Treating Anxiety Disorders and Co-Occurring Conditions
Understanding the critical intersection of anxiety disorders and other mental disorders is crucial in our commitment to supporting patients on their journey to mental wellness. Many individuals dealing with anxiety are also wrestling with the lingering effects of past traumas—a situation often referred to as a dual diagnosis. Additionally, substance abuse is also commonly co-occurring with anxiety disorder.
Recognizing and addressing this dual diagnosis is central to our approach. When it comes to anxiety treatment, Acqua Recovery in Utah is your solution because we use a variety of therapeutic modalities designed to help patients untangle these complex psychological threads and guide them toward a healthier future. Acqua provides a beacon of hope to those struggling with mental illness and substance use-related disorders.
Anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, stress, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. Emotions include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event, inability to set aside worry, and restlessness.
It’s important to note that while everyone experiences anxiety at times, it becomes a disorder when the feelings don’t go away, get worse over time, or interfere with your daily life and ability to function.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an anxiety disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s crucial to take care of both.
Anxiety disorders can manifest in a variety of ways, and symptoms can vary greatly between individuals. However, there are several common signs and symptoms that may indicate someone is dealing with an anxiety disorder. These include:
- Excessive Worry: This is often the most common symptom. The worry associated with anxiety disorders is disproportionate to the events that trigger it and generally occurs in response to normal, everyday situations.
- Restlessness: People with anxiety often report feeling “on edge” or unable to relax.
- Fatigue: This could occur as a result of constant worry, or it could be a symptom itself.
- Difficulty Concentrating: Anxiety can make it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand. Thoughts may quickly wander, making it hard to accomplish tasks.
- Irritability: Individuals with anxiety disorders may get easily irritated.
- Sleep Problems: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep is common in people with anxiety. Nightmares or night terrors can also occur.
- Muscle Tension: Constant muscle tension, whether it consists of clenching your jaw, balling your fists, or flexing muscles throughout your body, often accompanies anxiety disorders.
- Panic Attacks: These are characterized by symptoms like sweating, trembling, shortness of breath or a feeling of choking, a pounding heart or rapid heart rate, and feelings of impending doom.
- Avoidance: Some people will avoid situations to prevent or lessen feelings of anxiety.
- Physical Symptoms: These can include headaches, stomachaches, and unexplained aches and pains.
These symptoms can interfere significantly with daily activities. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with its own unique features. Here are the main types:
People with GAD display excessive anxiety or worry for months and face several anxiety-related symptoms. GAD often involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
This disorder is characterized by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks, as well as fear of experiencing more episodes. Panic disorder may also include agoraphobia, which is a fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment.
A phobia is an exaggerated fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. Some common examples include specific phobias, social phobia (or social anxiety disorder), and agoraphobia. The fear is out of proportion to the actual danger caused by the situation or object.
This is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social settings. People with this disorder have trouble talking to people, meeting new people, and attending social gatherings. They fear being humiliated, embarrassed, or judged by other people.
People with OCD may experience obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships. Individuals suffering from OCD may struggle with leaving their homes due to their obsessions and compulsions.
PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting, frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb. Treatment for PTSD in Utah involves processing trauma and learning how to cope with triggers.
This is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that’s excessive for the child’s developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.
Each of these disorders has specific characteristics that make them unique, but they all revolve around the central theme of excessive, irrational fear and dread. It’s important to note that only a certified healthcare professional can diagnose these disorders.
At an expert anxiety and dual-diagnosis treatment center, individuals can expect a comprehensive, holistic approach to their care. Common forms of care include:
Inpatient treatment is often recommended for individuals with severe anxiety disorders or those who also have a dual diagnosis. This type of treatment provides 24/7 medical supervision and support, ensuring the safety and well-being of the patient.
Inpatient treatment in Utah may include individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and various other therapeutic activities. It allows for immediate response in case of crisis, and constant support can help individuals better understand their disorders and learn effective coping strategies.
Outpatient treatment typically follows inpatient treatment but can also serve as the primary mode of treatment for some individuals. This allows individuals to continue their recovery therapies on a part-time yet intensive schedule designed to accommodate work and family life.
Outpatient treatment might include continuing individual counseling, group sessions, educational classes, and continued medication management. It enables individuals to apply the skills learned in a real-world environment while still having professional support.
Many types of therapy can be effective in treating anxiety and dual-diagnosis disorders, including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This helps individuals identify and change thought patterns that lead to harmful behaviors or feelings of anxiety.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT focuses on teaching coping skills to combat destructive urges, encourages mindfulness, and improves relationships.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This is often used for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and involves processing and making sense of traumatic memories.
- Family Therapy: This involves family members in the treatment process to understand the disorder better and learn how to support their loved one best.
Medication can be an essential part of treatment for anxiety and dual-diagnosis disorders. Medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or mood stabilizers can be used to manage symptoms and promote recovery.
