It might be surprising to learn that the combination of anxiety and substance use is one of the most common types of dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is when both substance use disorder and a form of mental illness—such as anxiety—are present at the same time. There are several reasons why substance use disorders are more prevalent in those with anxiety, or vice versa.
An Effort to Control Symptoms
Anxiety disorders can create both physical and psychological symptoms that can impact daily life. Depressants, such as certain drugs and alcohol, can be misused to control or suppress these symptoms, including:
- Excessive fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Feelings of fear or extreme worry
- Unwanted or racing thoughts
- Chest pains or palpitations
Some individuals may use drugs or alcohol to self-manage the adverse symptoms of an anxiety disorder.