Anxiety is your mind’s and body’s natural reaction to dangerous and stressful situations. But when you have an anxiety disorder, your mind and body don’t calm down after the danger or stress is gone. Anxiety disorders can also make you feel like many aspects of your life are a threat to your wellbeing even when they aren’t. When you’re living with an anxiety disorder, you might feel constantly stressed out, threatened, and surrounded by danger. At times, you may feel isolated and alone, but anxiety-based conditions are more common than you might think.
In fact, anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health challenges. More than 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety-based condition. When you have that type of disorder, you might feel tempted to do anything to help ease the emotional, physical, and psychological strain that anxiety causes. A lot of people try to relieve anxious feelings with substances like drugs or alcohol. But using drugs and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol don’t make anxiety go away. Usually, the opposite is true. Hangovers, drug comedowns, and withdrawal symptoms can feed your anxiety, making it worse. Luckily, leading drug rehab centers like Genesis Recovery can help treat anxiety and substance use disorders.
Common Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can be completely debilitating. You may even structure your life in a way that allows you to avoid situations that may make your anxiety worse. You might skip school, quit a job, or abandon relationships. The most common anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can cause you to excessively worry about things like money, health, family, chores, repairs, appointments, or work. In addition to constantly worrying, you may feel restless, fatigued, and have trouble concentrating. You might also have significant tension in your muscles which can make it hard for you to sleep well.
- Panic Disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks. During a panic attack, you might also experience symptoms like a rapid heart rate, chest pain, chills, hot flashes, shortness of breath, sweating, and trembling or shaking. If you’re living with a severe panic disorder, you might feel like you’re choking and may even think that you’re dying during a panic attack.
- Phobia Related Disorders are anxiety-based conditions that cause excessive and constant fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. If you have a phobia disorder, you probably know that your fear is excessive and sometimes unwarranted, but you may not know how to overcome the apprehension you feel.
- Social Anxiety Disorder is also known as social phobia. If you have this type of anxiety disorder, you may feel anxious about being embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected in social settings. Examples of social anxiety disorder can include a deeply rooted fear of public speaking, meeting new people, or eating and drinking in public.
When left untreated, anxiety disorders can make you feel like you’re losing control of your life. As your ability to control your thoughts and anxiety lessens, you might feel depressed, paranoid, and hopeless. In a desperate attempt to feel some sense of normalcy, you might try to self-medicate your feelings with drugs or alcohol.
How Are Anxiety Disorders & Substance Abuse Connected?
Anxiety disorders and substance use disorders are often intertwined with each other. In fact, the symptoms of one disorder can make the symptoms of the other disorder worse.
Leading research indicates that 43% of people receiving treatment for a substance use disorder also have a diagnosis or symptoms of a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety. Some experts believe that anxiety may even trigger substance use disorders. We do know that substance use disorders and mental health illnesses have similar risk factors. In fact, both conditions can be caused by:
- Genetic vulnerability, or an increased likelihood of developing a disorder based on your genetic makeup
- Issues in the areas of the brain that deal with reward, decision making, impulse control, emotions, and neurotransmitter imbalances
- Environmental influences such as early exposure to stress, trauma, or abuse
It’s also true that substance use can change the way your brain functions. When that happens, you may become more vulnerable to anxiety.
If you struggle with both substance use and anxiety disorders, experts call that co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis, or comorbidity. These are medical terms that refer to the presence of two chronic conditions at the same time. Comorbidity can be extremely overwhelming, but dual diagnosis treatment programs can help treat both conditions as you work to regain control of your life.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs
Dual diagnosis programs blend the most effective aspects of mental health care and substance abuse treatment. Instead of addressing each disorder separately, a dual diagnosis program will treat your anxiety disorder and substance use challenges at the same time. Some of the benefits of dual diagnosis treatment, such as the program we offer at Genesis Recovery, include:
- A better understanding of your specific health conditions and their triggers
- A supportive approach to therapy that reinforces your self-esteem and confidence
- Inclusive treatment that encourages your spouse, children, and other family members to join you in therapy for individual counseling, group meetings, and educational sessions
- Psychotherapeutic medications such as anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications as needed
- Learning coping strategies that help ease anxiety and aid in successfully overcoming drug and alcohol cravings
Let Us Help Discover a Healthier, Stronger You
Here at Genesis Recovery, we believe in the idea of beginning again. Our dual diagnosis program emphasizes treatment for your mind, spirit, and body. We also provide ongoing support after you graduate from one of our recovery programs. Our mission is to help you restore all aspects of your life that have been affected by addiction or mental health challenges. Our clinical 12-step based program will help you build a community that will be there for you on every step you take toward long-term recovery and sobriety.
Call us today at 619-797-7319 if you or a loved one are dealing with an anxiety or substance use disorder. We’re ready, willing, and available to help you uncover a healthier, stronger you.