Imagine having a fire in your home – the intensity of that moment and the fear that it would inherently induce. Now, imagine seeing that scenario, feeling that fear, and deciding to throw gasoline on the fire.
For someone who deals with social anxiety, the onset of symptoms associated with the disorder can induce excessive fear when they least expect it. It can flare up in the most random scenarios and cause a person to feel completely frozen with terror.
Making the decision to get high on meth while anxiety symptoms are raging can amplify the feelings tenfold, inflicting physical damage and excessive emotional distress. So, why would anyone willingly ingest methamphetamine if they knew they struggled with social anxiety?
In some cases, it’s in an attempt to relieve the crippling social anxiety that’s felt. In other cases, meth addiction either triggered the anxiety or made it worse.
What is Social Anxiety, Exactly?
Social anxiety disorder, sometimes referred to as social phobia, is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social settings. People living with the disorder may fear being judged, criticized, laughed at or humiliated in front of others, even in the most ordinary, everyday situations.
For example, the prospect of eating in front of others at a restaurant can be daunting for some people with social phobia, making simple tasks seem overwhelming. People with this disorder often have trouble talking to people, meeting new people and attending social gatherings.
They fear being judged or scrutinized by others. They may understand that their fears are irrational or unreasonable, but they feel totally powerless to overcome them.
Can Meth Cause Anxiety?
The thing about meth is that it can both mimic the symptoms associated with anxiety and exacerbate those feelings significantly in a person who already experiences social anxiety.
Common symptoms associated with social anxiety include:
• Nervousness, restlessness, or being tense
• Feelings of danger and dread
• Rapid heart rate and breathing
• Increased or heavy sweating
• Weakness and lethargy
• Difficulty focusing or thinking clearly
Someone who uses and abuses a stimulant like meth will oftentimes experience the same symptoms for longer durations and at a much higher intensity.
Anxiety from Meth: What’s Important to Know
Experiencing anxiety is a common side effect when using meth. If you already deal with social anxiety, or have been previously diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, it is important to understand both the symptoms that you live with and how a stimulant as dangerous as methamphetamine can amplify those feelings beyond your comprehension.
Some of the more common effects of meth use include:
• Motor and Verbal Memory Loss
Meth abuse can negatively affect non-neural brain cells called microglia, which support the brain by removing damaged neurons and defending the brain against infectious agents; but too much microglial activity can damage healthy neurons in the brain.
• Psychiatric Symptoms
Anxiety, insomnia and mood disturbances are often reported by meth addicts who have abused the substance for an extended period of time.
• Psychotic Reactions
Extreme paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations/delusions
• Emotion and Memory Issues
Meth use alters the dopamine system in the brain, which is used in the areas that affect emotions and memories associated with pleasurable feelings.
Unfortunately, some of these psychotic symptoms can persist for months or years after the abuser quits using meth. Reoccurrence of these symptoms can be triggered by stress long after the person has stopped using.
In addition to the anxiety induced by meth use, and the manner in which meth addiction can destroy neurological processing in the brain, meth use increases the risk of stroke and can lead to a higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease – conditions that are irreversible.1
Meth and Anxiety Attacks: There is Life-Changing, Co-Occurring Help
Regardless of where you are in your life, or whether your social anxiety is impacting your meth addiction or the other way around, finding the help you need to take back control of your life is essential.
That is why including the clinical guidance of a treatment facility specializing in co-occurring (struggling with both a substance addiction and mental illness) into your recovery plan is a fundamental first step.
That way you can treat both disorders at the same time, identifying the personal experiences and natural inclinations impacting your substance use disorder and mental health issues simultaneously in order to achieve sustained success.
The only way to achieve true success in rehab is to address all the problems you are facing. Then, and only then, can you begin to repair the damage inflicted by your addiction and overcome the anxiety that has held you down for too long.
Holistic Co-Occurring Treatment for Social Anxiety and Meth Addiction
Dealing with co-occurring disorders in any form is an extremely difficult task to face, but there is proven,
life-changing help for you. You can achieve mental stability, quit your addiction and learn vital, effective
skills to avoid a relapse.
At Ranch Creek Recovery, we take a holistic, non-12-step approach to drug and alcohol rehab and
mental health disorders. The trauma you experienced and the addiction that may have entered your life
has deeply affected your mind, body and spirit.
Because of this, these vital pieces of your being must be given the support and nurturing they need to
fully heal. We work with every aspect of you to ensure complete care and healing. Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including what we offer and what we treat.
Contact us today to get your questions answered.