Why Treating Anxiety and Addiction Together is Important
When it comes to treating addiction, mood disorders are extremely important to diagnose and treat as part of the process. Mood disorders include things like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. All of these can be incredibly debilitating for the people who have them, and when left unmanaged many people turn to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol for relief. Anxiety is especially bad, making it incredibly important to treat anxiety and addiction hand in hand.
The Link Between Anxiety and Addiction
Anxiety is a condition that affects about forty million people in the United States of America. There are many different kinds of anxiety, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Social Anxiety. No matter what kind of anxiety you have, symptoms can range from mild to debilitating. Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Fear of public places
- Shortness of breath
- A sense of impending doom
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Trouble swallowing
- Feeling like you are about to faint
- Chest pain
There are more symptoms as one person can be affected differently than another. No matter what they are, symptoms can be incredibly intense and uncomfortable. Many people who have bad anxiety refuse to leave their home or even their bedroom for weeks at a time. Clearly, this is no way to live.
Many people who have anxiety turn to alcohol and drugs to cope. This is especially true when the condition is unmanaged by a doctor. This can start out harmless, like a person having a glass of wine at a social function in order to feel a little more at ease. After all, alcohol is known as “social lubricant.” However, this can quickly escalate into full-blown alcoholism. Before you know it, you’ll be drinking at all times just to get through the day, and that is how an addiction is born. The same goes for drugs.
If you are getting treated by a doctor, it is incredibly important to be careful with the medication you are given. There are many drugs for anxiety, like Xanax and Klonopin that are very addictive themselves. Unless you take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor, you can start to abuse them and get addicted. Just because they come from a doctor certainly doesn’t make them safe.
Treating Anxiety and Addiction
When you come to treatment to help with an addiction for drugs and alcohol, a thorough physical and mental examination is done. This is to determine what kind of symptoms you have, and any possible underlying causes that contribute to your addiction. Anxiety and addiction are seen together very often.
While in treatment, your team of doctors will treat your anxiety alongside your addiction. This is known as a dual diagnosis. They will be treated at the same time, but separately so that individual attention is given to each affliction. As a result, your anxiety will be better managed and it will be much easier for you to stay sober.
Many people who suffer from anxiety don’t even know they do. Instead, they just feel uncomfortable and not at ease, which can lead them to drugs and alcohol to get some relief. If this sounds like you, it is very possible that you have anxiety, and doctors can help to ease your symptoms if they diagnose it correctly.
To treat anxiety, you will get a combination of safe, non-addictive medication alongside regular therapy. In addition, it is beneficial to live a healthy lifestyle. Eating well and exercising are known to really cut down levels of anxiety in people who are suffering.
As with all of recovery, it is important to have a long term treatment plan after you leave rehab to make sure your anxiety continues to be managed. If it isn’t, you’ll have a much higher chance of relapsing. Your treatment center can help to set you up with a doctor who can manage your medication, and a therapist to help talk to you about what is going on.
With some attention and care, any mood disorder can be managed and overcome in order to help you stay sober. Remember that self medicating with drugs and alcohol is never the right answer. Treating anxiety and addiction together is a necessity to make sure you can move forward into a sober lifestyle.