Millions of Americans struggle with substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring mental health issues, including anxiety disorders. The Harvard Review of Psychiatry reported, “Anxiety disorders and substance use disorders are among the most prevalent psychiatric illnesses.” Severe anxiety can significantly affect a person’s ability to combat addiction. Facilities like Bella Monte Recovery Center treat anxiety, SUD and other co-occurring disorders using evidence-based and holistic methods.
Connections Between Anxiety and SUD
If you have an anxiety disorder, you are more likely to develop SUD. Most rehabilitation programs treat both conditions simultaneously due to the many ways they are linked together, including:
- Self-medicating to cope with chronic anxiety can lead to dependency and addiction
- Anxiety is a common side effect of many substances
- Anxiety is often a symptom of withdrawal
- Significant life changes, including addiction and treatment, can cause acute or chronic anxiety
Some people struggle with multiple forms of anxiety and require additional therapy to ensure the symptoms do not negatively influence their recovery. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “The five major types of anxiety disorders” include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
Anxiety and panic disorders often have symptoms that overlap with SUD, which can make them difficult to diagnose. Untreated anxiety disorders have the potential to interfere with the rehabilitation process.
Anxiety Can Complicate Treatment
Anxiety symptoms, including panic attacks, dissociation, or difficulty concentrating, can complicate treatment. In addition, pre-existing anxiety disorders may worsen symptoms related to substance misuse. Bella Monte Recovery Center and other rehabilitation facilities use holistic care to ensure our clients have access to evidence-based and alternative therapies to treat various health issues, including anxiety-related disorders. If you have anxiety, it can affect your recovery in the following ways:
- Worry about the future can decrease self-confidence
- Stress contributes to ambivalence about treatment and recovery
- Withdrawal can cause a spike in anxiety that makes it hard to focus on treatment
Anyone who has difficulty processing or coping with daily stressors might feel overwhelmed during the detox, withdrawal, and rehabilitation stages of recovery. Your clinical team will work with you to determine what current and underlying conditions may have contributed to the development of your SUD and how best to avoid future relapse.
Substance Use Disorder and Anxiety
Addictive substances physically affect the brain and other body systems, impacting mental health and worsening anxiety symptoms. Additional ways substance misuse can affect anxiety include:
- Financial strain
- Illness, injury, or accidents
- Relationship issues
- Legal problems
- Unstable living conditions
- Problems at work or loss of employment
Many people who live with the effects of addiction have decreased quality of life and increased risk factors for high stress and co-occurring mental health disorders. Some people use alcohol and other substances to cope with the side effects of anxiety.
Anxiety and SUD Need Simultaneous Treatments
Your anxiety and SUD symptoms can feed off one another. According to Social Work in Public Health, “Anxiety disorders modify the presentation and treatment outcome of SUDs, and SUDs modify the presentation and treatment outcome for anxiety disorders.” Bella Monte Recovery Center uses various methods to relieve the effects of anxiety experienced by clients in treatment for substance misuse. A few of the common treatments for anxiety include:
- Prescription medication
- Peer support
- Trauma-focused therapy
- Individual and group talk therapy
- Holistic therapies
To avoid complications, it is essential to actively address both conditions using whatever methods work best for your diagnosis. The personalized treatment plans we provide will allow you to collaborate with the clinical team to achieve the best possible outcome.
Mindfulness and Managing Anxiety
Anxiety is often caused by focusing on past events or future scenarios. One way to manage anxiety is by lowering stress by focusing your concentration on the current moment through mindfulness-based techniques. Some popular mindfulness-based methods include:
- Grounding exercises
- Mindfulness-based techniques
- Relaxation exercises
- Relapse prevention strategies
- Essential skill development
Long-term sobriety is easier to achieve and maintain when you have reliable ways to avoid or manage daily stressors. Breaking the cycle of addiction and addressing problem areas that increase your anxiety can lower your overall stress level and improve your quality of life.
Recovery is a lifelong process of healing that does not end after treatment. Healthy changes require time, hard work, and dedication. Bella Monte Recovery Center provides high-quality services and treatment options to ensure our clients have access to the resources they need to overcome anxiety and recover from the effects of SUD.
Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. However, it becomes an issue when it begins to interfere with your ability to function day-to-day. Even mild symptoms can interfere with the long-term recovery of individuals who live with chronic stress or trauma-related disorders. Bella Monte Recovery Center uses various evidence-based and alternative therapies to provide relief from the effects of anxiety and stress. Psychotherapy, peer support, medication, and holistic treatments are available to every client participating in our recovery programs. You do not have to keep living with the side effects of constant anxiety. We believe everyone deserves to feel safe and supported during rehabilitation, and our trauma-informed approach decreases discomfort and reduces stress. The treatments we offer at Bella Monte Recovery Center will give you the relief you need to focus on healing and maintaining long-term sobriety. To learn more, call us today at (800) 974-1938.