- Nov 19
A powerful motivation that draws people to drugs like heroin is an underlying mental health condition. While everyone experiences anxiety or stress occasionally, anxiety disorders make it difficult to deal with daily life without persistent feelings of fear or dread. To cope, some people experiment with illicit substances. Heroin may seem to offer relief from anxiety at first, but a huge cost comes with it.
WHY DOES ANXIETY SEEM TO GO AWAY AFTER HEROIN USE?
Anxiety is excessive worry about the situations you encounter every day. These persistent feelings make it difficult to relax, causing those struggling with anxiety to feel constantly on edge — as though something bad is bound to happen at any moment. This is an uncomfortable way to live and can become debilitating. Those who don’t seek help from a professional counselor or find healthy coping techniques sometimes turn to drugs for self-medication.
Heroin is a powerful and illicit opioid. It affects the central nervous system, creating feelings of euphoria and intense relaxation that seem to help release anxiety, worries and fears.
WHY PEOPLE USE HEROIN TO COPE WITH ANXIETY
Many drugs, both legal and illegal, can help people cope with anxiety. Why do so many turn to heroin? Untreated anxiety is like quicksand. The more you struggle to break free, the deeper you sink — until every waking thought seems to be filled with panic and fear. Those struggling with this disorder may try anything to find immediate relief from their symptoms.
Some people opt for prescription medications with a calming effect. Yet, even doctor-prescribed meds can fuel addiction. Over the last decade, more stringent laws and prescribing practices have developed to protect patients from addictive medication. Unfortunately, many people instead turn to illicit substances to cope with underlying mental health issues like anxiety. Heroin seems to effectively combat anxiety symptoms. Yet, as with any illicit substance, this dangerous opioid exacerbates mental health symptoms and ultimately makes them worse.
CAN USING HEROIN CAUSE ANXIETY?
For those struggling with anxiety, heroin will only worsen your condition. While the drug may temporarily relieve symptoms, using heroin to cope with anxiety will likely lead to addiction. Once your body is dependent, every time you try to quit, withdrawal symptoms will increase your feelings of anxiety. This creates an unbearable cycle of continually increasing anxiety and increasingly larger amounts of heroin to suppress those feelings and feed your addiction.
Even people with no history of mental health issues can develop anxiety symptoms through heroin addiction. Using heroin can change your brain’s chemistry. Once this delicate system is thrown off balance, you may begin to feel anxious every time your body is deprived of the heroin it believes it needs. This can ultimately create a substance-induced anxiety disorder.
SEEK TREATMENT FOR ANXIETY AND HEROIN ADDICTION
For many patients, there is an undeniable link between anxiety and heroin addiction. To effectively treat one, both must be addressed. At Gateway Foundation, we specialize in dual diagnosis treatment. Rather than solely focusing on your addiction, we simultaneously treat any mental health conditions you may also be struggling with — including anxiety disorders.