Anxiety and Substance Abuse

A variety of anxiety disorders can affect an individual. The origins of anxiety disorders are not fully understood, but researchers believe that a combination of genetics, environment, trauma and substance abuse (alcohol and/or drugs) are factors.

  • Social Anxiety or Social Phobia: A person suffering this Anxiety disorder has unreasonable fears about social situations. The sufferer is terrified that others will be critical, feel unprepared for the simplest tasks or may lack experience in social situations. This anxiety can develop into a panic attack.
  • Panic Disorder: People who suffer from panic attacks experience sudden bouts of fear. These can last for several minutes. It reflects a powerful fear of losing control or impending disaster even if there is no real danger. Symptoms are experienced physically.
  • PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a response to witnessing a life threatening event (childhood abuse, combat, natural disaster for example). People suffering from PTSD often develop other disorders if the PTSD is left untreated.

The impact of an anxiety disorder can be profound. A person responding to unrelenting anxiety can:

  • Become home bound
  • Become extremely nervous and tentative
  • Become unable to hold down a job
  • Become unable to socialize with friends and family
  • Become unable to utilize modes of transportation such as a plane, a train, a car
  • Become obsessed with and fearful of an object, an issue, a person
  • Become addicted to drugs or alcohol

Anxiety disorders can also be a symptom of certain drug abuse. The proper diagnosis becomes important. Does a person suffer from anxiety and use substances as a coping mechanism? Does a person suffer from substance abuse and develop anxiety because of the alcohol or drug abuse? The differences are significant and can affect the successful outcome of substance abuse treatment. Substance abuse treatment without attention to an anxiety disorder decreases the chances of long term recovery. If the anxiety disorder is treated without addressing addictive behaviors and thinking, the addiction will continue and grow worse.

Treatment Alternatives offers every client a full psychosocial evaluation to understand each client’s treatment needs. We do not believe in one size fits all treatment. We are passionate about providing everyone the best care and treatment possible. A comprehensive plan, based upon a thorough evaluation can determine the best way to approach a client’s mental health, physical and spiritual needs. Addiction with anxiety is debilitating, but at Treatment Alternatives we can help you back to health.


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