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Anxiety and Addiction

Everyone experiences worry from time to time. It’s common to worry about what might happen when your paycheck is a bit short or to worry about whether or not your child will be safe when going out with friends on a Saturday night. However, living in a constant state of worry moves past what might be considered normal. When worry begins to manifest itself in both physical and psychological ways, and when it starts to affect the quality of your life, it’s time to begin to explore that anxiety might be to blame.

At Northpoint Recovery, we know that life brings worry and strife. However, our experienced staff can help you navigate life free of anxiety and addiction with a co-occurring disorders treatment program in Boise. Learn more by calling 888.296.8976.

What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a psychiatric disorder that many people live with their entire lives without ever getting a formal diagnosis. Some people say that they’ve had anxiety since they were children, and they’ve never been able to escape the symptoms. Others live normal lives until some situation or event triggers the onset of anxiety. There are different forms of anxiety, and one of the more common forms of it is known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, just over 3% of adults have been diagnosed with this condition during the past year.

Feeling nervous or worried is often confused with being anxious. Chronic anxiety is a psychiatric condition that involves more than just being worried or fearful. When someone has anxiety, the way they feel does not go away, and it can worsen over time. Their feelings can be so all-consuming that they start to affect their everyday lives. It’s not unusual for people to experience difficulties in relationships or have problems performing well on the job or at school when they have anxiety.

While scientists don’t have a definitive answer to the causes of anxiety, they do know that certain factors can make someone more prone to being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, including:

  • Being shy during the childhood years
  • Being a female
  • Being widowed or divorced
  • Having a parental history of mental health disorders
  • Being exposed to stressful life events
  • A family history of anxiety disorders
  • Having elevated cortisol levels in the saliva

It is common for those who suffer extreme worry to self-medicate, leading to addiction.

The Connection Between Anxiety And Addiction

People often tend to think of anxiety as something that affects the mind only, but it also has a very dramatic effect on the body. When someone experiences worry, they receive a boost of hormones and chemicals into their system that triggers the flight or fight stress response. This increases pulse rate and breathing, giving the immune system a boost. However, when someone experiences this all the time because they have anxiety, it can have a detrimental effect on the body, leading to a weakened immune system.

Usually, people are either diagnosed with anxiety or begin to experience anxiety symptoms. At that point, they turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to medicate themselves, looking for even the slightest amount of relief. Alcohol is a depressant, as are other types of substances. The problem is that continual use often leads to dependence and addiction.

This link between anxiety and addiction can be an almost impossible break, making treating one alongside the other necessary. For this reason, dual diagnosis treatment presents the perfect solution.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Can it Help?

Nearly 20% of people with anxiety also have a substance use disorder. It can be difficult to diagnose anxiety properly because the symptoms can be very close to what someone might experience when they have an addiction. It’s also possible for anxiety to be caused by using prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol.

Dual diagnosis treatment was developed because it was apparent that a different approach was required when working with patients who suffered from mental illnesses and addiction. The two were so closely linked with each other, and yet, for years, the focus was on treating the addiction first and then the mental illness.

Dual diagnosis treatment has been shown to dramatically affect patients with anxiety and addiction, addressing the issues behind the addiction instead of just focusing on getting through the withdrawal period, like some other forms of treatment.

The right anxiety treatment program in Boise will offer:

  • Team members who are trained in both substance use disorders and anxiety disorders
  • Care for both conditions in a single location and at the same time
  • Medication adjustment treatment for both anxiety and addiction, if applicable
  • Counseling sessions that center around the needs of someone with co-occurring disorders
  • Group therapy sessions that promote peer counseling
  • Skill-building activities that teach coping methods without relying on substances
  • Outpatient follow-up treatment referrals to promote ongoing care

Each component of treatment is vital to the success of the program. All too often, various therapies contradict each other, and the patient receives treatment that isn’t helpful. By combining treatment methods, patients receive a better quality of care and are more likely to avoid relapse.

Anxiety and Rehab: Discover How Northpoint Recovery Can Help

Whether you’ve suffered from anxiety for most of your life or you have only recently been diagnosed with it, it is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment. While using drugs and alcohol might relieve anxiety symptoms temporarily, most people soon find that they do much more harm than good.

At Northpoint Recovery, we offer dual diagnosis treatment to help people suffering from anxiety and addiction. If you would like to learn more about how to bring the connection between anxiety and addiction, reach out to our team of professionals at 888.296.8976.