Anxiety Insights

Subtance-induced Anxiety Disorder

Substance or Medication-induced Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed when panic attacks or other anxiety symptoms are brought on by use of or withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs, taking medications or exposure to heavy metals or toxic substances.

Ironically, many of the substances that people use to “relax,” boost their social confidence or reduce inhibitions in social situations may be the very agents that cause this disorder. Instead of providing good feelings or relief, the substance use results in extreme anxiety and panic. Persons with this disorder often don’t realize it because they associate their substance use with feeling better, not worse.

In some cases, the onset of anxiety symptoms is immediate. For others, symptoms may develop within a month of intoxication or withdrawal.

Below are some of the substances that can lead to substance/medication-induced anxiety.


• Alcohol
• Caffeine
• Cannabis (marijuana)
• Cocaine (amphetamines)
• Hallucinogens
• Inhalants
• Nicotine
• Phencyclidine (PCP)
• Opioids
• Sedatives


• Analgesics
• Anesthetics
• Anticonvulsants
• Antidepressants
• Antihistamines
• Bronchodilators
• Cardiovascular meds
• Corticosteroids
• Epinephrine
• Insulin


• Carbon dioxide
• Carbon monoxide
• Gasoline
• Nerve gases
• Organophosphate insecticides
• Paint