Recently, there has been a lot of exposure about how the spread of addiction has become an epidemic of a behavioral disease that must really be addressed. However, what there has been considerably less conversation about is the prevalence of different types of addiction with certain mental disorders (or dual diagnosis). While there are a variety of cases where mental disorders can have a major implication for addicted individuals, one of the most common cases of dual diagnosis is alcoholism and anxiety (specifically generalized anxiety disorder).
Self-medicating with alcohol
The link between alcohol dependence and generalized anxiety disorder cases can be hard to predict. Indeed, at times, it is a bit of a chicken and egg conundrum. One way that this sort of dual diagnosis can spur is from an individual with an anxiety disorder using alcohol as a sort of coping mechanism. The natural depressant effects of alcohol can calm some of the negative effects of anxiety, which can lead to over drinking and alcohol abuse.
It’s important to realize that the effects of generalized anxiety disorder are a lot more severe than the average person experiencing anxiety over something that probably deserves to be worried about. People who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder can feel a consistent feeling of doom, as well as fatigue and muscle tension. Relaxation can be impossible. It’s out of these conditions that alcohol abuse begins to develop.
Alcohol use can lead to anxiety disorders
On the other hand, sometimes alcoholism can be the first diagnosis that takes hold of a person. The continuous consumption of alcohol can lead to a person having panic attacks, and can induce many symptoms of anxiety. Episodes like this can trigger anxiety to develop in a person. The issue with this is that individuals whose anxiety disorder is triggered by alcohol abuse may be inclined to drink more, as a form of self-medication, thus perpetuating a cycle that leads to dual diagnosis.
Withdrawal effects and anxiety
It can be difficult for a person with an anxiety order to stop drinking, due to the fact that the symptoms of anxiety will usually be triggered, severely, once a person with alcohol dependence begins to experience withdrawals. As shakes and feelings of inadequacy and dread start to overtake a person, the temptation to drink is enormous. For this reason, it is usually important for a person with both alcohol dependence and an anxiety disorder to treat both at the same time.