Anxiety is a common co-occurring disorder found in individuals with a substance use disorder. The physical signs of addiction often mask signs of anxiety or other mental issues driving a person to continue using drugs or alcohol. It is important that people receiving help for addiction also receive treatment for underlying mental disorders.
What is Anxiety?
Most people experience anxiety when dealing with a stressful situation. It often alerts us to potential danger and help us prepare to face the threat. You may be more familiar with the term “fight-or-flight,” which is our bodies responding when we feel pressure or must deal with challenging circumstances.
Anxiety disorders are the most widespread mental health concern in the U.S. Nineteen percent of adults and seven percent of children have some form of anxiety disorder. They are a collection of related conditions, each with unique symptoms. The one thing every anxiety disorder has in common is the way they cause people to feel continuous, excessive fear in non-threatening situations.
People with an anxiety disorder have a disproportionate reaction to things like attending a party, going in for a job interview, or even going to pick up a coffee from a local shop. They often experience a constant state of tension and fear at the idea of confronting things others would view as a normal occurrence.
What Are Some Common Anxiety Disorders?
There are many different anxiety disorders. They have distinct symptoms and cause varying reactions in individuals. A number of mental health professionals believe that a variety of factors go into causing anxiety disorders, including genetics and the influence of a person’s environment.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder causes you to feel apprehensive about social interactions. It goes beyond typical shyness. It makes you worry excessively about experiencing some form of humiliation by doing or saying the wrong thing. Many people with social anxiety disorder get to where they avoid conversing with anyone, leading to feelings of isolation.
People with panic disorder repeatedly experience sudden feelings of extreme anxiety and fear that peaks in a matter of minutes. These episodes are referred to as panic attacks. It causes symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pains, or heart palpitations.
Agoraphobia causes individuals to fear going to public places. They end up never going out and feeling trapped and helpless.
What Are Some Typical Signs of Anxiety?
People with an anxiety disorder often experience the following symptoms:
- Nervousness and restlessness
- Increased heart rate
- Sense of impending danger
- Rapid breathing
- Feelings of weakness and exhaustion
- Sleeping disorders
- An inability to control worries about mundane situations
- Problems concentrating on anything other than a potential problem
- Constantly wanting to avoid environments that can trigger anxiety
Anxiety often exists alongside other mental issues and substance abuse problems. The effects of anxiety can make those related conditions worse.
How Do I Know if I Have an Anxiety Disorder?
The physical signs of anxiety can be mistaken for other illnesses, like thyroid problems or heart issues. Excessive drug and alcohol use also make it harder for people to recognize they may have an anxiety disorder.
At Phoenix Rising, we evaluate every client for any potential co-occurring mental disorders. Some questions we ask to see if your substance problem masks an anxiety disorder include:
- Do you constantly worry to the point where it affects your schoolwork, job, or relationship?
- Are you constantly depressed and driven to use drugs or alcohol?
- Do you experience suicidal thoughts or engage in acts of self-harm?
- Do you turn to alcohol or drugs to avoid a constant drumbeat of worries?
Phoenix Rising helps clients recognize the signs of anxiety. Our facility offers them the chance to take part in various programs and therapies designed to treat their anxiety disorder alongside any substance abuse problems.
- Residential treatment program
- Partial hospitalization program
- Outpatient treatment program
- Sober living program
Learn more about how Phoenix Rising can help you recognize the signs of anxiety as you build a new path to recovery. You can reach us by calling 855.232.8211.