The Connection Between Anxiety and Addiction

Start your road to recovery in a comfortable, serene, and compassionate space. Bright Futures Treatment Center offers you the opportunity to make a fresh start.

bbb logo
gold medal badge
florida department logo
ncadd logo
farr logo
organization member

Both minor and major mental health disorders are tied to addiction to substances and alcohol. In a way, they go hand in hand. That’s why the connection between anxiety and addiction should never be dismissed. Only when we understand how to treat these two problems at the same time, the chances of sobriety raise higher. If you find yourself (or your loved one) in need of addiction solutions Florida has on offer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Here at Bright Futures Treatment Center, we put a lot of emphasis on mental health when treating addiction disorders, and work in the favor of clients’ well-being. We want you to have a sober and prosperous life, so we invite you to take a look at our offer and begin the admission process.

How do addiction and anxiety intertwine?

When a person with anxiety abuses substances for quite some time, a co-dependency between anxiety and addiction is created shortly after. That way, physical and psychological dependency on a substance becomes stronger and further enhanced due to anxious episodes. In order to avoid overwhelming discomfort and pain, a person turns to drugs and alcohol as a comfort. Furthermore, psychological cravings for drugs/alcohol become as strong as physical cravings.

woman with pills on the right side of her face
The connection between anxiety and addiction is important to treat methodically.

Anxiety is one of the most common co-occurring mental health issues that go along with addiction. In fact, the percentage of people that meet the requirements for Dual Diagnosis has increased by almost 20%. In order to uncover why this is the case, it’s necessary to take multiple factors into consideration:

  • stress
  • tragic events 
  • habits
  • personality and coping mechanisms
  • etc.

People in fast-paced areas suffer from severe anxiety

Life in big city areas runs at a faster pace. Due to this, a great percentage of people are suffering severe anxiety and resort to rather unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol or drugs. For workaholics, prescription stimulants serve as either a cheap substitute for cocaine or as a main go-to drug. Stimulants (just like cocaine) give them an extra boost in confidence and raise alertness. As a result, those who frequently use stimulants get more time to work and feel a lot less anxious when presenting their project, for instance.

On the other hand, those who experience overwhelming anxious episodes resort to painkillers/opioids. The admissions at every major oxycodone rehab center consist of an increasing number of addictions to opioids. By taking them, individuals temporarily numb their anxiety and get a short-lived calm and peace. However, the dependency on the substance is built as the user keeps abusing the drug, taking it every day, even in larger doses. The consequences aren’t detrimental to overall health, but to anxiety as well.

People with pre-existing anxiety are at higher risk of developing an addiction

Those who have hard time dealing with daily stress are more likely to seek the relief that substances provide. After some time, the signs of dependency become obvious. The individual can’t go through the day without the substance and believes there’s no other way of coping with life. This is where the psychological aspect of addiction takes place and is further fueled by additional stress a person doesn’t know how to deal with.

Alcoholism is also present in people suffering from anxiety

Alcohol is seen as a quick route to a calm state in patients with anxiety problems. However, alcohol also acts as a stressor, and long-term alcohol abuse can negatively impact the nervous system. That’s why alcoholics with anxiety tend to be reactive to stimuli and experience sudden emotional outbursts quite often.

a man drinking a glass of wine
Alcoholism is present among people suffering from severe anxiety.

Undiagnosed anxiety is often a cause of chronic relapse

The implementation of Dual Diagnosis and psychotherapy, in general, led to an increased number of long-term sobriety cases. That means addiction treatment that excludes prior psychiatric screening won’t be as successful. Before he/she knows it, an individual will relapse into old habits. Undiagnosed anxiety and other mental health problems are crucial reasons for chronic relapse cases.

How addiction experts treat anxiety and addiction

One of the major causes of relapse in recovering individuals is the unresolved psychological side of their addiction. That involves old habits, unprocessed traumas, and pre-existing anxiety that got worse over the course of time spent abusing drugs. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the link that binds severe anxiety and addiction is essential to address the right way and treat at specialized facilities.

It’s yet to be discussed whether anxiety exacerbates addictive tendencies, or whether addiction becomes a lot more severe due to drug abuse. According to studies, it depends on the individual. Either way, anxiety, and addiction must be treated simultaneously. This is why modern meth rehab Florida treatment centers, for example, insist on the psychological aspect of addiction. Through rewiring thought patterns and changing habits, the patient has better chances to overcome addictive behaviors for good and take a hold of their life. Here’s how:

  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Medical detox
  • Pharmacotherapy for addiction (if required)
  • Dual Diagnosis therapy for addiction
  • Behavioral therapy
a man thinking
Stress and pre-existing anxiety are the reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol.

The success of Dual Diagnosis in addiction treatment

When an individual suffering from addiction also struggles with co-existing anxiety (or another mental health disorder), that’s called Dual Diagnosis. Accordingly, Dual Diagnosis addiction treatment is widely utilized as an effective way to help patients overcome overwhelming anxiety tied to the addiction problem.

The introduction of Dual Diagnosis in addiction treatment significantly improved due to the following reasons:

  • Individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues received much-needed mental help.
  • The rate of relapses has kept dropping.
  • Recovering individuals were able to maintain long-term sobriety and bounce back from the crisis.

