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Are People With Anxiety At A Higher Risk Of Substance Abuse?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that individuals with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse issues as the general population.

Individuals struggling with anxiety are at a significant risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol due to the symptoms of the mental illness. As unwanted symptoms develop, individuals who have anxiety may turn to substances to self-medicate and relax, in an attempt to put the taxing symptoms they are experiencing on hold.


What is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?

Everyone gets anxious sometimes, but if your worries and fears are so constant that they interfere with your ability to function and relax, you may have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).


GAD is a common anxiety disorder that involves constant and chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Unlike a phobia, where your fear is connected to a specific thing or situation, the anxiety of GAD is diffused—a general feeling of dread or unease that colors your whole life. This anxiety is less intense than a panic attack, but much longer lasting, making normal life difficult and relaxation impossible.


Generalized anxiety disorder is mentally and physically exhausting. It drains your energy, interferes with sleep, and wears your body out.


If you have GAD you may worry about the same things that other people do, but you take these worries to a new level.



A co-worker’s careless comment