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anxiety and drug abuse


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Dear all,

First of I`d like to say how great it is that i found this site, it has been really helpful and informative for me.

Secondly, I noticed that your site mentions that anxiety that occurrs as a result of alcohol/drug abuse is not classed as an anxiety disorder as such. Does that mean it is permanent and not treatable?

I have some anxiety symptoms (similar to GAD and social anxiety) and some depressive and low self-esteem symptoms. I am trying to work through these things (not without success) and i am finding it a very long and gradual process, but i have seen progress. Its like 1 step forward and 2 steps back - sometimes I feel pretty bad: sometimes worried about something (usually job, relationship, relations with other people and whether people like me or not - and assuming the worst i must say) and sometimes i feel really well in myself and i like myself. The ratio is still in favour of the negative stuff but not so much as in the past!

Anyway, between the ages of 20-24 i abused alcohol very regularly (3-4times a week) and drugs regularly (once a month). I am now 28 having quit all that about 3 years ago. The worst i take now is my morning coffee.

But one of my biggest worries is that I will have these problems permanently because of a reckless and stupid 4 year period of my life - and i was hoping for some reassurances from qualified people in this field.

Thanks a lot and apologies for such a long post :(

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Guest ASchwartz

Hello MrKanista and welcome to our community.

We hope you will stay and join in the various discussions.

Please do not apologize for the length of your post. What you wrote is perfectly clear.

First, I want to clear up a misunderstanding. Alcohol and drugs do not cause anxiety disorders. Rather, the findings are that anxiety disorders can cause a person to drink very heavily. Therefore, your history of drinking did not lead to your anxiety. I would guess that you have always had symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Second, congratulations on your sobriety from alcohol and drugs.

Third, can you tell us more about your self and the types of problems you have had?

Lastly, there is no reason for you to believe that you will always feel bad. Have you considered psychotherapy?


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Hi Allan,

Thanks a lot for your reply. You're right I think I suffered from anxiety/depression for a long time before I started drinking and using. And I've had low self-esteem problems for as long as I can remember practically, especially in terms of social interactions.

Briefly, I am now 28. Started drinking when I was 15, using (ecstasy) when I was 20. I stopped everything at 25.

When I stopped I was prescribed Zoloft, which coincided with terrible anxiety, the worst I had ever suffered - I was haunted by bad memories of reckless behaviour whilst intoxicated. This lasted for about 3 months, during which time it got so bad I contactd AA. After about 6 months I came off Zoloft (partly due to AA, partly because I couldnt feel much of a difference) and was working the programme of AA.

About 18 months ago I quit AA, started doing a Masters and distanced myself from my friends. Also my partner moved to another country. So I was feeling pretty low and stressed, then insomnia and racing and repetitive thoughts started and ended up having to have therapy. I had a mixture of CBT and hypnotherapy which was quite useful but I didnt finish the course as an opportunity came up to move with my partner.

Now the worst has gone and I can pin point most anxiety I have to self-esteem related issues I think and social anxiety - I tend to make acquaintances but find it incredibly difficult to really mix with them and make friends. Either that or i get stressed out just by feeling inadequate in all situations....


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