Why Self-Medicating for Anxiety Is a Slippery Slope

The effects of anxiety can have an impact on your physical, mental, and emotional health. To cope with anxiety, you may be tempted to turn to alcohol, drugs, and other unhealthy habits that won’t solve the problem. In fact, self-medicating can lead to even more complications.

At Revolution Psychiatric and Addiction Treatment, board-certified psychiatrist Richard Repass, MD, and our medical team offer comprehensive treatment services for those who have fallen into addiction while trying to battle anxiety. We can also help you overcome anxious feelings through our general psychiatry services to improve your overall quality of life.

Understanding your anxiety

Occasional anxiety is your body’s defense against potentially dangerous situations. But if you have anxious feelings that are persistent or lead to thoughts of harming yourself, they can interfere with your everyday life.

Many people with chronic anxiety find it difficult to stay on task at work, and they experience trouble in their relationships with their family, spouse, and friends.

In those with a generalized anxiety disorder, symptoms can last for six months or longer. These symptoms can include:

When you feel on edge all the time, you may think that a drink or a certain drug will help you relax. Over time, this habit of reaching for a beer, pill, or marijuana to relieve anxious thoughts can compound the problem and actually worsen your anxiety.

How self-medicating for anxiety can lead to addiction

When you’re using alcohol or drugs to relieve anxiety, it can quickly lead to even more intense feelings of worry or fear. Addiction also has a negative impact on your relationships.

One of the biggest concerns for self-medicating against anxiety is your risk for an overdose. When you’re already not thinking clearly because of the combination of anxiety and addiction, you may take more medication or consume more alcohol than you realize, essentially poisoning your body. 

Some people turn to benzodiazepines and opioids, as well as cannabis, to reduce their anxieties. These medications can compromise your respiratory system, and an overdose can cause long-term physical damage to your major organs or premature death.

Misuse of benzodiazepines and opioids can also increase your risk for stroke, high blood pressure, and the loss of your cognitive function. These health issues add another layer of worry to your existing anxiety and may complicate the situation if you become addicted to the medications.

Searching for a better alternative

When your life becomes compromised by chronic anxiety, you should immediately seek professional help. With the right therapy, lifestyle changes, and anxiety medications, you can find relief from your persistent worry and stress without self-medicating.

The team at Revolution Psychiatry and Addiction Treatment offers services to treat your anxiety and help you recover if you’ve already fallen into the grips of an alcohol addiction or excessive marijuana use. Therapies incorporate nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) to help you overcome addiction and anxiety.

Benefits of NAD in addiction and anxiety treatment.

Dr. Repass and his team offer several detox programs that focus on NAD therapy. NAD is a natural substance in your body that produces energy and boosts communication between your cells. Using alcohol or drugs can reduce the levels of NAD in your body, making it difficult to overcome an addiction on your own.

Through intravenous (IV) infusions of BR+NAD™, a special NAD product as part of a detox program, you can stop addictive cravings and give your body the time it needs to remove alcohol, drugs, and other toxins from your body. Following a detox, you can expect to feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally.

You can also benefit from the psychotherapy services available to better understand your anxiety and its role in your use of drugs and alcohol. These services give you the tools you need to cope with your emotions, fears, and necessary lifestyle changes to help you achieve long-term recovery.

If you can’t get out from under the weight of anxiety, schedule a consultation by calling our Mercer Island, Washington, office today. We also offer telemedicine appointments.

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