Anxiety and Addiction
January 26, 2017

About Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness, with over 18% of American adults, or about 40 million people, suffering from one type or another. Anxiety can manifest itself in several different forms, ranging from continuous dread about nothing in particular to extreme and debilitating fear of one specific thing. While anxiety disorders are extremely common and highly treatable, only about one-third of people will seek proper treatment.

It is not uncommon for those suffering from an anxiety disorder to attempt self-medicating with alcohol, marijuana, prescription pills, or other illicit substances. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that individuals with anxiety disorders are twice as likely to struggle with substance abuse than the general population.

Unfortunately, substance abuse and anxiety is a double-edged sword; While many turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to manage their anxiety, these substances can actually make symptoms of anxiety even worse, causing the individual to need more in order to manage their condition. Substance abuse can even precede anxiety, and anxiety can develop as a consequence of the addiction. Both anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders may be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. When someone with anxiety begins using drugs or alcohol to cope, these chemical imbalances may be exacerbated, causing the anxiety to worsen. Additionally, those who do not suffer from anxiety but struggle with abuse of drugs or alcohol can undergo changes in their brain chemistry that lead to the development of anxiety disorders.

Treating Anxiety and Addiction

The existence of a substance abuse disorder with an anxiety disorder or other form of mental illness is called dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders.  When an individual suffers from co-occurring disorders it is important that treatment addresses both conditions to ensure successful recovery. Patients with dual diagnosis are known for relapse because their mental illness was overlooked in previous treatment. A New Start, Inc. specializes in dual diagnosis treatment, and our skilled therapists and clinicians offer a wide variety of therapies including 12-Step, Trauma, Family Systems, Cognitive Behavioral, as well as Individual and Group Therapy Sessions.

To learn more about dual diagnosis treatment with A New Start, Inc., please call 1.844.TALK.ANS today.

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