What is Anxiety?
Most people have feelings of anxiety before an important event. However, anxiety disorder is a common chronic disorder of long-lasting anxiety that is not focused on any one object or situation. Those suffering from this mood disorders experience persistent, excessive and unrealistic fear and worry about everyday matters. It can interfere with schooling, careers, relationships, and everyday activities. Recent surveys have found that as many as 18% of Americans may be affected by an anxiety disorder. Psychology Today says that one out of 75 Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 will experience a panic disorder at least once in their lifetime. When someone has anxiety the brain is producing the flight or fight chemicals, such as adrenaline, at times when there is no reason but it is convinced there is.
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There are different types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): May experience excessive anxiety for months and can feel irritable, fatigued, muscle tension, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, and on edge. It can be debilitating but treatment can help them improve. The National Institute of Mental Health says about 6.8 million U.S. adults have GAD. GAD tends to start in childhood, get worse with time, and affects women more than men. The U.S. Surgeon General published a report stating that 25% of people with GAD will develop panic disorders.
Panic Disorder: Have panic attacks or unexpected periods of intense fear that can cause an irregular or increased heart rate, trembling, sweating, feeling unable to breathe and impending doom. They tend to avoid places they have had panic attacks at before, worry about when the next attack will occur, feel out of control during a panic attack, and have repeated attacks of intense fear. Most attacks last for about 10 minutes and the average person will have at least one attack per week for at least four weeks.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Feel frightened by social or performing situations where they expect to feel rejected, embarrassed, judged, or offend others. They often have difficulty talking to others or being with others, feel nauseous around others, worry for days or weeks before a social event, feel very self-conscious in front of others, have difficulty making and keeping new friends, and are very afraid of others judgement.
Phobias: Certain objects, events, and places can create powerful irrational fear. Most people have a specific phobia with several triggers. Depending on the number of triggers and the type of phobia, the phobia can take over the person’s life in their attempt to avoid it.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Intrusive and repeated rituals or thoughts that cause fear and seem impossible to control. They are compulsively repeated behaviors such as hand washing, organizing, or counting items that can take over the person’s life. Performing these behaviors brings temporary relief but soon after the anxiety returns. The Wexner Medical Center says OCD affects about 2.2 million Americans.
Symptoms of Anxiety
The symptoms of anxiety will vary on the type and intensity of the anxiety. Most anxiety disorders include a persistent, excessive fear in situations that are not threatening and these similar symptoms.
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of dread
- Muscle aches
- Inability to stay asleep or sleep soundly
- Inability to get out of bed
- Panic attacks with increased heart rate, breathing, and sweating
- Gastrointestinal issues (nausea, cramping, vomiting)
Anxiety and Addiction
While a large percentage of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders to some degree, it is most prevalent among substance abusers and addicts. This is thought to be due mainly to the mind-altering properties that illicit drugs can possess. Many addictive substances are known to cause hallucinations and feelings of paranoia, which enhance anxiety.
People who suffer from anxiety disorder often have an acute and overwhelming attack of panic or fear. Many times the fear is so intense that it leads to self-medication with sedatives, painkillers or opiate-based drugs. When the cycle continues, an addiction can be created. Behaviour Research and Therapy published a study stating that 10-40 percent of people with panic disorder are alcoholics and 10-20 percent of people with panic disorders struggle with substance abuse.
For some people, the use of alcohol and drugs and the withdrawal from them can cause symptoms of anxiety. In these cases, the anxiety symptoms may be substance induced and the symptoms will subside with prolonged abstinence. For others, the symptoms of anxiety persist and may even worsen with prolonged abstinence thus making recovery more difficult. In either case, if the anxiety disorder is not dealt with as part of a substance abuse treatment program, it can be a contributing factor in a future relapse.
Treating Anxiety and Substance Abuse
At Recovery Ways, we recognize that anxiety and substance abuse often go hand in hand. Research shows that one in three people with anxiety also suffer from substance abuse or dependence. So each patient is thoroughly assessed to ensure that both the chemical dependence and mood disorder are being treated. Recovery Ways provides the therapy necessary to help patients adjust and cope with their feelings of anxiousness. Through one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, and medical intervention when necessary, patients learn to break through the feelings of their anxiety disorder and see a new way of living more clearly.
All treatment programs at Recovery Ways include individualized care and personalized treatment plans, multiple weekly group and individual therapy based on the 12 steps, and a family program. We know that anxiety can be a major factor in relapse, so we make it a priority to give patients all the resources they need to continue treatment for anxiety and substance dependency after they leave our program.
Anxiety and Addiction Treatment in Utah
Recovery Ways, accredited by the Joint Commission, offers treatment excellence to those suffering from substance use and mental health disorders. If you or your loved one is struggling with anxiety and addiction, please call us today for help finding a dual diagnosis program. To reach our admissions team please call 1-888-986-7848.