We all feel anxious sometimes – life is full of uncertainty, and we are worried about the future. However, if you are constantly anxious and nervous about what will come next, you might be suffering from anxiety. This fear can make it difficult to enjoy your daily life because you spend too much time worried about the future and what could go wrong. If you have found that your fears make it difficult for you to appreciate when things go right, you may have an anxiety disorder.
What Anxiety is
An anxiety disorder is an excessive and irrational fear of potential problems in everyday life. If your anxiety interferes with your daily activities, you might have a disorder. If you do, you are not alone – according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, almost twenty percent of American adults suffer from the condition.
There are a number of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety. They all have a higher likelihood of also suffering from an addiction over someone who does not suffer from anxiety. Among those who have suffered a traumatic event (such as war veterans and rape victims), the rate of addiction is higher than fifty percent.
If you think you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder, there are a number of symptoms that you may be experiencing. Emotionally, anxiety disorders lead to feeling tense and restless, while constantly anticipating the worst-case scenario. You might also experience headaches, an upset stomach, or a racing heart – this is a physical expression of anxiety.
Substance Abuse and Anxiety
Anxiety disorders and substance abuse often go hand in hand. In fact, people with anxiety disorders are at least twice as likely to have alcoholism or another substance abuse disorder. Since these two disorders can each exacerbate the other, it can become a vicious cycle of trying to cope with anxiety by using a mind-altering substance, and then that substance increases the level of anxiety.
Either of these conditions can trigger the other, or they can develop independently within the individual, but their coexistence always makes it difficult for a person to heal from either one without careful treatment that considers the whole person.
You cannot treat either of these disorders without also treating the other concurrently, since trying to handle them separately will almost always result in a relapse. The most established method of treating these disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. This therapy focuses on changing patterns of both thinking and behavior.
It takes a few months to notice the benefits – those in treatment should not get discouraged if their anxiety does not go away immediately after beginning treatment. Joining a support group can also be a helpful way to work through both problems alongside people who understand and have dealt with them as well.
Our therapists are trained in treating both disorders and can help patients overcome both anxiety and substance abuse.