Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders: Anxiety and Substance Abuse

If you have anxiety and substance abuse, it’s vital you treat both conditions if you want the best possible result. Some therapists only treat one condition and wonder why the patient goes back to abusing alcohol or illegal substances. Treating both greatly improves your odds of success and lets you reach the outcome you had in mind.

Understanding Anxiety and How It Impacts You

Anxiety is a feeling of fear and unease that makes you avoid certain places, things, people, or situations. You experience a rapid heart rate, sweating, and increased air intake. Anxiety is a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations that could impact you over the long run.

In simple terms, anxiety is a survival response designed to keep us away from danger. But in the modern world, anxiety can prevent us from doing things we want to do. Also, anxiety can result from chemical imbalances in the brain.

Trouble Focusing

When you have anxiety, your brain forces you to focus on what is stressing you out the most. This makes it hard to focus on things you need to focus on. Your mind feels foggy, and your thoughts become unclear. You won’t know what to do and could have trouble making decisions, and you don’t want to fall into that trap.

Trouble With Relationships

Anxiety can cause problems in your relationships. If you have anxiety, you might not speak your mind when your friends or partner does something you don’t want them to do. Anxiety can cause you to keep quiet in your relationships when you want to speak up. Over time, this can cause you to resent your friends and family. Those dealing with anxiety might feel as if nobody cares about what they feel, think, want, or need.

Trouble Achieving Success

If you have anxiety and don’t know what to do about it, you will also have a hard time achieving success. Success requires a sustained effort, but it also requires you to leave your comfort zone from time to time. Intense feelings of anxiety make it all but impossible to leave your comfort zone. You might worry about the things that could go wrong if you don’t succeed the first time. This prevents you from trying new things, and you get stuck in your current situation without making progress.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is a problem you don’t want to face if you can help it. You feel a lot of anxiety when you are in social situations. You might begin wondering what others think of you, and you could overthink your words and body language. Social anxiety makes it hard to meet people or form new relationships. You spend too much time worrying. Starting and holding conversations becomes a challenge.

Specific Phobias

Some people with anxiety feel it all the time, but others have anxiety linked to certain things. These fears are called phobias. A person with an intense fear of heights is one common example, and there are many types of phobias. Fear of the dark, fear of animals, and fear of loud noises are some of the most common phobias. The fear of spiders is another common phobia that many people have. Some phobias don’t cause too many problems depending on how you live your life. On the other hand, some phobias make living a normal life a daunting task.

Substance Abuse and Its Effects

Substance abuse is a growing problem around the world. Many people abuse alcohol, medication, and illegal drugs. When you use drugs, they impact the way your brain processes chemicals. In many cases, your brain gets used to having the drug in your system and no longer produces enough of its own chemicals. When that happens, your brain becomes dependent on the drug you have been using. You will experience intense withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug you have been using. If you have a substance abuse problem, it’s vital you get it under control as soon as possible.

Anxiety and Substance Abuse: Where Addiction Begins

Substance abuse can begin at any age, but most people start in their teens. Teens often abuse alcohol and illegal substances because their friends pressure them into doing it. Other people try drugs at parties and don’t think it’s a big deal. In these cases, they become addicted over time.

Trouble at Work

Substance abuse can also cause trouble at work. Abusing drugs and alcohol makes it hard to focus on work. Many people show up to work late and while they are still high. They make mistakes and don’t perform at their best. Others use drugs late at night and show up late or call off all the time, and you don’t want to fall into that trap.

Your performance will likely drop if you don’t solve the problem. Your habit decreases your income, and you could even lose your job if you are not careful. Finding a new job while you are using drugs is not always easy, and most companies make employees pass drug tests before hiring them.

Trouble With Money

In addition to causing trouble at work, abusing drugs also causes other problems with your money. Those using drugs will sometimes get fired and lose their source of income, but they sometimes spend the money they have on drugs. You don’t want your habit to get so bad that you spend more money on drugs than you do on food, bills, and other supplies.

A drug problem could cause you to fall behind on your car payments or rent, causing your life to spiral out of control. Make sure you catch the problem in the early stages if you don’t want to find yourself in that situation.

Trouble With Your Health

Trouble with your health can show up if you are not careful. Depending on the drug you are using, you could experience minor symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some drugs even harm your heart and damage other organs in your body. You could experience poor circulation if you don’t take steps to prevent it. The health effects you experience get worse the longer you use the drug or abuse alcohol.

Many medications you get from your doctor are mostly safe as long as you use them as prescribed. On the other hand, taking drugs in ways other than what the doctor described puts you at risk. Your health could decline more than you think over the long run. You could also get pathogens from needles.

Do your best to avoid using needles, but ensure you use clean ones if you do use them. Many people get these diseases when they share needles with their friends, and you don’t want to follow in their footsteps if you care about your well-being.

How Anxiety and Substance Abuse Work Together

Treatment for anxiety and substance abuseNot everyone considers how anxiety and substance abuse go together. Many people with anxiety disorder don’t even know they have it. They often use drugs or alcohol to mask the symptoms while they are with friends or at social events. Using drugs socially is often the first step in addiction, and you don’t want to fall into that trap. Most people don’t think much of their drug use at first, and they slowly become addicted over time.

When you treat addiction, it’s important you consider all aspects of it. You have to consider that anxiety could be the cause of addiction. If you use drugs to combat the symptoms of anxiety, you might not even know the reason. But your doctor or therapist has to understand you and each part of your addiction if you want to get it under control. Failing to understand all the complex issues that go with addiction increases your odds of relapsing, a problem you don’t want to face.

Working with a therapist who understands that anxiety and substance abuse can go together, though, makes all the difference in the world. You improve your odds of success more than you once thought possible. The road to recovery is not always easy, so give yourself the best odds of success.

Find Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction at Harmony Place

No matter the situation, it’s always best to get into a treatment center right away. It might not seem like a big deal at first, but a drug problem can get out of hand before you know it. Ensure you speak with a therapist before it gets to that point. Getting over anxiety and substance abuse can change your life in many ways, and you will be pleased with the outcome.

We have residential programs and outpatient plans that make the most sense for your needs. We look at your situation and craft a plan that is unique to your needs and goals. You will be happy when you see what we can do. 

Our anxiety and addiction treatment centers care about our patients and put you first. You have access to all the tools you need to make it past this difficult and challenging phase, and you will be glad you came to us when you see what we can do for you. If you are ready to begin, contact us today.