Addiction and anxiety may seem to have nothing to do with each other until you realize they can occur together. A trend that Psychology Today noticed points out that either one can lead to the other. Findings show that anxiety occurs among persons with addiction more frequently than everyone else. Self-treatment for anxiety that starts with drugs and alcohol often provides a temporary sense of relief. However, long-term damage may occur to the body’s systems that can help relieve anxiety symptoms.
Learning How Anxiety Feels
Almost everyone expects to feel anxious from time to time when a physical threat to safety seems to arise. However, a similar reaction can occur from an imaginary threat as well. With the same response in both situations, anxiety becomes both a mental and a physical state that expects negative outcomes. Occasionally, undiagnosed anxiety complicates issues. Drugs that cause anxiety cause special concern.
Recognizing Anxiety Symptoms
While the body uses anxiety as a safety measure that alerts you to danger, the symptoms usually do not last for more than a short while. However, it can become a disorder when the worry about a situation lasts longer than it merits. Familiar symptoms of anxiety can interrupt your usual activity level and produce some discomfort.
- sleep issues
- muscle tension
- racing heart rate
- digestive issues
Understanding the Purpose of Anxiety
Your response to an unknown danger, whether real or not, lets you use nature’s alert system. Unfortunately, more than twice as many women as men have anxiety. Interestingly, studies show that it may occur among Americans more than other nationalities. The impact of drugs that cause anxiety contributes as well.
Over a lifetime, Americans tend to have about a 10 percent chance of having anxiety. However, people in China and Europe develop it at a rate of less than 6 percent. With the ability to get your attention and cause you to protect yourself, it can help improve your productivity.
Failing to Deal with Anxiety
The costs of not dealing with a condition that needs treatment can last a lifetime. For example, anxiety disorders occur most often in the 21-34 age group, leaving many years to suffer distress and discomfort.
An NIH report shows that undiagnosed anxiety can occur when caregivers do not recognize it. Unfortunately, primary care often undertreats it. As a result, researchers cite anxiety disorders as occurring more frequently than any other. The outcome produces a burden of illness that requires years of trying to find some relief while enduring hardship.
Substance use can provide rewarding effects that may become appealing. However, scientific evidence points to changes that addiction to alcohol, cocaine, inhalants, opioids, and nicotine create. For example, the brain’s pathways for reward involve dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Similarly, the executive functions that the brain performs become focused on the chosen substance. Fortunately, research shows that stopping use under treatment can reverse the changes.
Addiction to substances involves cravings that prevent control overuse, resulting in damaging outcomes. Social impact occurs, often disrupting relationships and routine activities. Even with evidence of the physical and mental harm that it causes, most people who develop an addiction to substances continue to use. In fact, the need for it often increases as the body adapts to it. Over time, the desire to achieve the pleasure it provides can become the dominant activity.
Recognizing Symptoms of Addiction
One of the easiest to recognize signs of addiction appears in the inability to control the use of alcohol or drugs. Sadly, wanting to cannot count in a contest against the powerful force of addiction. Substance users show many physical signs that include a range of actions and reactions.
- dilated pupils
- glazed eyes
- slurred speech
- rambling conversation
- slow movement with heroin
- jumpiness with cocaine
- inattention to diet
- reversal of sleep and wake pattern
Avoiding Unhelpful Substances
The complex link between anxiety and addiction poses difficult challenges; dealing with either requires the best of circumstances. Some substances that include medications can worsen the situation. A substance-induced anxiety disorder may occur when patients in treatment for mental disorders use.
When anxiety creates discomfort, it can make anyone seek relief. But, unfortunately, some choices only serve to intensify the distress. Experts in treating mental disorders recommend patients in treatment avoid substances that can produce unhelpful outcomes.
