Anxiety and Addiction: A Co-Occurring Disorder

Anxiety and Addiction: A Co-Occurring Disorder

Many people do not realize that other disorders can go hand-in-hand with drug or alcohol addiction. However, once the addiction is researched more fully, a well-rounded perspective can be achieved. A person dealing with the diagnosis of two illnesses, such as anxiety and addiction, is a person with a dual diagnosis.

If you think you or a loved one are suffering from this problem, the following information will help give you:

  • An overview of anxiety & its symptoms
  • An overview of drug and alcohol addiction & its symptoms
  • The definition of a co-occurring disorder
  • How two disorders affect a person
  • Treatment options

Anxiety Disorders

It is common for people to deal with anxiety by avoiding triggers, but a person struggling with an anxiety disorder faces crippling worry or stress, often on a day-to-day basis. This affects their ability to complete daily functions efficiently and effectively.

Anxiety is a broad term, but anxiety disorders manifest themselves differently depending on the person. Anxiety disorders include:

  • Phobias
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The symptoms of anxiety are wide-ranging and include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Bouts of uneasiness and/or nausea
  • Feelings of panic and/or fear
  • Restlessness
  • Hands or feet that are cold, sweaty, numb, or tingling
  • Dry mouth
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tense muscles
  • Vertigo

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A person dealing with addiction has formed a habit and regularly turns to a drug or alcohol as a form of comfort, a means of coping, or a feeling of relief or escape. Repeated instances of getting high or drunk, brain chemistry is altered and can no longer respond effectively to intense impulses.

Other things can contribute to addiction, such as:

  • A person’s environment
  • Biology
  • The age at which a drug is first used
  • Type of drug/alcohol or the method of administration

Symptoms Of Addiction

Understanding the complexities of addiction can seem overwhelming. After all, addiction affects many facets of a person’s life, including:

  • Sleep disruptions
  • Abandoning previously enjoyed activities
  • Life revolving around the next “fix”
  • Continuing to use drugs despite negative consequences
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Health problems
  • Mental/emotional inconsistency
  • Building up a tolerance/needing to increase substance intake to achieve the same feeling

Co-Occurring Disorders

If someone is struggling with both addiction and anxiety, he or she is said to have a co-occurring disorder (dual diagnosis). This simply means that each disorder is affecting the person simultaneously. With this said, the results of being burdened with two illnesses at the same time is not so simple.

Anxiety And Addiction Paired

Coupled with anxiety, addiction can make a person’s life completely debilitating. This can include problems with:

  • Maintaining healthy relationships
  • Degree of employment performance
  • Level of decision-making skills
  • The ability to cope with everyday situations
  • A person’s mental, emotional, and physical health

When a person suffers with both addiction and anxiety, the two disorders can play off of each other. For example, a person with bouts of anxiety may use a drug or drink in order to relax or numb themselves. Conversely, the intake of a substance, the negative consequences of its use, and/or withdrawal from its use can simultaneously cause episodes of anxiety.

Treatment Options

Despite the complex nature of a co-occurring disorder, treatment options are available. Because a dual diagnosis has extensive effects on a person’s life, it is important to get involved in an adequate and high-quality rehabilitation program that takes on a holistic approach.

In other words, finding a drug and alcohol rehab facility that acknowledges the importance of treating a person for overall wellness is imperative to a successful and lasting recovery. Most rehabilitation centers have qualified medical staff that highly regard the need for attentiveness to its patients and the factors that are contributing or perpetuating the addiction.

Getting Help

Reaching out for help is a huge first step. If anxiety and addiction are bombarding your life, getting effective treatment is absolutely necessary. There are professional guidance counselors available to assist you in finding a rehab center that exceeds your expectations. Contact one of our counselors at today to get the help you need.

View 2 Responses to “Anxiety and Addiction: A Co-Occurring Disorder”

looking for my 32 son. No $ no job. Been in jail for drugs. Out March 25. Extent ended family has no $.
Live in south Orange County california

Hi, Cheryl! Please contact us ASAP at 800-406-7633 so that we can help you and your son before March 25!

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