Is Your Loved One Treating Anxiety with Alcohol or Drugs?

Anxiety is a widespread problem in this country, and about 40 million people suffer from this condition, which is about one in five folks. Dealing with this mental health disorder can be crippling, and people don’t know how to do so without getting the help of a medical team. Sadly, there’s still such a stigma surrounding any type of mental health treatment that many people would rather suffer in silence. Is your family member using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate the pain from their anxiety? When someone has an anxiety issue and a substance abuse problem, it’s more complex to treat. Rather than checking someone into a rehabilitation facility for a drug problem, you need to seek the help of a dual diagnosis center that can treat the root cause of the anxiety. If the core issue is not treated, it’s doubtful that they will achieve sobriety. Thankfully, these centers are trained to deal with the mental health aspects and addiction simultaneously.

Understanding Anxiety

Being nervous or shy doesn’t necessarily make a person anxious. However, people use this term as a byword to describe someone who feels uncomfortable in new situations or is socially awkward. Nevertheless, having an actual anxiety disorder is much more complicated than being shy, and it’s miserable if left untreated. The feelings that this disorder causes are why so many people turn to drugs or alcohol to dull the pain. No one starts with the desire to have a substance abuse issue, but soon they find themselves with two conditions and unable to stop an addiction that’s taken over their life. When someone has constant stressors and tends to ruminate about their problems, it’s indicative of an anxiety disorder. The most common type is generalized or GAD, which fears things like having a car wreck or the house catching on fire. These are worries that will never happen, but the person with anxiety is concerned about them anyway.

The Symptoms of Anxiety

The symptoms of generalized anxiety are pretty much the same for everyone, though there will be some slight variations. Your loved one might experience things like:

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pains
  • Intense fears
  • The need to escape
  • Feeling trapped
  • Breathing difficulties

Though there are several types of anxiety, these feelings can accompany most. Drugs or alcohol help numb the pain, but its effects are short-lived. Getting your loved one help for both conditions can save their life. Soon their body builds up a tolerance to the drug, and they need more to find the relief they crave.

Various Types of Anxiety

Anxiety attacks the central nervous system, and it causes a person to experience an increase in blood flow. This increase can make the brain go into overdrive, and the individual will experience things like rapid heart rate and sweating. Doctors prescribe medications like antidepressants and benzodiazepines to combat these symptoms, as they decrease the central nervous system to dull the effects. However, drugs and alcohol can also do the same thing, which makes an addiction with anxiety at the core dangerous. Here are some other types of anxiety that a dual-diagnosis center can treat.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is where the anxiety builds to the point of an attack. These incidents can be pretty scary as the person feels like they’re dying or having a heart attack. These brief periods of sheer panic can be terrifying, and the need to medicate them away becomes undeniable.

Social Anxiety

A person suffering from social anxiety becomes physically ill when in large crowds or social situations. Even going to a supermarket is overwhelming. Soon, a person may develop agoraphobia, where they avoid leaving their home for fear of an anxiety attack.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Someone with OCD experiences intense feelings to doing repetitive things like locking or unlocking the door. These obsessive thoughts dominate their day, and they can take over their life.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is commonly seen in those who’ve experienced some sort of trauma. They will relieve the moments and have great anxiety about anything that reminds them of those events. It’s often observed in people who’ve fought in a war or been through horrible experiences in life.

Treating Addiction and Mental Illness

Is your loved one caught in the vicious cycle of trying to treat their anxiety issues with drugs or alcohol? Anxiety is a very treatable condition, and so is addiction. If your loved one is ready to get help, call us today at 833-497-3812! We have representatives standing by 24×7 who are prepared to help them start their journey toward sobriety.