- prescription drugs
Finding Treatment for Complex Issues
Either anxiety or addiction deserves treatment on its own, but together they present difficult challenges. Complex issues on their own multiply in complexity when a dual diagnosis occurs. Fortunately, experts in the field know how to handle even the most complex set of circumstances. At Harmony Ridge, you can relax in a rustic, cabin-like setting while you focus on getting better.
Anxiety disorders treatment centers that treat only one problem cannot match the effectiveness of a program that provides a dual treatment. Likewise, a focus on mental illness or addiction misses the point when you need help to recover from anxiety as well as addiction. Substance-induced anxiety disorder creates more issues.
Harmony Ridge offers a complete range of therapy and treatment services that provide effective support during recovery. When you wonder what happens during therapy, it may mean that you want to find help. A path that removes you from your present situation may involve different therapy approaches.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Through mental distractions such as role-playing and journaling, CBT helps you learn how to avoid negative thoughts. In addition, the process lets you practice replacing disturbing thought patterns that produce a bad influence on your emotions and behavior. Identifying them creates an interesting challenge because many of them come automatically.
CBT provides productive results that help you cope with addiction and anxiety. The process intends to let you get a fresh viewpoint of your situation. Fortunately, the results of CBT can help relieve the burden you carry. Trained counselors ask questions that you can answer in therapy sessions.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Mindfulness helps you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings as you learn to cope with your issues. Proven effective for substance use disorders, anxiety, and many other areas, it resembles CBT in some ways. Your therapist may recommend it as a technique that lets you deal with issues on your own terms.
An emphasis on self-acceptance can help put you at ease as you seek positive change. DBT addresses anxiety issues by teaching you how to recognize and regulate your emotional intensity. Further, it helps you reduce it. Helpfully, the approach to therapy gives you techniques to manage the feelings that may seem overwhelming at times.
While group or individual therapy sessions often focus on talking or listening, your counselor may want you to write as well. The process of putting your thoughts on paper can produce an effect that boosts your mood. Similarly, writing can make you feel better about yourself.
You may find the experience surprising as it allows you to recall things you thought were forgotten. As you write, you can talk about anything. You may find that it lets you discover emotions that you did not recall. Many people in or out of therapy find it a valuable tool. Once they learn about it, they want to continue using it for the rest of their lives.
While you may not know the causes of your behavior, you may get a better understanding through experiential therapy. Based on experiences in your life, it lets you relive what happened in your past. The outcome of the therapy may let you find a way to forgive. If you can change your view of events by recreating them, it may help you resolve vexing issues. Something that happened many years ago may still influence you. However, you likely have no way to know about it. Visiting it again from a vantage point of age and maturity may help you put it to rest.
The American Psychological Association knows that it may seem strange to join a group of strangers to talk about your issues. However, research shows that talking and listening while others speak can help you view your situation differently. In addition, the experience lets you learn that other people have the same problems that bother you.
Group members usually feel reluctant to join in the discussions just as you may do at first. However, it becomes easier as you come to accept others as supporters and friends. Then, under the guidance of an experienced counselor, you can resolve issues that concern you.
In a private setting where you can speak confidentially to a counselor, you may get the comfort you require. At Harmony Ridge, we offer it as a proven technique for treating a dual diagnosis of addiction and anxiety. Our counselors encourage you to express your thoughts and emotions as you work together to achieve comfort and relief.
Finding Treatment for Dual Diagnosis
At Harmony Ridge, our range of therapies helps put every patient on the road to recovery. Our skilled and caring counselors use the most effective therapies to provide the customized guidance that ensures results. In our natural setting, you can enjoy outdoor therapy as a source of peace. Anxiety disorders treatment centers that focus only on anxiety do not offer our concept of excellence.
Through our music and art therapy programs, you can find release and enjoyment. You may enjoy our education and wellness workshops to improve your mind and body. Still, yoga and meditation may provide the solace you need as you think things over. We honor a commitment to helping our patients cope with anxiety and overcome addiction. Contact us to learn how Harmony Ridge can enhance and enrich your life.