It’s a nervous world out there. So no wonder we’re nervous as well. As a people, we increasing experience fear, stress and worry. Those three feelings come in defense of our families, our employment, and finally, our normal state of being.

While in some circumstances, anxiety, which is the culmination of fear, stress and worry, can in fact be a good defensive mechanism for our survival, to experience anxiety on an ongoing basis is not necessarily living life at its fullest.

If ongoing, chronic anxiety begins to wear us down. We seek relief outside of ourselves.

Yes, we can work out to help relieve the stress. We can cook three-course meals and write novels with the hope that doing so may help alleviate the stuff of modern life that weighs us down.

Or in other cases, we can begin habits that are less productive and much darker, such as substance abuse.



According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an estimated 18 percent of American adults suffer from some form of anxiety. But of that percentile, only about 33% are adequately treated.

Anxiety is often associated with the following types of mental illness:

  • Major depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance use disorders



While many types of anxiety afflict people, an overriding type of anxiety that is prevalent in the population is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). As reported by Brown University, five percent of the population suffers from GAD, with women sufferers outnumbering men two-to-one.

GAD is described as a constant state of worry which lasts six months or more. People living with GAD tend to worry about issues in a near-simultaneous manner. For example, at one moment someone could fret over their job, then with the next moment, agonize over rush-hour traffic and the threat of terrorism.

In short, a GAD sufferer will daisy-chain their anxieties, as they focus from one perilous thought to the next, in which fears are strung together in an unexplainable thread.

Physical examples of someone suffering from GAD include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Jumpiness
  • Poor appetite



To be sure, there is no exact treatment for anxiety. Yes, there are drugs, such as Ativan, which a person can take for their anxiety. However, as helpful as these drugs are toward alleviating some of the anxiety related symptoms, these medications also contain properties that makes them very addictive.

This is why many doctors prescribe anxiety drugs for only one or two-week periods, and in very small dosages.



It’s difficult to know how many forms of anxiety there are. This is particularly true as society becomes more complex, leaving the pressure brought by that complexity to personally affect us.

Behavioral scientists, psychiatrists and others in the medical community understand that many types of anxieties can be brought under five categories, which are as follow:

Social anxiety disorder, which is the debilitating fear of being humiliated or embarrassed in public situations.

Panic disorder, a condition marked by intense, recurrent episodes of crippling fear, which can become a source of anxiety.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a disorder resulting from severe, unresolved terror or violence in the past.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, a condition characterized by intrusive, irrational thoughts combined with repetitive, ritualistic behavior that can’t be controlled

Specific phobias, such as intense, debilitating fear of certain objects, animals or situations. This can involve fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), public settings (agoraphobia) or spiders (arachnophobia). These fears may have a distant basis in reality; however, with a GAD sufferer, they are exaggerated to the point that they interfere with the individual’s daily activities.



There should be no wonder why anxiety and substance abuse have such close ties. Alcohol and drugs temporarily relieve anxiety by providing feel-good chemicals to the brain which effectively suppresses feelings of anxiousness.

The issue with that is these substances don’t eliminate anxieties; they only overturn them for a while, which of course means a person suffering from anxiety will be need to return to their drug of choice for the same relief as they earlier had. And of course, that is how addiction and finally dependency occur.

Alcohol Research and Health conducted a national survey concerning anxiety and substance abuse in which they found the following:

  • 5% of respondents with any type of anxiety disorder also abused either alcohol or drugs.
  • 39% of respondents with panic disorder abused drugs or alcohol.
  • 45% of individuals with generalized anxiety disorder reported substance abuse.
  • 11% of respondents with social anxiety disorder reported substance abuse.

In this world, anxiousness, isn’t going away. If at all, it’s rising. And while people seek relief from it through medication, the application of drugs, prescription or otherwise, can effectively worsen the life of someone who suffers from anxiety.

Before being handed a prescription for anti-anxiety medication, or going out to self-medicate your anxiousness, try a new tact. Take up a hobby or try to cook that three-course meal. Start that novel.

Remember, in anxious times, it’s the calmer, cooler heads that prevail.


If you feel you or a loved one has an issue with alcohol or drug addiction brought on by anxiety, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.

Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse: Partners in Addiction