Anxiety disorders as a group are the most common mental health disorders in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that people with an anxiety disorder suffer from a simultaneous substance abuse disorder at twice the general population’s rate. This co-occurrence is, at times, due to self-medication. Other factors like genetics, environmental influences, and experiences of trauma also play a role in developing co-occurring disorders. Learn more about co-occurring disorder treatment by calling 866.796.4720 or by completing the online form.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
The most common anxiety disorder is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD experience persistent worry and anxiety without it being due to a specific focus or phobia. While realistic concerns may drive the fear and anxiety, the severity of symptoms goes beyond normal emotions and requires professional intervention to manage. Other common anxiety disorders include:
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Panic disorder
- Specific phobias
GAD treatment involves a combination of psychotherapy and medications. The best type of therapy for GAD is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT targets the underlying behaviors and thought patterns that direct a person’s anxiety response. Once identified, the treatment proceeds to replace a person’s negative patterns with more positive ones.
Several medications are effective in treating and managing GAD. Two frequently prescribed types are antidepressants and benzodiazepines. Antidepressants target areas of the brain responsible for processing and releasing serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates positive emotion. Meanwhile, benzodiazepines can relieve anxiety symptoms. Since they can be habit-forming, doctors should only prescribe benzos in short-term doses. Doctors may avoid this prescription altogether in cases where addiction is present.
Signs of Anxiety and Addiction
Understanding the signs that indicate someone is struggling with anxiety and addiction is key to getting them the help they need. Many of the symptoms of anxiety are distinct from those of drug addiction. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware when signs of an anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorder appear concurrently. Common symptoms of an anxiety disorder may include:
- Pervasive worry
- Agitation and irritability
- Sleep trouble
- Panic attacks
- Social avoidance
The signs of anxiety are emotions that everybody will experience at some point during life. However, they rise to the level of an anxiety disorder when they are persistent and disruptive to normal functioning.
Meanwhile, signs of addiction frequently include sudden changes in behavior or personality, bloodshot eyes, decreased hygiene, unusual financial troubles, and uncharacteristic changes in friend groups. The presence of one or more items from each list indicates a necessity for dual diagnosis treatment to ensure both issues are dealt with holistically. In addition, the earlier you recognize and address co-occurring disorders like anxiety and addiction, the easier the path to recovery will be.
Seek Dual Diagnosis Treatment at BoardPrep Recovery Center®
Addressing anxiety and drug addiction at the same time requires a comprehensive approach. By necessity, dual diagnosis treatment begins with detox to break down a person’s physical dependence on a drug. Following detox, dual diagnosis treatment can continue in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. Whatever program people choose, co-occurring disorder treatment will use various therapies and resources to guide people along a path toward holistic wellness.
One therapy that has displayed specific promise in treating the intersection of anxiety and addiction is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a therapy where a clinician helps clients deal with the trauma pervading their disorders using rapid eye movements to form healthier mental connections. Other key supports during dual diagnosis treatment include:
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- 12-step programming
- Aftercare planning
- Health and wellness services
Reach out to 866.796.4720 to learn more about how dual diagnosis treatment could be the answer you or a loved one needs.