What is the relationship between anxiety, stress and addiction? 

It is common for people who suffer from anxiety or stress to self-medicate or misuse alcohol or drugs to find a way to cope with their symptoms. Individuals with anxiety are twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse as the general population. 

Furthermore, substance abuse is more common in people suffering from anxiety disorders than in the general population. Anxiety and stress disorders have been linked with higher lifetime rates of alcohol abuse and higher relapse rates after alcohol rehab. In addition, these individuals may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. 

Alcohol or drug abuse enhances the effects of anxiety. The person gets caught in a vicious circle: once they use more alcohol or drugs, the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety strengthen, which makes them increase their drug intake to function normally. This results in developing tolerance to the drug and ultimately a cycle of substance abuse that leads to physical dependency and addiction. 

Dual Diagnosis 

Dual diagnosis (or co-occurring disorders) is the medical term that describes the existence of a diagnosis of an addictive disorder, such as alcoholism or drug addiction, with an anxiety disorder, stress or other type of mental health issue. 

Some common factors in the dual-diagnosis with addiction are: 

  • Self-medicating 
  • Effects of substance abuse or withdrawal 
  • Biochemical factors 
  • Genetic predisposition 

Racoo Screening works with organisations of all sizes to help implement effective workplace drug and alcohol testing policies that comply with national and, where relevant, international regulations. We also offer a complete drug and alcohol testing service, e-learning packages, and staff training. To find out more, contact us here.