Anxiety is one of the most common disorders in America. In fact, anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million people in the United States every year. Given the fact that so many people suffer from anxiety disorders, professional and medical resources have become more accessible for those who need help working through the effects of anxiety. Still, many of the people who suffer from these disorders remain untreated by professionals.
Not only are there countless individuals who have yet to receive treatment for anxiety disorders, but there are also many people who have resorted to various methods of self-medicating. Unfortunately, many of these methods involve the use of medications, illicit drugs, and alcohol.
As a result of these attempts to treat anxiety without help from medical professionals, many people have developed substance dependence problems and substance use disorders (SUDs). In many cases, these drug and alcohol use problems gradually turn into intense addictions. As a result, people who were once dealing with a treatable anxiety disorder find themselves also suffering from an uncontrollable substance use problem.
The good news is that, although people who have addiction problems struggle to control their substance use, they can overcome addiction and find their way to recovery. But, the best way to do this is to reach out for help from a professional treatment facility that will address both the anxiety disorder and the addiction problem in the individual’s life. Getting treatment for anxiety disorders and substance abuse can prove to be the most important and helpful choice for those who are suffering.
About Anxiety Disorders and Their Effects
What exactly is anxiety? Well, a general definition of anxiety would describe it as a feeling of nervousness or emotional discomfort. Everyone experiences it at some point in life. It’s one of the body’s natural reactions to certain situations. Many individuals feel anxious before they do something that is challenging or new. Some people experience anxiety while doing things like taking tests, learning to drive, meeting someone new, and so forth.
But, it’s important to understand that there’s a major difference between anxiety and anxiety disorders. While many people experience nervousness here and there, some 40 million citizens of the United States experience these feelings excessively and frequently. They suffer from what we call “anxiety disorders”, which are characterized by intense and nearly constant dread, worry, fear, and concern.
There are many different types of anxiety disorders. Some individuals suffer from anxiety related to a specific phobia. But, others struggle with anxious feelings without having a specific cause or source of that anxiety.
Discussing Types of Anxiety Disorder
Again, there are various types of anxiety disorders that affect people every year. Each one is characterized by specific symptoms.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This type of anxiety disorder is commonly known as GAD. Individuals who suffer from GAD often feel anxious and experience a sense of dread even when there is no apparent cause for worry. Sometimes, individuals will worry about various things at once or shift their concerns from one situation to the next.
GAD causes people to have an exaggerated sense of worry, fearing the worst in most or all situations even if there is no threat present. They may feel that these anxious feelings are normal or natural without realizing just how much this constant anxiety is affecting their lives.
Panic Disorder: People who suffer from panic disorder experience moments of debilitating and overwhelming fear. These episodes are known as “panic attacks” and they can be extremely serious for those who experience them. Panic attacks usually occur without warning and may last for about 10 minutes.
During a panic attack, people may experience feelings of terror, chest pain, heart palpitations, vomiting, nausea, and dizziness. Shortness of breath and stomach pain may also occur. Sometimes, individuals may fear that they are dying while going through an attack.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Usually referred to as OCD, this anxiety disorder causes individuals to experience recurring and unwanted thoughts, fears, concerns, and behaviors. Those who suffer from OCD struggle to control their obsessions; it can be very hard for them to avoid the behaviors and thoughts caused by obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Symptoms of OCD include various compulsions and/or obsessions. Each individual is different, so the fears, thoughts, and behaviors will vary from case to case. But, many people who have OCD have fears of getting sick or injured, losing a loved one, or misplacing something important. Some individuals obsess over order, feeling the need to keep everything around them organized a certain way. Many individuals suffer from uncontrollable, unwanted, and unpleasant thoughts.
As a result of specific obsessions, many people who have OCD may deal with various compulsions, including excessive hand-washing, constant organization and checking, unnecessary or excessive cleaning, and much more.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Those who suffer from this kind of anxiety disorder have an extreme fear of social situations. Social anxiety disorder, or SAD, may cause people to have an abnormal amount of fear when meeting someone new or spending time around unfamiliar people. Things such as speaking in public or traveling on a crowded train can cause them to become very uncomfortable. Social anxiety often causes people to become afraid that, while in social settings, they will embarrass themselves or somehow be humiliated.
Phobia-Related Anxiety: Those who suffer from social anxiety disorder suffer from a type of phobia-related anxiety. There are more phobias which can cause people to have debilitating anxiety. Phobias are extreme fears and they impact many people throughout the world. Phobias can range from an abnormal fear of certain animals to an intense fear of specific situations. Common phobias include the following:
- Acrophobia – fear of heights
- Ophidiophobia – fear of snakes
- Claustrophobia – fear of being in tight or small spaces
- Aviophobia – fear of flying
- Nyctophobia – fear of nighttime or darkness
Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse
Unfortunately, many people are unsure of how to deal with the effects of anxiety disorder in a healthy way. It can be difficult to know how to best manage the symptoms they are facing. Also, the symptoms of anxiety often prevent people from leading normal lives and, as a result, can cause people to become very isolated and distant from others.
This can lead individuals to seek relief from medically prescribed drugs. Using these substances may prove to be helpful for a time but, after a while, individuals may become dependent on these drugs. As a result, people may begin to abuse their medications, using them outside of the recommended use. Some individuals turn to alcohol or illicit drugs in search of relief. And, those who do so may also become dependent on these substances.
After a person abuses alcohol or drugs for a while, he or she may become addicted to their substance of choice. Addiction can worsen the effects of anxiety in a person’s life. So, it’s important for individuals who suffer from these co-occurring problems to get treatment for anxiety disorders and addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment programs can help people to find true freedom and peace.
Our Anxiety Treatment Center in Orange County
Here at Northbound Treatment Services, we offer dual diagnosis treatment for those who are suffering from co-occurring disorders. If you need treatment for anxiety disorders and substance abuse, please contact us today to learn more about how we can help. Just call (855) 858-6803 to begin your recovery.