge and give you the best chance of getting through detox. Just as importantly, we utilize professional counselors who understand how to figure out the trauma and PTSD that has triggered your issues with mental health. In this way, we can help you through the 12 step program and other elements of your care.

With the help of our experts, you can walk out of our care center with a clean body, a stronger mind, and no desire to ever use substances again. We work hard to ensure that you get the high-quality treatment that you need to fuel your recovery. Just as importantly, we provide a multitude of payment options that can help you afford dual-diagnosis and get you off of Xanax, benzos, heroin, or any other substance that you use to manage any issues with your mental health.

So if you’re struggling with addiction and want a happier and healthier life, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more. We will diagnose your problem and come up with a treatment solution that works for your needs. Then, we will implement this plan in a way that maximizes your success while also enhancing your overall quality of life. Our professionals will, essentially, stop at nothing to ensure that you are as happy and as healthy as possible for your health needs.