Drugs That Cause Anxiety and How Dual Diagnosis Rehab Can Help

Drugs That Cause Anxiety and How Dual Diagnosis Rehab Can Help

You trust that over-the-counter medications and those prescribed by a physician will make you feel better. The majority of the time, they do. However, most medications come with a list of unwanted side effects, like anxiety.

Not everyone experiences these adverse effects, but it can be more than frustrating for those who do. It can also be dangerous to their health, especially for patients receiving treatment for substance use disorder.

OTC meds and anxiety

Drugs that Cause Anxiety in a World Already Filled with Stress 

Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress, but approximately 40 million adults in the U.S.1 suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. People with anxiety disorders experience chronic stress, panic, fear, and anxiety unrelated to specific circumstances, such as taking a test or preparing for a job interview. They feel anxious almost all of the time to the point where the disorder disrupts normal daily activities.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders can be debilitating, making it impossible for a person to go to school, hold down a job or maintain close personal relationships. This is certainly not what anyone expects to happen when they take prescription medication to treat a legitimate health problem.

6 Common Drugs That Cause Anxiety

Talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any of the following medications and have started to experience anxiety symptoms.

  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sense of impending doom or danger
  • Panic
  • Feelings of nervousness or tension
  • Feeling nervous
  • Sweating/trembling
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive worrying
  • Digestive problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Isolating yourself from people or situations that cause anxiety

You don’t have to live with anxiety just because you need medication for some other condition. There are many prescription and OTC medications available, and your doctor may be able to recommend a drug that does not cause anxiety but still addresses the original health issue.

1. Medications Containing Caffeine

Some medications for treating migraines and headaches contain caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase the heart rate and raise blood pressure. If you are already prone to anxiety, too much caffeine may leave you feeling nervous and jittery. Some common medicines that contain caffeine include:

  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen
  • Excedrin Migraine
  • Anacin
  • Ergotamine
  • Cafergot
  • Migergot

drugs that cause anxiety, anxiety and substance abuse

If you feel irritable or anxious after using these medications, caffeine may be the source of the problem.

2. ADHD Medication

Most of the drugs used to treat ADHD and ADD are stimulants that can make you feel anxious and restless, especially in large doses.

ADHD medication and Asthma Medication and Anxiety and Drinking

3. Asthma Medication

Some of the drugs used to treat asthma can also make mood disorders worse. If you have been diagnosed with or suspect you have depression or anxiety, talk to your doctor before taking medications such as Albuterol, Salmeterol, or Theophylline. Asthma can be a life-threatening condition that requires medical care, but your physician may be able to recommend alternative medications that do not worsen anxiety disorders.

4. Antidepressants

It seems counterintuitive, but some medicines used to treat depression can cause anxiety. Antidepressants that raise the level of serotonin can also increase feelings of anxiousness.

5. Thyroid Medication

A lack of hormone production from the thyroid can cause low energy. Still, sometimes the medication to correct thyroid function triggers anxiety and may make the patient feel hyperactive. In this case, adjusting the amount of medicine may resolve the problem.

Anxiety and Substance Use - Dual Diagnosis Rehab in Arizona Can Help

6. Corticosteroids

Often referred to as simply “steroids,” corticosteroids are one of the best-known drugs that cause anxiety. If you have been prescribed corticosteroids and are feeling anxiety symptoms, do not stop taking them on your own. Going “cold turkey” can worsen anxiety issues. Speak with your doctor to develop a plan to taper you off of the drug safely.

How Can Dual Diagnosis Rehab Help with Substance Use Disorder and Drugs that Cause Anxiety?

Dual diagnosis refers to a person dealing with both a substance use disorder and an underlying mental illness, such as anxiety. Nearly 50% of people with mental disorders are also affected by a substance use disorder. What’s more, 35% of those with alcohol use disorder and 53% of those with drug use disorder are estimated to have at least one mental illness.2 The link between substance abuse and mental health is undeniable, but what does that have to do with drugs that cause anxiety?

Desert Cove Recovery specializes in dual diagnosis treatment in Arizona. Attempting to treat substance use disorder without addressing the possibility of underlying mental illness is a disservice to the patient. Recovery is difficult under the best of circumstances. Those new to the recovery process are especially vulnerable to medications that trigger a desire to use. After all, the uncomfortable feelings caused by an anxiety disorder could be the reason a person turned to alcohol or drugs in the first place.

Dual Diagnosis Rehab for Anxiety and Addiction

With the proper diagnosis and treatment of a mental illness, those in recovery feel better prepared to navigate everyday tasks such as managing their medications.  

Call Desert Cove Recovery for Dual Diagnosis Rehab in Arizona

The clinical staff at Desert Cove Recovery has developed a program specifically to help clients with dual diagnoses. While there may be no “cure” for some mental illnesses, the right treatment can help individuals to address their symptoms positively. Avoiding drugs that cause anxiety is an essential part of that treatment. Call Desert Cove Recovery today if you or a loved one is concerned about having a dual diagnosis.



[1] https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics

[2] https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/substance-abuse-and-mental-health.htm