April is being observed as the Alcohol Awareness Month (AAM) across the United States. Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the month is commemorated every year to raise public awareness about pitfalls of excessive alcohol consumption and to reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism. AAM aims at providing an opportunity to increase understanding of alcoholism, its causes, treatment and recovery. This year’s theme is “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery.”
Although stress is widely considered to be the cause of alcohol cravings and development of alcohol use disorder (AUD), it seems that people with anxiety drink more heavily. According to a new study, individuals with anxiety may have more cravings for alcohol than people having high levels of stress. The study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research on March 9, 2017, involved 87 people who had AUD and were not undergoing any treatment.
During the study, researchers measured the participants’ anxiety levels, perceived stress and sensitivity to anxiety. As many as 30 eligible participants underwent an alcohol abstinence program at a medical center. The researchers examined their alcohol cravings twice a day. On the fourth day of the study, they measured the participants’ levels of cortisol and engaged them in a Trier Social Stress Test. The participants were asked about their alcohol cravings both before and after the test.
Link between anxiety and alcohol cravings
As per the results, those with higher levels of anxiety sensitivity scored more on clinical measures of alcohol addiction and were more likely to indulge in heavy drinking. While participants with higher levels of anxiety drank less, they scored higher on other methods of alcoholism. In addition, anxiety and anxiety sensitivity were correlated with more alcohol cravings. The researchers also found anxiety closely linked to alcohol cravings.
While prior studies on alcohol use often used terms related to anxiety and stress interchangeably, the recent study shows that anxiety, anxiety sensitivity and stress had different effects on alcohol cravings. However, the study has several limitations. The most evident one being that the participants were media-recruited heavy drinkers who were not seeking alcohol treatment. The study also excluded those with psychiatric disorders, thereby restricting stress and anxiety measures.
Road to recovery
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 88,000 people lose their lives annually due to alcohol-related causes. While alcohol has long been associated with reducing stressful days or nervous situations, heavy alcohol drinking over a long period can have serious consequences including a variety of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. However, alcohol addiction is a treatable disease.
Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone grappling with alcohol abuse. We offer evidence-based therapy and interventions to treat various mental health disorders. We also provide treatment for addiction to alcohol and other harmful substances. Basis a person’s symptoms, Sovereign Health of Florida offers a customized treatment plan that is a holistic combination of medications, therapy, or both.
If you know someone suffering from anxiety disorders or seeking alcoholism treatment, it is imperative to get them treated at a certified anxiety disorder treatment facility or get them enrolled in a professional alcohol addiction treatment program. For more information about our finest alcohol abuse treatment centers and anxiety treatment centers, please call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-269-2493. You can also chat online with our representatives to know more about various alcohol addiction treatment and anxiety rehab centers near you.
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.