Addiction and anxiety

Anxiety and addiction are two complex conditions that can profoundly impact an individual’s life. While they may appear as separate issues, they have a strong interconnection, each exacerbating the other.

Understanding the intricate relationship between anxiety and addiction is crucial to provide comprehensive care and effective treatment for those affected by these conditions.


Anxiety and addiction - woman with anxiety

How Common Is Anxiety in the UK?

Research suggests that as many as 8 million people in the UK may be grappling with an anxiety disorder, with women twice as likely to receive a diagnosis of anxiety. Moreover, the incidence of anxiety disorders has increased recently, notably since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent studies indicate that this rise is particularly pronounced among individuals who faced additional pressures during the lockdown, including feelings of loneliness, the challenges of homeschooling, and the adjustment to remote work.

What is the Relationship Between Anxiety and Addiction?

The relationship between anxiety and addiction can form a vicious cycle. It often begins with individuals experiencing anxiety symptoms, such as excessive worry, restlessness, and fear. Then, to alleviate these distressing feelings, some individuals turn to substances or behaviours that provide temporary relief or a sense of control.

Unfortunately, this relief is short-lived, and the individual soon finds themselves trapped in a cycle of addiction. The substance or behaviour becomes a coping mechanism to escape or numb the anxiety, leading to a dangerous dependency. Over time, the addiction becomes a significant source of anxiety as the individual experiences withdrawal symptoms, guilt, shame, and a loss of control. The anxiety caused by addiction further perpetuates the cycle, making it even harder for the individual to break free.

What is the Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction?

To treat anxiety and addiction efficiently, you need to identify the primary condition. This is the main condition that creates the other. If addiction is what causes your anxiety, then we can help you overcome addiction in a safe and supportive environment.

In turn, this should ease any secondary anxiety symptoms. However, if addiction is a secondary condition, caused by unmanageable anxiety, then you should address this head on before seeking addiction help.

Rehab treatments commonly used:

  • Therapy and Counseling: Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) is one of the most effective forms of therapy for anxiety and addiction. It helps you identify and challenge negative thought patterns, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and learn new strategies to manage your anxiety and cravings. Group therapy also allows you to connect with like-minded people who share the same anxiety, giving you reassurance and the opportunity to learn from others.
  • Detox: Detox is the initial phase of addiction treatment aimed at safely managing and alleviating withdrawal symptoms when you stop using drugs or alcohol. During detox, the body clears itself of the substances and adjusts to functioning without them. It helps you become physically stable and prepares you for further treatment.
  • Medication Management: Medication can be beneficial, especially when diagnosed with anxiety disorders or co-occurring mental health conditions. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or other psychiatric medications may be prescribed to help regulate brain chemistry, alleviate anxiety symptoms, and reduce cravings associated with addiction. Medication management should always be done under the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.
  • Holistic Practices: Incorporating holistic practices into your treatment plan can enhance overall well-being and support recovery. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, exercise, art therapy, and other activities promote stress reduction, self-care, emotional regulation, and a healthy lifestyle. These practices can serve as healthy outlets for managing anxiety and reducing the risk of relapse.


Anxiety and addiction - group therapy


It is important to note that treatment plans may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as the severity of your symptoms and co-occurring disorders. However, with the right support and treatment, it is possible to effectively manage your anxiety and addiction and lead a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Myths About Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety and addiction are permanent and cannot be effectively treated…

Anxiety and addiction are treatable conditions. With the right support, treatment, and lifestyle changes, you can learn to manage your anxiety and achieve recovery from addiction.

Anxiety medications or anti-anxiety drugs can cure addiction…

While medications can help manage anxiety symptoms or reduce cravings associated with addiction, they do not cure addiction alone. Instead, addiction treatment requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying causes and behavioural patterns and supports long-term recovery.

I have anxiety thanks to my “addictive personality”…

While there can be a correlation between addictive tendencies and anxiety, it does not imply a direct relationship. Instead, anxiety disorders can develop in individuals with varying personality types and backgrounds and whilst certain traits or tendencies may increase the risk of developing addictive behaviours, you won’t always develop anxiety when dealing with addiction.

Detoxing causes anxiety…

Most people will feel highly anxious during a drug or alcohol detox, as it comes with the territory of withdrawing from an addictive substance. However, this high state of anxiety returns to normal in almost all cases after just a few days. If it persists, as anxiety is a common disorder, many treatments are available to help you deal with this.


Anxiety and addiction - woman with anxiety 2

Anxiety and Addiction Treatment at Oasis Bradford

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and anxiety, we are here to help. Oasis Bradford offers a comprehensive and effective rehab programme that can make all the difference.
So, don’t hesitate to take the first step towards a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. Contact us today to learn how we can help you overcome addiction and manage your anxiety.