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Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse

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Dealing with mental health problems can be difficult enough on it’s own. Unfortunately, co-occurring disorders have the potential to worsen cases of substance abuse. In these instances, receiving care for both the substance abuse problem and the co-occurring disorder is paramount in an effective recovery process. The proper treatment can make the difference between temporary sobriety and sobriety that lasts. 

What is Anxiety Disorder?

Many people experience occasions of anxiety. However, when feeling anxiety becomes a chronic issue, anxiety disorder may be at play. For those who have anxiety disorder, feelings of anxiety increase to the point where individuals are not able to properly function during their day-to-day lives. These individuals often try to avoid certain situations or places in order to prevent feelings of anxiety. Anxiety disorder may start in childhood, but can also develop later on in life. There are a number of different types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Other specific phobias

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Symptoms of anxiety disorder vary from person to person, and the severity of symptoms can also vary. The most common symptoms of anxiety disorder include:

  • Intense worry
  • Fear
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Panic attacks
  • Sweaty palms 
  • Feeling faint or week
  • Shaking 
  • Feelings of doom
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Stomach issues 
  • Feeling restless 

What is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is the continued misuse of an addictive substance. The cycle of substance abuse begins the first time an individual tries a potentially addictive substance. Once the substance enters the body and is metabolized, the individual will begin to feel the effects of the substance. These effects may reduce their anxiety for a time, however once the effects wear off, more of the substance will need to be consumed in order to feel the same relief. As more of the substance is consumed, a tolerance to the substance will begin to build, meaning larger amounts of the substance must be ingested to feel the same effects. Eventually, a dependence on the substance will form, where the body requires the substance in order to properly function. 

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

There are many different symptoms of substance abuse, and symptoms will vary depending on the substance being ingested and the method of ingestion. Symptoms of substance abuse are both physical and behavioral. 

Behavioral symptoms of substance abuse include:

  • Changes in personality 
  • Changes in social life 
  • Changes in prioritization/responsibilities 
  • Anger or agitation
  • Fluctuations in mood 
  • Seeming confused 
  • Depression
  • Lethargy

Physical symptoms of substance abuse include: 

  • Glassy or bloodshot eyes 
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Changes in physical appearance 
  • Weight changes 
  • Sleep changes 

The Relationship Between Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse

There is an undeniable connection between anxiety disorder and occurrences of substance abuse. In many instances, substance abuse begins in an effort to feel relief from symptoms of anxiety disorder. Individuals may feel that their only option is consuming potentially addictive substances to feel better. Once the cycle of substance abuse begins, individuals can feel trapped in their addiction. The thought of not having their addictive substance becomes a source of anxiety, reinforcing their anxiety disorder and increasing their consumption of the addictive substance. 

Treatment options for Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse

There are a multitude of options when it comes to treatment for anxiety disorder and substance abuse. Both inpatient and outpatient treatments are available for anxiety disorder and substance abuse issues. However, due to the complexity of having a co-occurring disorder, those with anxiety disorder are typically recommended to attend inpatient treatment centers in California. Inpatient treatment centers are more equipped to address the issues of substance abuse along with co-occurring disorders, and clients are more likely to find success in their recovery through residential treatment programs. 

Inpatient and Residential Treatment for Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse

Clients who are beginning residential treatment for anxiety disorder and substance abuse will first go through a detoxification program. During detox, clients rid their bodies of the toxins within due to their substance abuse. Detox at residential treatment programs is commonly medically assisted, meaning physicians at the program may provide clients with medications meant to help lessen the symptoms of withdrawal. Clients will also answer a variety of questionnaires from both physicians and therapists in order to better document their symptoms of both substance abuse and anxiety disorder. 

After detoxification is complete, clients enter into a variety of therapies and other programs to help them address their anxiety disorder and substance abuse issues. Both group therapies and individual therapies are designed to help clients learn how to better cope with their anxiety, avoid triggers, and prevent substance abuse relapses. 

Clients are also encouraged to take part in group programs that they can continue after treatment ends, like Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Locating Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse Treatment 

Finding the right place to attend treatment is a very important aspect of recovery. The correct treatment facility has the potential to change client’s lives for the better. Those seeking treatment for anxiety disorder and substance abuse may be willing to travel for treatment. However, for some, traveling for treatment may be an additional source of anxiety. Receiving treatment locally may make clients with anxiety disorder feel more comfortable as they are in a familiar area. Treatment facilities for anxiety disorder and substance abuse can typically be found locally, though traveling a short distance for treatment may also be a good option for those seeking treatment. 

Paying for Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse Recovery Treatment 

Determining how to pay for treatment is one of the main things people think about when seeking help for anxiety disorder and substance abuse. The thought of covering the cost of treatment can be intimidating. Luckily, there are typically ways to cover the cost of anxiety disorder and substance abuse treatment both with and without insurance. Stresses about paying for treatment should never discourage individuals from seeking treatment, as receiving the proper care for anxiety disorder and substance abuse is typically possible through a number of different means, presenting clients with a multitude of options for their recovery journey. 

With Insurance 

Covering the cost of treatment for anxiety disorder and substance abuse treatment utilizing health insurance is one of the most common routes when it comes to paying for treatment. Different recovery facilities take different insurance plans, so contacting the facility you are interested in is recommended to see if they accept your particular insurance carrier. 

Substance abuse recovery is commonly covered either fully or partially under the behavioral health section of your health insurance plan. Contacting your insurance provider directly and speaking with a customer service representative is the best way to determine what your specific coverage is. 

Without Insurance 

Not everyone has the option to use insurance to cover their anxiety disorder and substance abuse recovery treatment. Those who do not have insurance also require rehabilitation, and covering the cost of treatment can seem impossible at times. However, there are still a few ways those without insurance coverage can cover the cost of their rehabilitation center stay. 

First, many anxiety disorder and substance abuse treatment centers are willing to work with clients in order to cover the cost of treatment. Centers may offer payment plans to clients who are paying for treatment out of pocket. 

Additionally, clients may wish to reach out to family and friends to help cover the cost of their treatment. Friends and family are often willing to help those seeking help pay for their recovery center stay. 

Final Thoughts about Anxiety Disorder and Substance Abuse Treatment 

Anxiety disorder and substance abuse issues have a way of worsening one another. Dealing with both of them can sometimes make recovery seem like an uphill battle. Attending the right treatment center to receive care for anxiety disorder and substance abuse treatment is the best way to win that battle. 

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