Anxiety Disorders and Substance Abuse

Anxiety disorders are a serious medical condition that often co-occurs with substance abuse disorders.  All different types of anxiety disorders affect approximately 19 million Americans.  The most common type, GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), affects about 4 million adults.

This disorder usually develops gradually over many years, and is diagnosed when someone spends at least 6 months or more worrying excessively about a number of everyday problems. GAD rarely occurs alone, and is often accompanied by another anxiety disorder, depression, and various issues with substance abuse.

Due to the fact that these disorders often fill people’s lives with overwhelming anxiety, stress and fear, individuals suffering from this commonly turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate and seek relief.  However, these attempts to self medicate usually backfire as people with anxiety disorders find that using alcohol and/or drugs can make anxiety symptoms worse and can even trigger panic attacks.

According to a study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 20% of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, also have an alcohol or other substance abuse disorder.  People with anxiety disorders are two to three times more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs at some point in their lives than the general population, and vice versa. Having co-occurring substance abuse issues and anxiety disorders can make an individual’s situation more complex.  At Passages Malibu, we offer only the highest trained professionals and specialized experts for treating individuals with anxiety disorders and substance dependency, separately and together.


Call Passages Addiction Treatment Center today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by dialing our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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