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Anxiety and Addiction

It’s natural to feel anxious about starting a new job, taking a test, or moving to a new place. These anxiety feelings are unpleasant, but it can also motivate you to work harder and accomplish more. Continuous anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes without interfering with everyday life. But people living with anxiety disorder usually experience fear that frequently follows them, becoming intensified and sometimes debilitating.

An anxiety disorder may cause people to stop doing the things they once enjoyed. It may prevent them from crossing the street, entering an elevator, or only leaving your home in emergencies. If an anxiety disorder is left untreated, it will only continue to get worse.

Treating co-occurring disorders like anxiety and addiction simultaneously is the only way to recover from both fully. It starts with identifying the signs and symptoms of anxiety and addiction, wanting to get help, and the different types of addiction therapy.

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders are a prevalent form of an emotional condition that can affect anyone at any age. Research has stated that women are more likely than men to be living with anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a natural stress response when the body feels fear or apprehension about what’s to come. Examples are the first day of school, a job interview, or giving a speech that may cause most people to be anxious. But if your anxiety feelings are extreme, go on for longer than six months, and interfere with daily life, you might be living with anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders can occur from social anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, which all have similar fear symptoms, but each coming from different causes. Those who have an anxiety disorder are at a higher risk of suffering from substance abuse and addiction. They’ll find themselves abusing drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms of anxiety and addiction. However, substance abuse only makes the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety more heightened, leading to dependence.

Family Therapy for Substance Abuse

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety can manifest in various ways, from a consistent feeling of dread to intense, paralyzing fear. Different kinds of anxiety disorders will require dual diagnosis therapy. Anxiety disorders become broken down into several categories and conditions, with each disease categorized by its symptoms.

Commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders and their symptoms include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): GAD causes long-lasting symptoms like constant worrying and feeling extremely tense for no apparent reason.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): OCD causes recurring thoughts or repetitive behaviors. People with OCD will perform monotonous rituals like cleaning, counting, or regularly washing hands to temporarily relieve their obsessions and compulsions.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD develops after exposure to a traumatic event that might involve extreme physical harm threats. Being exposed to events like a natural disaster, violence, car accidents, or war can cause PTSD.
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD): SAD is a social phobia defined by extreme self-consciousness and anxiety in everyday social circumstances.
  • Panic disorder: Panic disorders are identified by persistent feelings of intense fear coupled with physical symptoms like heavy breathing, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

To be clinically diagnosed with anxiety disorder, symptoms must be felt four or more days each week for at least six months. With the right treatment program and therapy, recovery is possible from anxiety and addiction.

Signs of an anxiety disorder may include:

  • Overwhelming fear that occurs most days every week and continues for six months or longer
  • Decline in social activities, quality of job performance, relationships, or everyday life because of fear
  • Constant attempts to solve but be unsuccessful in calming the concerns of anxiety and fear
  • Abusing drugs and alcohol, tobacco, overeating, or other behavior changes to control anxiety symptoms

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:

  • Chest pain
  • Choking sensation
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating profusely
  • Trembling

Origins of Anxiety Disorder

Research shows that biological, physiological, and environmental factors will contribute to a greater probability of anxiety disorder development. Genetic reasons cause most people with an anxiety disorder to react differently to stress than others.

Studies have shown that the brain section that processes fears in people with an anxiety disorder has a high sensitivity to stress caused by unfamiliar places and circumstances. These brain chemicals are called neurotransmitters, and they also play a vital role in anxiety disorders. In particular, serotonin and cortisol are also attached to feelings of depression and anxiety.

Family history and genetics are also significant risk factors for causing anxiety. About 50% of those with panic disorders and 40% of those with generalized anxiety disorder have a family history of the diseases.

Some mental health disorders that can contribute to anxiety disorder include:

  •  often cause people to feel anxiety symptoms.
  • Bipolar disorder causes somebody to feel symptoms of panic disorder, which worsens their bipolar disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders and anxiety are positively associated with each other.
  • Risk factors of anxiety and addiction.

Studies show that anxiety and addiction often entwine. Some other risk factors for anxiety and addiction may include age and gender. Rates of women who suffer from anxiety and addiction are twice as high as they are for men.

Anxiety and Addiction

The coexistence of addiction and anxiety or other mental disorders is a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

A few different reasons why anxiety and addiction generally co-occur include:

  • Self-managing symptoms: People start turning to substances to control their psychological or physical symptoms.
  • Biochemical factors: Anxiety and substance use disorder are both linked to chemical imbalances in the brain.
  • Genetic predisposition: Studies showed that anxiety and addiction both have genetic components of family history where both conditions are prevailing.
  • Anxiety and addiction withdrawal symptoms: Once the addiction withdrawal process starts, the person suffering will experience anxiousness, restlessness, and insomnia while the brain attempts to regain its chemical balance.

Treating Anxiety and Addiction

It’s crucial to manage both the anxiety and addiction simultaneously with a dual diagnosis from a treatment center specialized in treating co-occurring disorders. Living with anxiety and addiction increases the severity of the substance use disorder, which further increases the rate of relapse.

Anxiety and addiction decrease the rate of recovery while also raising suicide risks for patients with panic disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment specialists will keep all of those factors in mind while developing a customized treatment plan. Their most commonly used treatment options for healing anxiety disorders are medication and therapy.

Medications for anxiety disorders include:

  • Tricyclics: Antidepressants like tricyclics don’t always help with anxiety and come with significant risks.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI): These medications affect the brain’s ability to relieve anxiety symptoms.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI): These medications are useful, but they can negatively interact with other drugs.
  • Anti-anxiety drugs: Benzodiazepines like Xanax will work quickly and cause extreme drowsiness. They can also be extremely addictive once they’re abused.
  • Beta-blockers: Medications like Inderal are mostly used to treat heart problems but only have a small success rate in treating anxiety.

Anxiety and addiction can be treated successfully using anti-anxiety medications, therapy, and behavioral modification approaches. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for both anxiety and addiction. People in a dual diagnosis program will use CBT to learn new coping strategies to guide them through the recovery and cope with high-stress situations that cause triggers. CBT can also be applied in individual and group therapy sessions.

Patients in a dual diagnosis program require specialized treatment that addresses both issues simultaneously. The recovery program for co-occurring anxiety and addiction disorder will include numerous levels of care.

Treatment starts with detox and is followed by an inpatient drug rehab program, followed by aftercare. 12-step programs and family therapy are also parts of the treatment process. These help to strengthen the patient’s support system and rewire them to discover their sense of self-worth.

People suffering from anxiety and addiction will require professional dual diagnosis treatment to recover fully. Our healthcare facilities here at CNV Detox have a high success rate of treating co-occurring disorders like anxiety and addiction.

CNV Detox Center Can Help People Living with Anxiety and Addiction

Here at CNV Detox, our healthcare professionals can help reduce anxiety and addiction symptoms and help our patients fully recover, whether through therapy, medication, or both.

An inpatient treatment program might be recommended depending on the length and severity of the anxiety and addiction. Regardless of the treatment method, CNV Detox will help each patient determine the best treatment program, allowing them to recover and live a sober lifestyle.

If you or a loved one is living with anxiety and addiction, don’t hesitate any longer. Allow our team at CNV Detox to explain all available options. We understand how difficult dealing with anxiety and addiction can be, and our therapeutic approach is to treat everyone like a person and not just a patient.

Take the Next Step

The path to recovery is only one step away. Begin your treatment at CNV Detox in Los Angeles, California as soon as the same day. For your convenience, we work 24/7. Our team is ready to help as soon as you reach out.