Understanding How Phobias Can Coincide with Addiction

There are many phobias out there; perhaps you have one. Are you afraid of spiders? Maybe you are afraid of large groups of people. Almost everyone has the fear of speaking in front of large groups of people. Most people handle these fears without much of a problem. It can be frightening for a brief time, but it doesn’t consume their life. Can you imagine how it would be if your phobia made it impossible to live your life normally on a day to day basis?

Imagine the fear of people, or Anthropophobia. If you had this fear, you might never be able to leave your home. Going to the store would be a nightmare. Just walking down the street would be so frightening to you that a panic attack might set in. This type of phobia prevents someone from living a normal life. Depression often sets in. Depression can lead to taking drugs or alcohol to get just a brief time of relief from the phobia. The period of time between needing a break from this debilitating phobia becomes less and less, so more substances are used to give that much needed break. Soon the phobia has now morphed into an addiction problem as well.

Even a less consuming phobia, such as speaking in public, can become linked to an addiction. Take a comedienne for example. Just before going on stage, the comedienne drinks a shot or two of whiskey to settle those nerves. Over time, more and more shots are needed to achieve the same effect. There are even performers who bring alcohol on stage with them and drink during the performance.

It is easy to see how having a phobia that affects your quality of life can lead to an addiction problem as well. See a therapist to address the phobia as soon as it is first realized to best be able to fight it and recover.


N.A. “Anxiety.” Vanessaeford.com (Website). (2015).
  • 14 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Interesting. I wrote a book about the fear of flying and I found out
    that medicating yourself through bouts of aviophobia might actually be
    detrimental and counterproductive. Pharmacological treatments often use
    anti-anxiety drugs like Benzodiazepines to inhibit your stress hormones
    while flying. This will obviously do nothing to gradually acclimate and
    familiarize you with your fear and just provides a stopgap solution.
  • There are so many things I am afraid of. I feel really anxious when I'm in public places. I sometimes feel like there's someone who's staring at me which often caused me to have panic attacks. I've also been afraid of the dark ever since I've watched the movie "When Darkness Falls" when I was a kid. That's why I always sleep with the lights on. I'm also afraid of heights.

    Yes, it's really difficult to live with these phobias and until now, I don't know how to overcome these things.

  • I'm not sure about this since I'm not a doctor, but I've been diagnosed with agoraphobia since I sobered up. It seems like my addiction is what led me to being diagnosed.
  • I think a lot of people will have some sort of phobeia but just try to avoid that certain situation. When it starts affect your everyday life then that's when the main problems can start.
  • I've OCD, I suffered from Agoraphobia for nearly one year, it was when my OCD was at its worst.  I didn't go out at all, my germ anxiety made me freak out every time I'd come in contact with any kind of liquid substance or when I had to touch an object or surface. 

    I'm still dealing with my OCD, but now is under control.  I still have severe moments of anxiety from time to time, but nothing like before.

    I've read quite a bit posts over here, and yes, I'm surprised to see I'm not the only (former) addict who suffers from OCD!  I really think there is a link between those two! Can't be a coincidence, after all to me an addiction is also a compulsive action.

  • I'm not an alcoholic or addicted to drugs, but I am a food addict, and I am addicted to cigarettes. I also suffer from debilitating phobias and anxiety. I feel the "need" to eat, even when I'm not hungry..if I don't have any food in my mouth, I have a cigarette in my mouth. Quite the vicious cycle indeed. I have never thought of cigarettes and/or food as an addiction until quite recently actually. I guess I may be trying to substitute the things that I can not do, with the things that I can..which is the eating and smoking. 
  • I've often found that people who have anxiety issues don't just have the one problem, but are anxious about quite a few different things, and it seems that they manage to get one aspect of their anxiety under control, only for it to be replaced by another one.

    People who don't suffer with anxiety will never understand just how much of a struggle living day to day can be and its often just swept under the carpet and not treated as importantly as it should be.
  • Absolutely, phobias can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, so for a lot of people the only way to "cure" those feelings are drugs, just forgetting about that constant issue I guess that it must be relieved but obviously it's really dangerous, this people needs to using the money that they are spending on drugs in therapy, it can be really helpful to know how to deal with anxiety and stress.
  • This is a very good topic and nice to see it brought up. There are so many layers to addiction and people can rarely see phobia as a direct cause or as something that just makes addiction even deeper. I was in a very weird position, and I wouldn't call it a phobia, but I had this unreasonable fear of being alone and I saw alcohol as a way to get closer to people. Like, everyone will like me better when I'm drunk, right? Well, no. I wasn't a very "fun" drunk, as a matter of fact I was a rather mean one and therefore less and less people wanted to hang out with me which lead to me sitting at home and drinking my pain away. Fear and addiction don't go well together. 
  • Mine hit's me in a similar way to a person with bipolar going through a manic episode....extra energy, talkative, low impulse control, high drama, hysteria, LOL>....it's serious but funny too. I can make a big azz deal out of the smallest thing....like seeing an ex dealer in traffic, I will ramble on for hours about it and have thoughts of using, like really hard to control thoughts. It just gets blown out of proportion. 
  • I feel like the focus on my anxiety is dynamically shifting towards whatever would typically inconvenience me or my future, and that's disappointing. Any time I want to follow through with a prospect, there's always that manifesting doubt, the anxiety that comes with it. Makes daily life a struggle, and it makes me feel horrible and weak that I'm unable to deal with things other people just seem to breeze through.
  • Some people resort to drugs to escape from their phobias - a mindset which has to change. Escapism is not a way out. It only aggravates the pain and misery. Facing what lies ahead head on is  a more apt solution. In addition, people should focus on overcoming their phobias instead of running away from them.
  • @xTinx - As an escapist, I would like to clarify that facing what lies ahead is a lot more painful and usually doesn't feel like a solution. At least, anxiety wise. Phobias? Yeah, sure. But I don't think phobias coincide with phobias too much.
  • I used to be one of those people that never understood anxiety and how serious it is. Then one day, I woke up and I just could not control my thoughts to any extent and was thrown into what you would call a panic attack. It didn't stop there, I had several more panic attacks through the next week and I always felt anxious no matter what I did. My wife helped me out a lot just by being there to comfort me and to rub my back. It might sound weird but I actually felt like I had a phobia of death, or a phobia of pain. I was literally not comfortable for 8 to 10 days.
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