A patient must be diagnosed before receiving proper treatment

A reputable residential treatment center Florida locals highly praise involves psychiatric evaluation prior to all rehab procedures. When a patient comes to the facility, an addiction psychiatrist examines the severity of mental health issues in the patient. When it comes to anxiety, a psychiatrist has to be very careful before colluding should they put a patient on medications or rely solely on behavioral therapy.

therapist explaining the connection between anxiety and addiction
Once the connection between anxiety and addiction is determined, clinicians come up with a recovery plan for a patient.

Medical detox is mandatory

Before a patient enters treatment, they must undergo a mandatory medical detox. Thankfully, many modern rehab centers involve detox centers run by skilled medical staff. Withdrawal symptoms are a lot less painful when the detox is administered by medical staff.

Dual Diagnosis isn’t a universal treatment

After medical detox and diagnosis, a team of clinicians develops a unique recovery plan for each patient. Since Dual Diagnosis is far from being a universal treatment, it’s important to adjust the plan according to the patient. Also, the medications chosen to treat anxiety disorder are chosen in a way that they don’t tamper with addiction recovery.

Behavioral therapies are proven successful in treating anxiety during addiction treatment

Rehab centers worldwide reap the benefits of behavioral therapies as part of rehab programs:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Since CBT has been proven applicable in addiction treatment, many patients saw an improvement in their overall mental health. Thanks to CBT, they were able to get to the main cause of their addiction and face what they were running away from in a safe environment. CBT also tackles anxiety in a way that a patient discovers the triggers and how to manage them. As the therapy progresses, the patient starts to regain self-confidence and switch their viewpoint to a more optimistic one.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – DBT is similar to CBT. The difference is that DBT is designated for patients who experience extremes (in opinions, and feelings) more than usual.

The benefits of Aftercare

Although it’s not mandatory, Aftercare treatment benefits recovering individuals in the long run. Aftercare treatment helps you stay on the right track and practice skills that make coping with daily challenges without much effort. External triggers, unexpected events, and even social settings can be triggering months after an individual is discharged from the hospital. When they have their therapist to call in moments of crisis or happen to relapse at family gatherings, recovering individuals have better chances to stay on the right track.

unhappy woman sitting on the floor
Recovering individuals who don’t know they have anxiety are prone to relapse more often than not.

Outpatient vs Inpatient rehab

If you have problems with anxiety and struggle with addiction, the best solution is to enter rehab at a facility where you can also get the required mental help. You may opt between a residential (inpatient) program, or partial hospitalization (outpatient program). The latter option costs less and allows you flexibility in your schedule. That means that you may continue with your work and other duties you have to attend to. However, it might take longer than inpatient rehab, since you’ll have to take extra care of your home environment:

  • There shouldn’t be alcohol or anything triggering in your home.
  • The other members of your household must work in your best interest.
  • You have to be committed to the schedule: chores, work, rehab treatments, etc.

On the other hand, patients entering inpatient rehab recover a lot faster. Since they live in a facility, they receive ongoing care far away from distractions, stimuli, and city noise. Overall, they spend time in a controlled environment and have no other choice but to focus on their recovery. This certainly doesn’t make outpatient rehab seem less effective. Whichever option to choose, it takes commitment on your behalf in order to overcome an addiction that prevents you from living a peaceful life.

a therapist talking about the connection between anxiety and addiction with their patient
Dual Diagnosis and behavioral therapies are utilized in treating anxiety alongside psychological aspect of addiction.

Insurance options that can ease the financial aspect of rehab

If the cost of rehab represents an obstacle, you must be wondering “does insurance cover alcohol rehab?”. The good news is that rehab centers accept various insurance coverage options. However, here’s what to do before you decide which one to choose:

  • Check if you qualify for any particular insurance plan.
  • Contact the rehab center to verify if your chosen insurance plan is accepted at their facility.
  • Don’t forget to ask what costs fall under the insurance.


Make sure not to skip questions like “does Aetna cover alcohol rehab” when contacting any rehab center. Aetna is one of the common insurance choices.


Even AmeriHealth covers drug and alcohol rehab! However, don’t forget to ask does AmeriHealth cover drug rehab at a treatment center where you plan to start your recovery journey.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield is another major insurance plan popular among many who wish to enter rehab and ease their financial burden. After you make sure you (or your loved one) qualify for it, ask does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover rehab at your chosen rehab facility. Also, ask what treatments are covered by this insurance plan.


For those wondering “is drug rehab covered under FMLA“, the answer is – yes! However, make sure to have confirmed that FMLA covers your treatment at a specific rehab center.


So, does Tricare cover alcohol rehab for veterans and their families? Yes, it does. If this insurance option applies to you, check which rehab centers accept it and contact them for more information.


Ask does Cigna cover rehab program you need and then search rehab centers that have Cigna on their list of insurance policies.

Ask for help with the application process at your chosen rehab center

The paperwork you have to go through might be discouraging. However, the staff at the rehab facility can give you the guidance you need and thus save you plenty of time. They can also suggest you other insurance options in case your proposal gets rejected.

Bright Futures Treatment Center ensures medical and mental help for each patient

The addiction experts at Bright Futures Treatment Center pay a lot of attention to the connection between anxiety and addiction when working with patients. Thanks to combining medications and proper therapy, we successfully help patients break free from the addiction loop. The majority of them continue with our Aftercare program that anchors them in their new, sober lifestyle. We understand the path to sobriety is long and methodical, which is why we take a non-invasive step-by-step approach. Rest assured that, at Bright Futures, you’ll receive the best care.

Latest Posts

Contact Us