Anxiety and addiction

Robin Eggs, photo by Jason Collins, Tillsonburg, Canada, chicken or the eggWhich comes first the chicken or the egg, they ask? Does anxiety create addiction or does addiction create anxiety? As I see it both apply. We become anxious over something and we reach out to self medicate with a substance or process (alcohol, smoking, pills, food, love, gambling, arguing) which we know will give us some relief, even though temporary and unhealthy. Then when the feelgood wears off we are faced with a double barrel situation – the unresolved anxiety from the first instance and the one created by the withdrawal from the feelgood. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, they say. Better to resolve the problem creating the anxiety in the first place. Then the feelgood is kept manageable, for those who can.

I had some university work to attend to
and as it was not that of my choice
the procrastination set in fuelled by my anxiety
or vice versa, who cares?!
so I cleaned out the cupboards and took care
of other chores I had been putting off which
were less unpleasant than the uni work
then I turned to my drug of choice – food
a little of this and a little of that increased
my guilt and anxiety and then I tackled
the original culprit but as I finished the task
I wondered why I hadn’t spared myself the angst
the universal question!

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2 thoughts on “Anxiety and addiction”

  1. @ Robert Wolfe Harman: I agree with you that any process or substance that gives you the quick hit can become an addiction. The other part of being compelled by the adrenaline rush that anxiety can give, is also the ‘victim’ role it compels us to take on, which then results in struggling to come out of it. This makes the outcome a ‘high’ which needs to be repeated over and over.

  2. Affie do you think it’s possible to be actually addicted to anxiety – to the adrenaline rush? I’ve been fighting anxiety for years and I keep coming back to the idea that it is an addiction – it provides feelings and sensations that are otherwise lacking: the kind of quick hit that one gets from cigarettes, food, and especially coffee. What do you think? Robert x

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