Alongside the increase of anxiety disorders, addictions are also progressing. However, through this growth, there has been a clear correlation on how addiction can cause anxiety. Both are recognised to influence one another, where addiction is known to heighten the symptoms of anxiety. Likewise, living with the signs and symptoms of anxiety are commonly coped with through abusing drugs and alcohol.
Unfortunately, anxiety disorder diagnoses are on the rise, as are other mental health issues. Like addiction, mental health conditions do not have a generic stereotype. Anxiety can affect anyone, no matter their age, race, gender, health history, career or relationships. Although, social anxiety disorders are becoming common amongst the younger generations.
With this in mind, if you are experiencing either an addiction or anxiety, or even a dual diagnosis, it’s imperative that you understand the severity of each and how they can fuel one another. If you’re looking for treatment options to manage both, feel free to contact our team today here at Rehab Clinics Group. We are specialists in addiction and mental health recovery.
What are the common signs and symptoms of anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling, an internal emotion which is commonly described as feeling uneasy, nervous, and an overwhelming sense of no control. A level of anxiety is good for some individuals, commonly categorised as nervous energy. Yet, other individuals can experience heightened anxiety which controls their decisions, behaviours and outlooks.
There are also a number of different types of anxiety disorders. From panic disorders and a generalised anxiety disorder, to social anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each form of anxiety is categorised as a mental illness, controlling psychological activity, observed as occurring disorders. Many cases are influenced by pre-existing mental health issues and a history of trauma. However, long-term stress on the body and mind, substance abuse and chemical imbalances in the brain can induce anxious feelings.
Some types of anxiety can last for the short-term and can be personally controlled. However, there are depths of anxiety where individuals struggle to lead a normal life.
Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
– A consistent feeling of worry or fear
– The inability to maintain social relationships, a career, overall health
– Self-medication through abusing drugs and alcohol, or the need for prescribed medication
– Trouble sleeping
– The inability to open up to others
– Physical signs including headaches, sweating, muscle tension, heart palpitations and numbness of hands or feet
If you believe that you suffer from anxiety, it is imperative that you can find coping mechanisms to manage your anxious feelings. If your anxiety disorder is chronic, sourcing professional treatment will be recommended.
How does substance abuse impact anxiety?
For those who are living with anxiety, consuming drugs and alcohol can sometimes be challenging. Yet, for individuals who have identified substance abuse as a coping mechanism, there is potential for an addiction to develop.
Many drug and alcohol addictions actually start from an underlying mental health issue, such as anxiety. Drugs and alcohol will be used as an escape from those unbearable symptoms. However, by relying on drugs and alcohol, this is where it can become dangerous for someone suffering with anxiety.
Living with a standalone anxiety disorder is very challenging for some individuals. Symptoms can however become heightened by abusing drugs and alcohol. Psychological activity, thoughts and outlooks can become blurred. This will commonly influence greater substance abuse. Yet, we know where this consistent cycle can lead; to an addiction.
With this in mind, if you are using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope through your anxiety disorder, it is important that you acknowledge this and source medical support. Without this step, a substance use disorder can also develop, leading to a dual diagnosis.
Living with a dual diagnosis of addiction and anxiety
As anxiety can influence addiction, an addiction can cause a dual diagnosis of anxiety. As drugs and alcohol are abused for some time, the body and mind will suffer. General functioning will deteriorate, commonly replaced with the potential of developing mental impairment.
As the signs and symptoms of addiction progress, in tandem, the symptoms of anxiety can develop. However, as withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol present themselves in between consumption, anxiety levels can heighten. Here is where continuous drug and alcohol abuse is experienced, to block out those anxious feelings.
It’s clear to see how both addiction and anxiety can fuel one another. They are both difficult mental health illnesses to live with. Once associated, they can reduce quality of life significantly, while fuelling on another for the worst. Living with a dual diagnosis can be very difficult. One action can benefit your addiction, while another can worsen your anxiety. It can be very difficult to get the right balance between addiction and anxiety.
For example, you may be consuming high quantities of drugs and alcohol. In this instance, you’ll attempt to avoid social situations where your substance abuse disorder could be highlighted. However, as this is something, you’re anxious about, you’ll have the susceptibility of developing anxiety. As this develops into a vicious cycle, there is potential of reaching a social anxiety disorder; where both your drug and alcohol addiction and anxiety have influenced each other – resulting in the inability to face social situations without drugs and alcohol.
Treatments available to recover from a dual diagnosis
If you are suffering with a standalone addiction or anxiety, or even a dual diagnosis, it is imperative that you source professional support and treatment. Here at Rehab Clinics Group, we offer addiction treatment and mental health recovery programmes, in tandem. However, we do treat both mental health conditions individually. By combining treatment options, it is unlikely that recovering from a dual diagnosis will be possible.
Treatment options for a drug and alcohol addiction will include a mixture of detoxes, therapy sessions and cognitive behavioural therapy. While treatment for anxiety may include medication, social groups and counselling sessions. Through each, you will also develop new coping mechanisms to minimise any potential addiction or anxiety relapse.
Through this combination, working through a dual diagnosis is likely. If you’re experiencing an addiction and/or anxiety, we urge you to understand the potential impact of each. They can influence each other severely, making it difficult to completely rehabilitate. Get in touch with our team today to begin treatment for an addiction and anxiety fuelled disorder.