Stress Awareness Month

Anxiety and Substance Abuse

Finding the Way Through Your Anxiety-Related Substance Abuse

A question people sometimes have for us is whether Windward Way is qualified in providing help for addiction along with anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Unquestionably yes—we know that some men and women who enroll in our addiction treatment program have been diagnosed with co-occurring anxiety disorders (also called dual diagnoses). Windward Way’s clinical partnerships will be able to address an addiction treatment for anxiety patients.

If you persistently worry about everyday events and fear seems to rule your life, it’s possible that there may be a diagnosable condition of anxiety along with your addiction to alcohol and/or psychoactive drugs. Windward Way can provide effective anxiety therapy by way of our treatment modalities we use for men and women with this disorder. If you or someone you love wants to get help for substance abuse, and needs a rehab center for patients with anxiety—call us this instant. We can help build an individualized plan to help you address your issues on both fronts: (855) 491-7694.

A New Life at Windward Way

Windward Way intentionally sets the bar high for its employees to provide the best amenities available for the men and women we serve. As an addiction treatment provider for clients with co-occurring anxiety disorders, Windward Way has the drug and alcohol rehab programs you need to tackle your issues head on. Find out now how we can be just the new beginning you’re seeking for yourself or for someone you love: (855) 491-7694.

Information about Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions. Just in the United States, approximately 18% of adults are likely to experience some form of anxiety.

But, here’s the real challenge: although anxiety disorders are highly treatable, just one-third of patients with this medical condition ever receive specialized treatment. The vast majority of people prefer to look for relief on their own, numbing their excessive fear and stress with alcohol, nicotine, medication or even illegal drugs. Reports estimate that about 20% of the people with anxiety disorder also suffer from a type of addiction

What Is Anxiety Disorder

A lot of people experience anxiety before a stressful event, such as an exam, a job interview, an important meeting, and so on. But, while most people manage to control their emotions and then go about their day after the crisis has passed, those with clinical anxiety disorder can’t stop the effects of their condition interfering with their personal and professional life.

Anxiety disorders have numerous faces, from the perpetual feeling of dread to debilitating fear.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) suffer from a perpetual sense of fear. They are unable to pinpoint the issue that is causing the excessive feeling of concern and, more often than not, these fears have no basis in reality.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: People with this condition have an unfounded fear of social interactions. Studies show that 15 million American adults dread taking part in social events, interacting with people they don’t know, speaking in front of an audience, or even being in crowded places.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This type of anxiety disorder develops after a person experiences a traumatic event, such as military combat or being the victim of a crime or sexual assault. People with PTSD manifest symptoms such as depression, insomnia, paranoia or anger.

What Does Self-Medication Look Like?

Unaware that their anxiety disorder requires specialized treatment, a lot of people turn to alcohol or self-medication to cope with their exacerbated emotions. It seems like an innocent gesture at first. A few drinks and a few benzodiazepines can help soothes your excruciating stress and fear and allow you to function as a normal human being.

But, as these tendencies become a habit, the brain becomes accustomed to receiving drugs or alcohol to achieve a calm state. As more and more receptors develop in the brain, you develop tolerances and need to increase dosage to be able to alleviate your anxiety. This is the formation co-occurring anxiety issues with substance abuse.

What Are the Risks of Drug Abuse?

More often than not, self-medication worsens the problem instead of fixing it. The more substances you use, the greater the need to alter your state to cope with the effects of your disorder. That usually leads to a vicious cycle of drug abuse that will exacerbate your symptoms when you are not using.

Some of the most common health effects of drug abuse include:

  • Cardiovascular conditions, from abnormal heart rates to heart attacks
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Liver failure
  • Seizures
  • A weakened immune system
  • Muscle spasms

Behavioral problems may include:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • The inability to control oneself

How Are Co-Occurring Anxiety Issues Treated?

The path to rehabilitation, especially after the patient has developed an addiction, is strenuous and painful. Anxiety disorder with addiction requires a combination of therapy and medication to help the individual develop the right strategies to cope with their excessive fears and function normally.

Integrated treatments are rehabilitation programs that offer medical and therapeutic services necessary for patients to heal physically, mentally and emotionally, and are unique for each patient. Typically, these integrated treatment plans include:

  • Detox
  • Evaluation
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment plan
  • Personal therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Aftercare plan
  • Aftercare support

You Can Put an End to Your Anxiety

Worrying constantly and feeling debilitating fear whenever you have to interact with someone aren’t just personality traits that make you quirky. They are the triggering signs of a serious mental health condition that requires the help of specialized professionals.

Rather than reaching out to alcohol or self-medication, enroll in a recovery program that can help you manage your anxiety through therapeutic interventions and anti-anxiety medication.