Anxiety is a mental health condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It can manifest in various forms, such as excessive worry, panic attacks, and physical symptoms like heart palpitations and difficulty breathing. The constant feeling of fear and unease can significantly impact an individual’s daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.
One common coping strategy for anxiety is the consumption of alcohol. Many individuals turn to alcohol as a way to self-medicate and temporarily alleviate their anxious feelings. However, this coping method can have dangerous consequences and may even worsen the symptoms of anxiety in the long run. Evoke Wellness at Waltham offers our dual diagnosis treatment in Massachusetts for people with anxiety and alcohol use disorder to help them break from this cycle.
To learn if dual diagnosis treatment suits you or a loved one, please get in touch with us at 866.276.1920 for a confidential assessment.
Risks of Using Alcohol to Deal with Anxiety
The risks of alcohol use to cope with anxiety are numerous and can lead to a multitude of health complications, such as:
- Physical risks – Regular alcohol consumption can lead to physical health issues, including liver disease, heart problems, and various forms of cancer. It also weakens the immune system, reducing the body’s ability to fight off diseases.
- Psychological risks – Alcohol can intensify feelings of anxiety and depression, causing a vicious cycle where individuals consume more alcohol to alleviate these feelings. This can also lead to other mental health issues, such as alcohol-induced psychosis.
- Dependency and addiction risks – Those who consume alcohol to cope with anxiety may find themselves needing more alcohol over time to achieve the same relief, which can ultimately lead to alcohol addiction.
- Social and occupational risks – Excessive drinking can lead to social isolation, damaged relationships, and decreased performance at work or school.
Using alcohol as a coping mechanism for anxiety is dangerous and unhealthy. Instead, it is advisable to seek professional help for managing anxiety symptoms.
Dangers of Self-Medication
Self-medication, particularly with substances like alcohol, poses numerous dangers. When individuals resort to self-medication, they often underestimate the potential severity of their actions. In the context of anxiety, self-medication with alcohol can lead to worsening anxiety symptoms, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of anxiety and alcohol use.
Escalation of Underlying Anxiety
Self-medication often disguises the symptoms of anxiety instead of addressing the root cause. This can result in the escalation of the underlying anxiety disorder, exacerbating the mental health issue a person is trying to soothe.
Risk of Overdose and Poisoning
Without professional guidance, there is a high risk of overdose or alcohol poisoning, which can have severe, even fatal, consequences.
Development of Additional Health Issues
Self-medication can lead to the development of additional health problems, including physical illnesses and other mental health conditions.
Legal and Financial Consequences
Depending on a substance for self-medication, there can be legal repercussions. Additionally, the cost of maintaining an alcohol dependency can lead to financial problems.
In light of these dangers, it is crucial to seek professional help and support for dealing with anxiety rather than resorting to self-medication with alcohol or any other substance.
Understand a Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety and Alcohol Addiction
A dual diagnosis is a term used to describe individuals diagnosed with both mental health issues and substance abuse disorders. Anxiety and alcohol addiction often coexist, with one condition exacerbating the other. These mental health conditions are interconnected, and treating one without addressing the other may lead to an incomplete recovery.
Co-occurring conditions treatment can be effective in managing both anxiety and alcohol addiction simultaneously, leading to a more holistic recovery. This type of treatment often involves a combination of therapy, medication, and support groups to address the root causes of both conditions.
Contact Evoke Wellness at Waltham to Begin Healing from Anxiety and Alcohol Use
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety and alcohol use, know that there is help available. At Evoke Wellness at Waltham, we offer personalized dual diagnosis treatment plans to help patients break away from the cycle of self-medication and begin their healing and recovery. Our compassionate team of professionals is dedicated to providing evidence-based treatments in a supportive and empathetic environment. Call us today at 866.276.1920 or contact us online to start a treatment plan that suits you and your goals.