Studies released by The National Alliance on Mental Illness suggest anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health diagnosis in the United States. Some data indicates that as many as 19% of adults in the US have an anxiety disorder. Of those, very few will ever seek treatment at a treatment center like Casa Serena. Unfortunately, many turn to drugs or alcohol to dull their symptoms. While this may help in the short term, it frequently leads to addiction which further challenges recovery.

What are Anxiety Disorders?

Millions of people across the nation struggle with anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders each day. While some people may experience temporary anxiety, others experience overwhelming symptoms that interfere with many aspects of their day. Anxiety disorders are defined by The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI as “a persistent and ongoing struggle that interferes with your day-to-day life.” Anxiety disorders are not an illness restricted to a specific demographic or age group. In fact, most people diagnosed with an anxiety disorder will begin to experience symptoms in early childhood. Without treatment to understand and learn to manage their anxiety, their symptoms will persist and sometimes worsen throughout their lives.

There are several types of anxiety disorder. Many of these conditions share common symptoms such as persistent fear and worry. However, each “type” of anxiety has unique symptoms related to that specific condition. A typical example would be obsessions and compulsions identified with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although there are several types of anxiety disorder, five are more familiar to most people. They include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What is the Relationship Between Anxiety and Addiction?

Depending on the severity of anxiety symptoms, it is not uncommon for people with anxiety disorders to turn to a range of self-medication options to help them relax. Unfortunately, chronic drug and alcohol abuse can lead to other mental health conditions, including new or worsening anxiety symptoms. Studies have proven that someone struggling with a substance use disorder also has difficulties recovering from trauma, leading to anxiety and anxiety disorders.

When you drink or use drugs, serotonin and dopamine levels in the body increase. An increase in these neurotransmitters provides a sense of relaxation, calm, and happiness in the short term. However, once the effects of drugs or alcohol wear off, anxiety often returns at heightened levels. This is referred to as substance-induced anxiety.

How Does Anxiety Impact Addiction Recovery?

Substance-induced anxiety is a struggle experienced by many. When you struggle with painful anxiety, it is not uncommon to seek a way to relieve symptoms instantly. For some, alcohol or drugs achieve this goal.

Data from the National Institutes of Health suggest approximately 9% of Americans have substance-induced anxiety. Using substances to manage anxiety can hinder your ability to put struggles with anxiety disorder in the past as anxiety can worsen significantly during withdrawal.

Social anxiety disorders are another form of anxiety that frequently contributes to struggles with alcohol addiction. A report from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that approximately 20% of people who experience symptoms of social anxiety also have an alcohol use disorder. People who have social anxiety struggle to feel comfortable in social settings. Alcohol often helps to reduce feelings of discomfort and increase social capabilities.

Seeking help at a dual-diagnosis treatment center is the safest and most effective way to address co-occurring anxiety and addiction symptoms.

At a dual-diagnosis treatment center, specialists skilled in handling the unique nature of co-occurring conditions can help you understand your symptoms and learn safer ways to manage anxiety triggers. Not all treatment centers are equipped to manage dual-diagnosis, so it is essential to choose a treatment program where the staff is trained to address these treatment needs.


How to Find Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Santa Barbara, CA

A dual diagnosis occurs when you experience two conditions (such as anxiety and a substance use disorder) simultaneously. Several research studies indicate up to half of those with a mental illness also have a substance use disorder. Dual diagnosis conditions have many shared symptoms; therefore, the best opportunity for recovery and sobriety is to choose a treatment program like Casa Serena, where dual diagnosis treatment is available.If you or a loved one experiences symptoms of a dual diagnosis like anxiety and a substance use disorder, choosing dual diagnosis treatment is a vital part of your recovery. It is important to find a treatment program that addresses the needs of both conditions as addressing only one condition increases your potential for relapse in symptoms and a return to using substances to cope. Not all treatment programs are designed to treat dual diagnosis conditions, and therefore, it is vital to find one where therapy will meet your needs. Let us help you find the best dual diagnosis treatment in Santa Barbara. Contact a member of our admissions team to learn more about our women’s treatment programs and how we can help you begin your journey to healing.

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