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Anxiety May Lead to Alcoholism

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Alcohol has become a solution for many people struggling with various life stressors. For many people, it’s their way of escape, particularly for those who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. Many times people will drink in order to calm their nerves, but what they may not be aware of is that alcohol can actually cause the opposite affect. If alcohol is abused it actually could cause the opposite affect and create more anxiety and depression.

Anxiety Disorders

James M. Bolton, M.D who headed the research on the affects of self medication stated that "People probably believe that self-medication works. What people do not realize is that this quick-fix method actually makes things worse in the long term." Dr. Bolton’s research included almost 35,000 adults throughout the United States, and it revealed that 13% of people used drugs or alcohol in that year due to anxiety. The percentage went up to almost a quarter when Dr. Bolton and his team researched the number of people self-medicating with prescription drugs. According to the research, people with an anxiety disorder were two to five times more prone to foster a drug or alcohol addiction.        

Self Medicating

Dr. Kristen Anderson, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Reed College, says, “Having a glass of wine to ease the tension of a stressful day doesn't necessarily put a person at risk for becoming an alcoholic…relying on alcohol or drugs to ease anxiety at the expense of healthier coping strategies…can be risky.” Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders have feelings of shame and lack of control; self-medicating becomes easier than having to face the issue with medical aid. Some people are fearful of being diagnosed with a mental illness, and find prescription drugs like Xanax or drinking alcohol easier to accept.       

There are many programs that can help anyone dealing with anxiety disorders and drug or alcohol abuse; however, the majority of people are unaware that help exists. There is no quick fix to anxiety or depression, but with the proper medical treatment along with support and help, those suffering from it do not have struggle the way they have been.

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