Can Alcohol Cause Anxiety?

Alcohol abuse and anxiety are often linked. While even a single instance of acute alcohol intoxication can lead to anxiety, mental health issues are more frequently associated with the recurrent alcohol abuse that is symptomatic of alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction, also referred to as alcoholism, is an affliction that affects both the body and the mind. Alcohol addiction has a variety of potential mental and physical symptoms, as well as a number of withdrawal symptoms that can be severe. Among the most common psychological symptoms of alcohol addiction are acute anxiety and depression.

How Does Alcohol Lead to Anxiety?

People who experience occasional anxiety in social or other situations will often self-medicate the problem with a drink of alcohol. While alcohol may ease the mind temporarily, it can actually make anxiety worse, both in the short term and in the long term.

Alcohol consumption can cause a number of physical issues that may lead to anxiety. Anxiety problems are most common when alcohol consumption is a frequent habit and when the levels of consumption are high enough to constitute alcohol abuse. For some, alcohol drops the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that many believe to be responsible for happiness, so a drop in serotonin levels can negatively affect mood in such a way that may cause anxiety.

A few of the common side effects of drinking excessive alcohol can often combine and cause an unpleasant physical condition that leads users to become anxious about their physical wellbeing. These common symptoms of alcohol abuse can include dehydration, low blood sugar and increased heart rate, which may lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, numbness, shaking and nausea.

How to Treat Alcoholism and Anxiety

When anxiety becomes a frequent problem, a person may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Whether or not the anxiety is a direct result of alcohol abuse, an alcohol addiction and an anxiety disorder can affect each other in negative ways. Essentially, each medical condition may continue to drive the other to continue and worsen. When a person has a substance addiction and a mental health issue, they may be diagnosed with a co-occurring or Dual Diagnosis disorder. A Dual Diagnosis disorder can be treated most effectively if it is fully understood, and some rehabilitation facilities specialize in integrated treatment specifically for patients with co-occurring disorders. Such a facility addresses each patient individually and has a medical team that can study him and decide on the best course of action for treatment. An individualized and specialized experience at such a facility is often the most effective treatment option for someone with a Dual Diagnosis disorder.

Finding Help for Alcohol Addiction

If you struggle with alcohol addiction and also experience acute anxiety, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and help you find the best treatment options for your situation. Please call now.

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