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Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders are mental health disorders characterized by excessive fear and anxiety. Fear is your natural emotional response to an imminent threat, regardless of whether that threat is real or imagined, and anxiety is the set of natural, negative feelings we experience anticipating an imminent threat. Both fear and anxiety are normal features of a healthy personality which help you protect yourself emotionally, psychologically and physically. However, when you experience these feelings in excess and persistently, they can cause extreme suffering and adversely affect your educational success, work opportunities and relationships.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, and each one is defined by the object or situation which causes the anxiety. Examples of common anxiety disorders include: separation anxiety (fear of separation from a protector, such as a parent); selective mutism (failure to speak in certain situations, out of fear); specific phobias (fear of a unique object, such as blood); social anxiety (fear of social situations); panic attacks (sudden overwhelming fear in certain situations); agoraphobia (fear of certain spaces, such as of being in a crowd); general anxiety (persistent and with many causes); and even substance-induced anxiety.

Whatever the cause of the specific anxiety you are experiencing, your unique anxiety diagnosis will share many common symptoms with other presentations of the disease. All anxiety disorders will cause you emotional or physical harm and ultimately erode your quality of life. The symptoms of anxiety disorders can be difficult to live with if undiagnosed, and you may find yourself turning to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate your condition. Relying on self-medication to treat your mental illness, however, will always enlarge your problem.

If you choose to self-medicate — in addition to suffering from an anxiety disorder — you will experience new, negative symptoms as a result of your substance abuse with which you must now also cope. Further, you will also invite addiction which brings with it more severe medical problems and the risk of overdose and death.

Anxiety disorders and addiction can be difficult to treat individually, even more difficult to treat together and almost impossible to treat on your own. If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder and a substance abuse or addiction problem, you will always need professional treatment from qualified and experienced doctors and psychiatrists specialized in addiction and mental health care.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders have two primary characteristics in common — intense, excessive and prolonged fear and anxiety — but they also share many other symptoms.

General Anxiety

  • long-lasting fear and anxiety (ranging over four months in children and over six months in adults)
  • restlessness and tension
  • being easily tired
  • chronic fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating
  • sudden mental “blankness”
  • irritability
  • physical tension
  • sleep issues, such as inability to fall asleep or stay asleep or unsatisfying sleep

Specific Phobias

  • fear of a specific object
  • fear or anxiety in excess of what is warranted
  • active and persistent avoidance of the object

Social Anxiety Disorder

  • fear of social situations involving personal scrutiny
  • fear that your behavior will be humiliating or embarrassing or lead to rejection
  • experience of intense fear and anxiety during social situations
  • avoidance of social situations

Panic Attacks

  • palpitations and fast heart rate
  • sweating
  • shaking and trembling
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • numbness and tingling sensations
  • feelings of unreality and personal detachment
  • fear of losing control
  • fear of dying

The Difficulty of Treating Anxiety Disorders and Addiction

Symptoms of anxiety disorders can be extremely painful and debilitating. The intensity of both your emotional and physical suffering will often lead you to find ways to manage these symptoms, and you may turn to drugs and alcohol to alleviate or avoid the pain of your symptoms. Studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggest that as many as half of all individuals who suffer from an anxiety disorder abuse drugs and alcohol to cope. If you self-medicate your anxiety disorder, besides adding symptoms of substance abuse, you will in almost every instance increase the severity of your anxiety symptoms.

By doing so, you will also increase your need to cope which will result in an increased need for drugs and alcohol and greater quantities of them as you simultaneously increase your tolerance. Using drugs and alcohol to treat your anxiety will quickly create a vicious cycle that exacerbates all your symptoms. The only way to treat your mental health and substance abuse problems — while maintaining your emotional, psychological and physical health — is to seek qualified, professional help.

How You Will Benefit from an Individualized Approach to Treating Anxiety and Addiction

For any mental health treatment to be successful, you must first get treatment for your substance use or addiction. If you still rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with and mask symptoms, you will delay an accurate mental health diagnosis — if you do not have a pre-existing diagnosis — and undermine any mental health treatment you do receive. Drugs and alcohol will, of course, also continue to increase and prolong your mental health symptoms.

An individualized approach to addiction treatment gives you the best chance of overcoming your dependence on drugs and alcohol. By making your detox comfortable and safe, an individualized, medically-supervised detox, will ensure you complete this phase of treatment and end your chemical dependency. This stage will prepare you for subsequent addiction treatment. Personalized addiction treatment will focus on your personality, drug of choice, use habits and triggers and will address your underlying reasons for use in a program designed especially around and for you. By treating your unique circumstances specifically, our doctors ensure you will have tools and techniques that work for you, and that you leave treatment with the highest confidence of maintaining your sobriety.

Similarly, rather than apply a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health treatment, the Serenity Oaks Wellness Center also uses an individualized approach to treat your anxiety issues. When your psychiatric team and supporters help you focus on the specific reasons your anxiety developed — including your past trauma and environmental factors — and factors which sustain your anxiety, you will have the greatest likelihood of managing and controlling your disease. Focused, personalized treatment will give you many ways to respond to past trauma, specific triggers and unmet needs compared to more generalized methods which may or may not have strategies which apply to you. A comprehensive approach to detox, addiction treatment and mental health treatment — that treats and honors you as an individual — will give you the long-lasting sobriety and peace of mind you deserve.

Call 844-720-6847 today to talk to one of Serenity Oaks Wellness Center’s specialists about how an individualized approach to treating anxiety and addiction can help you live a sober and healthy life again.