Substance Induced Anxiety Disorder

Substance or medication-induced anxiety disorder is a type of anxiety disorder or panic attack that is caused by alcohol, drugs, or medications. Anxiety to a degree is normal in stressful or transient situations. When it occurs spontaneously during alcohol or drug use or during withdrawal from these substances it can provoke severe suffering and functional impairments.


Anxiety or panic can strike suddenly in some instances. There’s even a category called “with onset during intoxication,” which denotes that the anxiety attack began when the person was intoxicated or high on a drug. It can also happen during or soon after withdrawal when anxiety symptoms are typical.

If the person has a history of an anxiety disorder without a history of substance abuse, or if the symptoms persist for more than a month after abstaining from alcohol, drugs, or medicine, the diagnosis is usually withheld. To be diagnosed with Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder, the symptoms must be causing considerable mental distress or significantly disrupting the person’s life, including employment, social life, or another major aspect of their existence.

Substance Induced Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms of Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorders

Symptoms may appear while you are taking the medication or a few days after you stop taking it. Besides feeling apprehensive and scared, symptoms may include:
• Believing that horrible things will happen to you or that you will never be able to improve.
• Having difficulty falling asleep or waking up frequently throughout the night
• Having problems concentrating or recalling information
• Concerns that you are losing control of yourself and will either go insane or die
• Losing weight because you don’t want to eat, your stomach hurts, or you’re vomiting or having diarrhea
• Chest pains, hot flushes, sweating, trembling, numbness, or a racing heart
• Having difficulty breathing, swallowing, or experiencing chest pain

Causes of Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Chemicals produced by the brain have an impact on one’s ideas, feelings, and behaviors. There may be issues with the way you think, feel, or act if these substances are out of balance. Many medications alter the level of these substances in the body. While taking certain medications, you may experience anxiety. Other medicines can make you feel anxious for weeks after you stop taking them.

Substances responsible for Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Below are some of the substances that can lead to substance/medication-induced anxiety.


• Analgesics
• Anesthetics
• Anticonvulsants
• Antidepressants
• Antihistamines
• Bronchodilators
• Cardiovascular meds
• Corticosteroids
• Epinephrine
• Insulin


• Alcohol
• Caffeine
• Cannabis (marijuana)
• Cocaine (amphetamines)
• Hallucinogens
• Inhalants
• Nicotine
• Phencyclidine (PCP)
• Opioids
• Sedatives


• Carbon dioxide
• Carbon monoxide
• Gasoline
• Nerve gases
• Organophosphate insecticides
• Paint

Diagnosis of Substance-Induced Anxiety disorders

When your doctor diagnoses you with substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder, they make sure the anxiety wasn’t present before you started using the alcohol, drugs, or medications that are assumed to be the cause.
This is due to the fact that there are various types of anxiety disorders, and if the symptoms existed prior to the use of substances, it isn’t labeled as substance/medication-induced anxiety.

Treatment of Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Your doctor may suggest a different medication or treatment. Unless your healthcare practitioner has instructed you to stop a medication or change the dosage, do not stop taking medication as prescribed. 

It is possible to recover from drug addiction and misuse. You must want to stop taking drugs in order for any treatment to work. To alleviate withdrawal symptoms, avoid using alcohol or other narcotics. To assist you to get through withdrawal, your healthcare practitioner may prescribe drugs.
narcotics anonymous, alcohol anonymous, other support groups, and therapy may be beneficial. A substance abuse treatment program may be used to help you. Your doctors and counselors will collaborate with you to create a treatment plan.


Individual or group treatment can be used to address substance-induced anxiety disorders. Group therapy with other people who are struggling with substance misuse can be very beneficial. In some circumstances, anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications can help you quit abusing substances. Talk to your doctor or therapist about the possibilities.

Other Treatment

Learning to relax can be beneficial. Yoga and meditation may be beneficial as well. You should discuss using these approaches in conjunction with medications and therapy with your healthcare professional.
Certain herbal and nutritional products are said to help decrease cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Supplements aren’t tested or standardized, thus their potencies and effects may vary. They could have negative side effects and aren’t always safe. Consult your healthcare physician before using any supplements.