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Substance abuse is defined as “the use of a substance for a purpose not consistent with legal or medical guidelines.” There are different ways that an individual could misuse drugs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines alcohol abuse as a “pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male) or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours.” Prescription drug abuse occurs when a person abuses a medication that was prescribed to them by a medical professional or takes prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them at all. It also includes taking more medication than prescribed, mixing the medication with other drugs, ingesting the medication in a way other than prescribed (e.g., crushing and snorting a pill that is meant to be swallowed), and/ or taking the medication more frequently than prescribed. Using any illicit substance is considered drug abuse. Habitually abusing drugs and/ or alcohol will affect the way one’s brain functions, as one’s body becomes increasingly accustomed to functioning with the presence of the abused substance in its system. The psychological distress associated with substance abuse can trigger anxiety and adversely impact one’s mental health.

Alcohol and Anxiety

Anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” Drinking alcohol is known to exacerbate anxiety. Alcohol reduces the amount of serotonin (the neurotransmitter that works to stabilize one’s mood, happiness, and feelings of well-being) in the brain, and low levels of serotonin are associated with increased anxiety. While drinking alcohol can result in fleeting feelings of relaxation, it is not uncommon for an individual to experience increased feelings of anxiety after the initial effects of alcohol wear off. A 2014 University of Missouri-Columbia study found that drinking alcohol as a method of getting to sleep disrupts the body’s sleep homeostasis, or sleep regulator, and adversely affects one’s natural sleep cycles. The disruption in sleep patterns caused by alcohol can affect one’s energy levels, mood, and increase one’s susceptibility to anxiety.

Substance Use Disorder and Anxiety Disorders

Studies show that substance use disorder increases one’s risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) assert that nearly half of the people “who have a mental health disorder will also have a substance use disorder at some point in their lives and vice versa.” When an individual is diagnosed with substance use disorder and another co-occurring mental health illness it is referred to as a dual diagnosis. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that people diagnosed with substance use disorder are twice as likely to suffer from a mood or anxiety disorder than the general population. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found approximately 8.1 percent of individuals in the United States are living with mental illness and substance use disorder. Anxiety disorders and substance use disorders frequently co-occur. These two disorders have such high rates of co-occurrence that they are among the most prevalent psychiatric illnesses.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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