How Addiction Relapse and Anxiety Are Linked

woman grabbing head

Anxiety and addiction relapse, for many people, can be connected as anxiety and stress increase a person’s chances of relapse.

At Banyan Detox Stuart, we believe in taking a proactive approach to drug relapse prevention, which often involves identifying drug relapse warning signs and taking action before these symptoms worsen. Anxiety can be a major relapse trigger, but there are ways to keep calm and avoid relapse.

Stress and Anxiety Can Be Drug Relapse Warning Signs

  Stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges can be triggers for relapse. Typically, this happens when a person uses drugs or alcohol in attempts to quell their anxiety symptoms, and substance use can lead to more anxiety in a constant cycle. 1

While stressful situations and anxiety can be warning signs of relapse, it’s no guarantee that these challenges lead to relapse. But one study in the UK did find that prolonged anxiety symptoms lead to an increased risk of relapse. Patients who struggle with both anxiety and addiction are more susceptible to falling into habits of use to medicate symptoms, worsening of symptoms due to drinking, and more drinking or drug use to quell those worsened symptoms. 2

A stressful day or two may not lead to relapse, but prolonged stress can set the stage for relapse into drinking or drug use. Anxiety influences relapse by making recovering addicts and alcoholics more susceptible to using again, especially for those who used to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

Worse yet, antisocial behaviors tend to increase when a person is experiencing prolonged anxiety, and social isolation can increase the likelihood of relapse. 2 While anxiety and stress aren’t the only signs of relapse, they are warning signs that should not be ignored.

How to Manage Anxiety and Reduce Relapse Risks

  At our Florida alcohol detox and drug detox center, we believe in relapse prevention techniques. We offer a variety of drug rehab therapies in Stuart, Florida aimed at helping patients build tools of long-lasting sobriety. This includes therapies for combating anxiety, stress, and other common relapse warning signs. We encourage people in recovery to follow stress reduction tips such as:

  • Staying physically active by exercising regularly
  • Eating healthier meals
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • Breathing deeply and practicing grounding exercises

Anxiety can spiral quickly, and spiraling anxiety can lead to relapse if not kept in check. At Banyan Detox Stuart, we encourage our current and former patients to practice stress and anxiety reduction techniques to keep on track in sobriety. There is a strong connection between addiction relapse and anxiety, but treatment can help.

Contact our team today at 888-280-4763 to learn how we can help.


  1. SAMHSA - Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables
  2. ADAA - Substance Use Disorders

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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.