Anxiety-related disorders are the a very prevalent type of mental health problems that occur in the setting of drug addiction and alcoholism. The disorder can predate the addiction to drugs or alcohol, or can occur after the addiction begins. Anxiety disorders should not be confused with normal anxiousness or nervousness that occur in everyday life. To diagnose an anxiety disorder, the patient must meet important diagnostic criteria. Anxiety disorders can overwhelm the sufferer to the point of causing an almost complete inability to function.
For an addicted person or an alcohol who also suffers from an anxiety disorder, the anxiety relief that they get from using substances sometimes makes the consequences worthwhile. However, once in the cycle of addiction, the anxiety fuels the addiction and the worsening addiction and negative consequences fuel the anxiety, and the situation soon spirals out-of-control. Seeking treatment in a reputable dual diagnosis treatment center can stop this cycle and allow the patient to rebuild his/her life, health, and happiness.
There are different types of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Of these, generalized anxiety disorder is the most common. With this disorder, the patient experiences a nearly constant level of worrying and feelings of unease that increase and decrease based on the environment and stressors. With generalized anxiety disorder, there need not be a specific trigger or environment to produce anxiety and fear.
Anxiety is likely produced by neurotransmitter and nervous system circuits that regulate emotions and fear. As such, scientists have developed several non-addictive medications that work to reduce anxiety in a healthy manner, without creating an additional addiction. Commonly used to treat anxiety are the antidepressants, such as Prozac, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, and others. Additionally, mood stabilizers such as Seroquel, Lamictal, gabapentin, and Depakote may be used to reduce anxiety. Other medications such as Buspar have been developed specifically to treat anxiety. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium also relieve anxiety, but due to their addictive nature, they are not commonly prescribed in patients who are also addicted to drugs or alcohol.
If you or a loved one suffer from a substance abuse disorder and also suffer from an anxiety disorder, it is key that the treatment be provided by a facility that offers treatment for co-occurring (dual diagnosis) disorders. The facility should be staffed with licensed therapists who are experienced in the treatment and diagnosis of co-occurring disorders and also with psychiatric services. A multidisciplinary team approach will prove to be most effective.
At Behavioral Wellness and Recovery, we provide dual diagnosis treatment, in a caring and effective manner. Regardless of the obstacles that you must overcome to gain control of your life and your recovery, we are here to help. Call now for assistance from one of our Admissions Coordinators at 800-683-4457.
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