Each of these treatment modalities plays a crucial role in dual diagnosis treatment:
- Inpatient and outpatient programs provide the structure and support needed to address both disorders simultaneously.
- Various therapy types can help individuals understand their disorders, develop coping strategies, and work through any underlying issues that may contribute to their conditions.
- Medication can help manage symptoms and stabilize mood, making it easier for individuals to engage in therapy.
It’s important to remember that every person is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Addressing anxiety requires courage, and it’s important to remember that seeking help is the first significant step towards recovery. Anxiety treatments should be customized to meet individual needs and to address the unique concerns that each person experiences.
Experiencing unresolved trauma and addiction, whether as a singular event or a series of distressing occurrences, can greatly distort an individual’s emotional and psychological stability, often leading to the onset of anxiety. The residual impact of trauma can instill a sense of ongoing danger and uncertainty, creating fertile ground for the development of anxiety disorders.
Without learning how to control anxiety, this heightened state of anxiety can persist long after the traumatic incident has passed. This leaves individuals in a state of perpetual unease and fear.
In the throes of overwhelming anxiety, some people may rely on drugs or alcohol as a means of self-medicating. This is a misguided attempt to gain relief from the intense feelings that are associated with anxiety disorder. This short-lived relief can lead to a perilous path toward addiction. As tolerance to these substances grows, individuals often find themselves consuming more to achieve the same calming effect, further amplifying their anxiety in the process.
Attempting to treat mental health issues by self-medicating is a harmful cycle that can exacerbate the original condition if left untreated. This is known as substance-induced anxiety disorder. Having a treatment plan for anxiety should be established so that individuals can stay on track. Otherwise, you could cause much worse mental health challenges.
Perhaps you’ve asked yourself, “Do I need dual diagnosis treatment?” In addressing conditions like anxiety and addiction, it’s imperative to recognize their interconnectedness. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both the substance abuse issue and the underlying mental health disorder, addressing them concurrently. Without this integrated focus, treatment may not break the continuous cycle, as the untreated condition could lead to a relapse.
The importance and gravity of treating a dual diagnosis cannot be overstated. It’s a complex process that requires specialized attention to ensure the complete healing of the individual.
Acqua Recovery, a tranquil sanctuary that offers superior anxiety treatment in Utah, offers a holistic and individualized approach to dual diagnosis treatment for anxiety and addiction. We combine proven therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices to provide comprehensive care. Our compassionate team is dedicated to guiding you on your journey toward recovery, and we offer the best treatments for anxiety that are tailored to your specific needs.
Amid the complexity of dual diagnosis, you’re not alone. At Acqua Recovery, we’re here to help you reclaim a hopeful and healthier future.
Take the first step to transforming your life.
Frequently Asked Questions About Anxiety Treatment
Therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), has been found to be very effective in treating anxiety disorders. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, CBT is considered the “gold standard” of anxiety treatment, and research has demonstrated its effectiveness in treating various types of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.
CBT works by helping individuals identify and challenge their negative thought patterns and behaviors. They learn to replace these with more positive and realistic thoughts and responses. Over time, this can decrease symptoms of anxiety and improve quality of life.
The necessity of medication for treating anxiety can vary greatly from person to person, and it’s a decision that should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.
For some people, therapy alone can be very effective in managing anxiety symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for instance, has been shown to be particularly effective in treating various types of anxiety disorders.
However, for others, medication may be necessary either as a short-term solution to help manage acute symptoms or as a longer-term strategy for chronic anxiety. Medications commonly used to treat anxiety include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), benzodiazepines, and certain types of antidepressants.
The duration of anxiety treatment can vary widely from person to person, depending on the severity of the anxiety, the specific type of anxiety disorder, the individual’s response to treatment, and other factors.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a common type of therapy used to treat anxiety disorders, typically involves 12 to 16 sessions, which means treatment could last around three to four months if attending weekly sessions. However, some people might need more or fewer sessions.
Medication for anxiety, if used, may often be prescribed for a similar timeframe at first, but again, this can vary. Some people might find that they need medication for a longer period, while others might only need it for a short time.
Yes, there are several natural remedies and alternative treatments that may help with anxiety.
Regular exercise is good for your physical and emotional health. Regular exercise works, as well as medication to ease anxiety for some people. Also, limiting your caffeine, alcohol, or smoking. These provoke anxiety and have been known to cause panic attacks.
Additionally, using relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga can reduce symptoms of anxiety and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.
While it’s possible to manage symptoms of anxiety on your own to some extent, it’s important to remember that anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions that often require professional treatment.
That said, there are a number of self-care strategies that can help you manage symptoms of anxiety. Natural remedies and lifestyle changes can greatly reduce mental illness but most individuals are only able to eliminate symptoms after long-term effective treatment.