Can phobias lead to addiction and substance abuse?

Phobias and Addiction

Phobias and Addiction

While some experts believe that phobias and anxiety are two very different disorders there are many who believe they have a direct link. Phobias can lead to anxiety but anxiety can also lead to phobias if you ask many sufferers. However, one issue which is often discussed is a potential link between phobias and addiction/substance abuse.

Increased levels of anxiety

Anxiety is an element of everyday life and in reality it is often very helpful until it gets out of hand. If you are presented with a difficult situation then anxiety could prompt you to make a decision sooner rather than later. However, if you ask many anxiety sufferers they will tell you that once they pass a certain level of anxiety it becomes almost impossible to think clearly and make a decision.

Perhaps this is where the potential link between phobias and addiction/substance abuse comes from. We all have our “comfort blankets” in times of trouble but it may well be that some people see substance abuse and other forms of addiction as their comfort blankets. Is this a way for them to escape reality?

Phobias are real!

Those who do not suffer from phobias, at least to the extent where they impact your everyday life, often mock and laugh at those who do. If you have ever suffered a reaction to a specific situation you will know that your heart pounds, your head hurts and it is difficult to think straight. Well, if you experience these particular situations on an irregular basis can you imagine how it feels?

If you suffer from phobias/anxiety issues you need to remember that nobody has ever died of a panic attack, nobody has ever died of a phobia and anxiety is uncomfortable but not a killer. This may not assist you at the time but if you think it over in more calm times it will help you.

Finding a healthy addiction

The reality for many people who suffer phobia/anxiety attacks is it that they can lead to some kind of addiction although not necessarily substance addiction. If you suffer a phobia attack then perhaps your immediate response is to go for a walk where you will have time to think by yourself. You are just as likely to rely on a non-health threatening addiction as you are to rely on one such as substance abuse. Obviously any type of substance abuse needs to be addressed as soon as possible and thankfully there are many groups available for formal and informal help.

Many in the world of business will tell you they are addicted to making money, building businesses and making a name for themselves. How many of those, whether they suffer from phobias or not, could have seen this addictive personality take them down another path? If we put aside the health implications of an addiction to substance abuse it is easy to see how this could impact many other people.


When we see the term addiction we automatically think of substance abuse but this is not always the case. Obviously any kind of substance abuse should be addressed for both mental health and physical health reasons. However, if your reaction to a particular phobia or anxiety situation is to go for a walk, try harder with your business or some other form of non-health threatening addiction, is this so wrong? If we all think about it, we all have comfort blankets, situations or thoughts which put us at ease and it is vital that we use them in anxious situations. Again, not all addictions are life-threatening or dangerous and can sometimes serve as a useful means of combating phobia/anxiety episodes.

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