Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. As much as 18 percent of US adults experience some form of anxiety. However, if you or a loved one suffers from an anxiety disorder, you know how it can take control of and interfere with everyday life.
There are six major types of anxiety disorders:
It is possible for someone to have multiple anxiety disorders at once. The only way to know for certain is to be evaluated by a licensed professional.
Unfortunately, many people turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the symptoms and end up suffering from anxiety and addiction.
Those with anxiety are twice as likely to also suffer from a substance use disorder than the general population, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drugs and alcohol can worsen the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety, often resulting in a cycle of dependence and addiction.
The symptoms of anxiety can differ from person to person based on their lifestyle and the amount of stress that are enduring. However, there are many common symptoms of anxiety.
The most common symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks include:
People who have anxiety disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol as self-treatment to cope and soothe themselves. Substance abuse becomes a perceived escape, which can lead to addiction, and ultimately, a dual diagnosis.
When interacting with someone with an addiction and anxiety disorder, keep a few things in mind:
Approach with an empathetic and nonjudgmental attitude. Rather than focusing on the negative effects addiction and anxiety can take on a person’s relationships and work, turn their attention toward all the benefits that come with recovery and healing.
Don’t be surprised by an attitude of denial or defensiveness. These are both common symptoms of addiction, and anxiety disorders can sometimes result in paranoid thinking as well. An intervention may be warranted if multiple close friends or family members can be included.
Anxiety and addiction should be considered different types of mental illness. They should both, therefore, be treated by qualified therapeutic professionals.
Be ready to offer help on top of emotional support. You should be prepared to provide practical help for your loved one which may include going with them to a 12-Step meeting, transporting them to or from a therapist’s office, or making arrangements to begin their detox process.
Thankfully, anxiety is treatable through a combination of therapy, behavior modification strategies, and anti-anxiety medication.
One of the most effective therapeutic treatment modalities for anxiety and any related addiction is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT.
CBT focuses on identifying self-defeating thought patterns that make a person anxious and fearful and making appropriate modifications. Those with anxiety and substance use disorders can utilize CBT to build new coping strategies to use while in recovery and when faced with stressful situations.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (or SSRIs) are often prescribed to treat symptoms of anxiety and improve patients’ quality of life. These drugs, which include citalopram (Celexa) and sertraline (Zoloft), are considered safe and effective with a low potential for abuse.
These medications work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain, driving down negative thoughts and worries connected to anxiety.
If you or a loved one have turned to drugs to deal with anxiety and are now addicted, The Raleigh House can help you. We offer a dual diagnosis rehab program where clients experience their emotions in a safe container while learning healthy coping skills to increase stress tolerance for improved mood regulation.
The Raleigh House helps clients achieve a higher level of adaptive functioning and works to prevent substance abuse relapse.
Features of our drug treatment program include:
Anxiety and addiction often co-exist alongside each other, but still they can be difficult to understand if you or your loved one is dealing with them without professional help. To learn more about the different types of anxiety disorders and the importance of selecting a residential treatment center that can accommodate co-occurring conditions, visit our blog post on the topic.
If you or a loved one are suffering from anxiety and drug abuse, call The Raleigh House today at 720-891-4657 or contact us online to learn how our dual diagnosis residential rehab center can help you or someone you love get better.