Definition of Substance or Medication-Induced Anxiety

Although it’s quite normal to experience some feelings or symptoms of anxiety in all kinds of stressful situations (even transient feelings of paranoia, anxiety and panic that occur spontaneously during people’s withdrawal from or intoxication of drugs and alcohol), substance or medication induced anxiety disorder is much worse, and it lasts longer. The worst part is that it may significantly reduce the enjoyment in life for some patients.

The same medications that many consumers take to improve their self-confidence, relax and reduce inhibitions are responsible for substance-induced panic attacks or anxiety disorders. Sometimes, people even fail to understand that it’s their meds, drugs or alcohol that results in unwanted anxiety. The main reason is that most of them associate these substances with improved positive feelings.

When doctors, such as psychologists and physicians, give a diagnosis of medication or substance induced anxiety disorder, they do their best to ensure that certain anxiety symptoms weren’t present before taking medication and drugs or consuming alcohol (substances responsible for this mental condition). There are different types of panic attacks and anxiety disorders, so if their symptoms were present before the substance use, this condition isn’t diagnosed as medication or substance induced anxiety.

How Long It Takes for Substances and Medication to Induce Anxiety

In some cases, panic attacks or anxiety disorder can happen right away. There’s even a special category, which means that episodes of anxiety started when patients were high on drugs or drunk. This disorder may also happen during their withdrawal, because anxiety symptoms are common for this period. However, if anxiety is only a symptom of their withdrawal, all signs will resolve within several days after discontinuing their drug or alcohol use, whilst medication or substance induced anxiety or panic disorder can start during people’s withdrawal, continue and get worse as they move through a detox process.

In general, this diagnosis isn’t given if patients have their history of anxiety disorders without any substance use or when their unwanted symptoms last for longer than 1 month after becoming abstinent from specific medications, drugs, alcohol or other substances. To give a diagnosis of medication or substance induced anxiety disorder, doctors need to ensure that symptoms affect the lives of their patients considerably. For example, these symptoms need to affect their social life, work and other areas or cause a lot of emotional distress.

Drugs That Cause Substance or Medication-Induced Anxiety

Nowadays, there are many psychoactive substances that may lead to substance or medication induced anxiety, such as:

• Caffeine and alcohol;

• Inhalants and cannabis;

• Phencylidine and other hallucinogens;

• Amphetamine and other stimulants;

• Cocaine and other substances.

When it comes to medications known to induce anxiety, they include the following:

• Analgesics and anesthetics;

• Anticholinergics and insulin;

• Sympathomimetic and other bronchodilators;

• Oral contraceptives and thyroid;

• Antihypertensive and cardiovascular meds;

• Lithium and anticonvulsants;

• Antihistamines and corticosteroids;

• Antidepressants and antipsychotics;

• Antiparkinsonian drugs.

In addition, there are some toxins and heavy metals that may cause specific anxiety and panic symptoms. They include:

• Carbon dioxide and monoxide;

• Different volatile substances, like paints and gasoline;

• Nerve gases and organophophate insecticides.

That’s why you need to inform medical professionals about any pharmaceutical products that you want to take, including herbal supplements, over-the-counter meds, prescription drugs and other substances, because they may result in such health problems as substance and medication induced panic or anxiety.