An anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder where an individual feels constant, excessive and extreme anxiety and fear. We all experience anxiety and fear at some point in our lives; it is a natural human response to danger or imminent threats to ourselves or another individual. This fear can be powerful and occur, even if the threat is only an imagined one. Fear can also present itself in anticipation of a harmful event occurring.

These emotions are natural and have an essential value. They have evolved as a critical mechanism of self-protection. When individuals experience these feelings persistently and unrelentingly, however, they can have the opposite effect on individuals. Instead of protecting them from harm, they can take a toll on a person’s work and social lives and their educational opportunities and also cause extreme pain and suffering.

Anxiety is classified into several discrete sub-types which are defined by the source of the anxiety. For example, a person may suffer from separation anxiety (fear of being separated from a loved one), a phobia (fear of a specific object), social anxiety (fear of social participation), panic attacks (sudden, overpowering fear) or general anxiety (persistent fear that may have many different points of origin), to name only a few of the major types of anxiety.

Despite the many variations of anxiety, most anxiety complexes share many common symptoms and traits. Foremost, all forms of clinical anxiety will cause emotional and physical suffering which ultimately will erode the individual’s quality of life. The symptoms of an untreated anxiety disorder can be painful and, for some, crippling, leading people with anxiety to self-medicate as a means of coping. Drugs and alcohol, however, add new and specific physical and emotional problems of their own and, in virtually all cases, will intensify the symptoms of anxiety which individuals are experiencing.

Not only do drugs and alcohol have their own adverse symptoms in the short-term that must be dealt with, but also they invite long-term health problems, including dependency and addiction. The combination of anxiety, dependency and addiction often creates a vicious cycle where the drugs you take increase your anxiety symptoms, and you require more and more drugs to manage your now more severe mental health problems. The result is almost always serious medical problems, the risk of overdose and accidental death.

Treating anxiety when you have a co-occurring substance abuse problem can be even more difficult. Substance abuse makes it problematic for your psychologist or therapist to isolate your symptoms, preventing an accurate diagnosis and delaying vital treatment. Any attempt to stop using drugs and alcohol on your own, however, will be all but impossible when you have a mental health condition, such as anxiety, which makes the likelihood of a relapse extremely high. In all cases where an individual has a co-occurring disorder, they will need a medically-supervised detox, comprehensive rehab and individualized therapy. If you have anxiety and a substance use problem, you can get the care you need to regain your health at Bayview Recovery.

Signs of an Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders frequently have two primary traits in common — fear and anxiety — which are intense, excessive and prolonged. Anxiety disorders also share other symptoms as well.

General Anxiety

  • Fear and anxiety that lasts over four months in children and six months in adults
  • Tension or restlessness
  • Becoming easily tired
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sudden and frequent mental “blankness”
  • Irritableness
  • Physical tension
  • Sleep issues, an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep or unsatisfying sleep

Specific Phobias

  • Fear of specific objects
  • Fear or anxiety that exceeds what is warranted
  • Persistent, active avoidance of particular objects

Social Anxiety Disorder

  • Fear of social situations, especially if they involve personal scrutiny
  • Fear of acting in a way that will be humiliating, embarrassing or lead to rejection
  • Experience of intense fear and anxiety before and during social situations
  • Persistent avoidance of social situations

Panic Attacks

  • Sweating, shaking and trembling
  • Palpitations or a fast heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying

Treating Anxiety Disorders and Addiction

Anxiety symptoms can cause extreme pain, both psychological and physical, and interfere with all aspects of a person’s life. And if you do not seek professional help, you will need to find other ways to manage your symptoms, and individuals frequently turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, half of all individuals who have an anxiety disorder self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol, however, only serve to increase, not decrease, your mental health symptoms.

The more symptoms of anxiety you have, the more drugs and alcohol you will need to take to manage them if you are self-medicating and not seeking professional help. As you increase your substance use, you will also inevitably increase your tolerance and quickly find yourself dependent or addicted. A substance abuse problem with a co-occurring disorder which are both untreated can lead to life-long health problems, a diminished quality of life and sudden death. You must seek professional help to treat both of these concerns if you wish to have a chance at recovery.

Bayview Recovery’s Individualized Approach to Anxiety and Addiction Treatment

Anxiety and substance abuse should never go untreated. Both conditions can have devastating emotional and physical consequences for you and your family and loved ones. Severe health problems, dependency, addiction and increased mental health problems, including the risk of overdose, can all result from failure to seek qualified, professional treatment. Attempting to treat these conditions on your own can make both issues worse and invite relapse and accidental death.

The first step to recovery is a medically-supervised detox. Bayview Recovery can assist your medical provider during this process. Once you have ended your dependency, you can now seek mental health treatment, including individualized therapy and rehab for your drug use. Individualized rehab can help you avoid future drug use, while therapy can give you strategies to cope with your anxiety. Medication may be an additional option. Bayview Recovery’s qualified, compassionate staff along with its comprehensive rehab and therapy offerings can help you manage your anxiety and stay free of drugs long-term.

Call Bayview Recovery today at 888.570.7154. Our helpful representatives can give you more information about our individualized rehab and therapy options so you can overcome your drug addiction and co-occurring anxiety. Start your new life today with Bayview Recovery.