Substance/ Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder in Teens

Teens with social anxiety disorder (SAD) / social phobia have an excessive and persistent fear of social performance in social situations such as school, parties, athletic activities, and more. They are extremely anxious about doing something embarrassing in front of others, or that others will think badly of them. These teens constantly feel “on stage,” which can lead to a great deal of self-consciousness, distress, and avoidance. Some teens are only afraid of speaking or performing in public, while others fear and avoid a wide range of social situations. Being a shy, quiet, or introverted teen is not the same as having social anxiety disorder.

Causes of substance-induced anxiety disorder in teens

The substance /medication-induced anxiety disorder is directly caused by the drug abuse or resultant withdrawal after stopping its use. Here are some substances, toxins, and medications that induce anxiety disorders:

Addictive substances: Alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, inhalants, nicotine, hallucinogens, opioids, phencyclidine (PCP) and sedatives.

Addictive medications: Analgesic, anesthetics, anticonvulsants, antihistamines, bronchodilators, cardiovascular medicines, epinephrine, corticosteroids, and insulin.

Toxins: Gasoline, nerve gases, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, organophosphate insecticides, and paint fumes.


There are many symptoms and behavioral patterns that are exhibited by teens with substance-induced anxiety disorder.

Behavioral and cognitive symptoms

  • Unexplainable negative change in general attitude and persona
  • Sudden change in friends and hang out venues
  • Lack of interest in outdoor activities and usually enjoyed social activities
  • Nervousness, moodiness, and irritable behavior
  • Lack of motivation and negative attitude
  • Loss of concentration
  • Loss of interest in family and family events
  • Aggressiveness and suicidal tendencies
  • Paranoia, hallucination, and confusion
  • Continuous requests for money, sometimes resorting to stealing out of desperation
  • Taking unwarranted risks while driving, sexual activities, and other illegal activities

Physical symptoms

  • Fluctuating appetite and unexplained weight loss
  • Puffy face, runny nose, and excessive sweating
  • Abdominal pain, irregular heartbeats, labored breathing, and chest pain
  • Pupils larger than normal, watery eyes, and unfocused gaze
  • Leg swelling, headaches, and incoherent speech

Treatment of substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder

Treatment for substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder may take its form through psychological therapy sessions, medication regimens, as well as meditation and yoga exercises. All of these modalities are covered by most healthcare coverage.

Therapy: Therapy for substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder is conducted both individually and in groups. Often group therapy is more beneficial due to the learning that inevitably takes places between peers. Every individual learns from others in the group.

Meditation & Yoga Exercises: Meditation and yoga exercises provide anxiety relief and strengthen a teen’s resolve to abstain from the substance use and abuse.

Rehabilitation tips

  • Supportive peer groups
  • Support groups for addiction
  • Self management such as hobbies and physical exercise to manage stress and distract from addiction.
  • Healthy daily routine including good sleep (7-9 hours daily), physical exercise and balanced, nutritious diet without caffeine.

Treatment at Hillcrest

Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center (Hillcrest) is uniquely situated and designed to provide and nurture healing on all levels. As an elegant green rehabilitation oasis in the Agoura foothills, Hillcrest aims to cater to each client’s physical, emotional, mental, psychological and nutritional needs, specifically through individualized and diverse treatment plans. Hillcrest focuses on the key principles of mind-body health and provides wholesome healing in a mostly unplugged and small group environment.

Upon admission, each client is provided with the opportunity to undergo a series of professional evaluations in order to understand the root of the client’s struggle. Guided by dedicated doctoral-level practitioners, the best resources are then gathered to pave a clear treatment path for each client using bespoke, multi-disciplined therapeutic treatment plans. Hillcrest aims to provide the highest level of professional care and provide the client with an excellent, well-balanced and well-rounded experience while being treated at the facility, as well as the adequate tools to function independently and responsibly post treatment. At Hillcrest, you are your loved one are supported every step of the way on this journey to long-lasting and sustained healing.

Take The Next Steps

Get Help Today!