Men living with addiction and anxiety may not realize the connection between the two. Over time, untreated addiction and anxiety can contribute to significant personal issues, including relationship problems, health issues, and financial crises. Let’s look at some warning signs of anxiety and addiction in men and how to overcome barriers to treatment.
Men with anxiety and addiction may struggle with asking for help and perpetuate their problems with both issues. Rather than seek support, they may self-medicate with alcohol and drugs to cope with intense feelings of anxiety. Using substances as a solution regularly can lead to severe health consequences. Normalizing conversations about health care and mental health needs can help men with anxiety and addiction overcome barriers to treatment and get on the road to recovery.
Warning Signs of Anxiety and Addiction in Men
Clues may be evident that someone you know is living with anxiety and addiction. Anxiety-related warning signs include work concerns, sleep troubles, and relationship conflicts. He may experience a racing heart or problems with muscle tensions. He may appear dizzy or suffer from vertigo when anxiety is at its worst. He may become restless, agitated, or aggressive.
The warning signs for anxiety may precede or coincide with signs of addiction. He may use higher amounts of a drug to get the same effect. He may continue to use even when it’s had negative consequences on his relationships, his work, his finances, and his health. He may have trouble functioning daily due to routine drug use. A person with an addiction may borrow or steal money to pay for alcohol or other drugs. He may abandon old friends for new ones that enable his drug use.
Symptoms of Anxiety and Addiction
Physical symptoms can be a way to tell if someone you know is living with undiagnosed anxiety and addiction. When someone is misusing substances, you may notice their eyes are bloodshot. If using heroin, they may have constricted pupils. Sudden weight loss is a symptom of people addicted to cocaine, ecstasy, or methamphetamine. Other appearance changes can come in a person’s complexion, with repeated drug use leading to acne, paleness, or jaundice. Scabs, scars, and bruising can be visible, too. Poor personal hygiene habits are another obvious symptom of addiction.
Anxiety symptoms can be constant or appear regularly. Visible symptoms of anxiety include tension or restlessness, trembling, and appearing weak or tired. A person experiencing anxiety may sweat uncontrollably as well as their heart rate has increased dramatically. You may notice their breathing is rapid, too.
Barriers to Treatment for Men
Men may perceive a variety of environmental factors as an obstacle to asking for help and seeking treatment for anxiety and addiction. They may feel stigmatized by showing vulnerability to others. They may resist confiding in friends if they think it makes them appear weak or too dependent. The desire to problem-solve for themselves may influence their view of treatment in general. Men who don’t see how their self-care is suffering from neglect may be in denial about the impact of their addiction. Fear of being judged by family members can be a factor in avoiding conversations about addictive behaviors. Suppose men are overly focused on a manufactured public image. In that case, the idea of going to treatment may make them put more focus on the perception of others rather than recognizing anxiety and addiction is negatively affecting their quality of life.
Men and Self-Medicating
Men who do not seek treatment due to the barriers mentioned above may self-medicate instead. If they’re turning to drugs to cope with anxiety, they develop a substance use disorder along the way. On the flip side, routine use of drugs or alcohol can lead to mental health disorders.
Untreated anxiety can intensify as men are using substances more heavily. This can lead to a cycle of routine use during those episodes of heightened anxiety. Both positive and negative experiences can exacerbate anxiety. For example, a job loss and the start of a new romantic relationship can be anxiety-inducing for men.
Talking to Men about Anxiety and Addiction
Ultimately, men who actively seek treatment for addiction and anxiety do so after receiving support and encouragement from trusted friends or family members. It can come from a private conversation or an intervention. Either way, it’s important to demonstrate a sense of concern for the man in your life rather than solely a judgment of him and his choices. Normalizing conversations about self-care, prioritizing mental health, and restoring good physical health can be a part of a larger process.
Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration.
We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.
For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1019.