Living with an anxiety disorder can disrupt your life. However, when you combine drugs and alcohol with anxiety disorder, the symptoms of the disorder are worsened and create the added burden of an addiction. Treatment can help manage the anxiety disorder and give you the skills needed to handle your addiction while you maintain sobriety.
If you are suffering from anxiety disorder, there are anxiety and addiction treatment centers ready to help you now. Your anxiety disorder is an illness that may have led to your drug or alcohol addiction. If you are overwhelmed by thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that seem hurtful to both you and the people closest to you, treatment can help. Dual diagnosis treatment programs can address both your anxiety and addiction. Recovery Connection® can assist you in locating the right dual diagnosis program for your needs.
What is Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety, fear, and emotional discomfort are normal feelings in everyday life. However, when fearfulness and uncertainty take control of you and limit your ability to live a normal life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 40 million Americans 18 years of age and older, are affected by anxiety disorder. Once the normal range of anxiety and fear has been replaced with ongoing, unrelenting fear, uncertainty, and intense worry, you have developed an anxiety disorder.
Examples of anxiety disorders are:
- Panic disorder
- OCD disorder
- PTSD disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Specific phobias
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Social anxiety and social phobia seem to plague people who are dually diagnosed. This disorder makes it difficult for a person to feel comfortable in everyday social situations. Excessive worry consumes the person suffering from social anxiety, whether it is about upcoming social events or his or her behavior at an event that has just occurred. Sadly, he or she will worry before, during, and after an event.
The reasons for developing an anxiety disorder cannot be attributed to one experience or problem. They tend to combine brain changes with environmental and psychosocial stress.
Social phobia makes it difficult for people to be outside amongst other people. They can manage themselves outdoors as long as they are alone or with another individual they are close to. For those suffering from social phobia, entering large groups will generally bring on anxiety or even a full-blown panic attack. They believe that everyone is watching and/or judging their behavior.
People suffering from generalized anxiety disorder move through their days filled with worry and tension. There is an anticipatory anxiety even when there is no obvious reason for concern. The worry is not specific to any one event or issue. Also, they can suffer from:
- Muscle aches
People with an anxiety disorder can worry excessively about health, money, family issues or work. If you think you might suffer from generalized anxiety, there is a screening test that you can take. Follow the link below to access the test.
Anxiety disorders can be debilitating. But, adding drug addiction or alcoholism to the problem only makes life more chaotic. A comprehensive, dual diagnosis treatment program can put your life back in order. Call 866-812-8231 and speak with a Recovery Connection coordinator. The staff can help you find the best anxiety and substance abuse program for your needs.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
All disorders generate some common symptoms such as excessive irrational fear and dread. The reasons for developing an anxiety disorder cannot be attributed to one experience or problem. They tend to combine brain changes with environmental and psychosocial stress. Research does indicate a powerful genetic component as well. Unfortunately, anxiety disorders left undiagnosed and untreated can create further brain changes in the sufferer.
The symptoms listed below are not necessarily experienced by everyone who has some type of anxiety disorder. These are the most common symptoms felt by those suffering from a variety of anxiety disorders:
- Uneasiness in sleep
- Shortness of breath
- Upset stomach
- Unrealistic fears
- Dry mouth
- Ritualistic ways of dealing with feeling anxious
- Muscle aches
- Shaking or trembling
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Feelings of impending doom
Addiction and Anxiety Disorders
Unfortunately, many people suffering from an anxiety disorder will turn to drugs or alcohol or some other form of addictive behavior to ease their discomfort. This behavior, known as self-medicating, never resolves the underlying issues that lead to the onset of the anxiety disorder, whether it be a chemical imbalance or a psychological stressor. In many instances, addiction masks the symptoms of the real disorder. Also, using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate an anxiety disorder can lead to the symptoms of the mental illness worsening. Drugs or substances that induce anxiety are:
- Many prescription drugs
- Over the counter weight loss products
If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you should avoid consuming the items mentioned above. Speak with your physician before you ingest prescription drugs, or OTC medications, or illegal substances.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders and Addictions
When treating substance abuse and mental health disorders together, it is important that the treatment facility have staff and programs designed to address the needs of this demographic. Studies indicate that addiction needs to be controlled, and mental health issues, such as anxiety disorder, require simultaneous treatment for recovery to be possible. A comprehensive medical evaluation needs to be done on intake and then regular evaluations need to be done daily, especially in early recovery.
Medication management, anxiety disorder education, addiction education, relapse prevention, and group and individual therapy along with other therapeutic modalities can help establish a healthy approach to living without addiction while managing the mental health disorder.
Looking For Treatment?
Addiction and Anxiety Disorder can make life feel overwhelming. Addiction complicates the already difficult daily reality. Recovery Connection can help you find a dual diagnosis treatment program with certified addiction physicians and therapists. Call 866-812-8231 and stop the madness. All calls are confidential and our helpline is open 24/7.