Anxiety is a word often used passingly, thrown into the wind without a care in the world. There are no doubt stressors in life like school, work, events, work events, and others. Everybody, at some point or another, has felt the weight of stress. Being nervous or stressed is normal, and anxiety is a natural byproduct of all of this. However, feeling anxious and suffering from an anxiety disorder are two completely different struggles.
Anxiety disorders are not a walk in the park, nor are they easy to get over. Suffering from an anxiety disorder is paralyzing. Some of the most simple tasks become impossible to manage under the weight of anxiety. Oftentimes, individuals will try finding ways to cope with their anxiety disorder by turning to substances of abuse to numb the pain.
While this may help numb the pain, there’s a chance those coping in this regard may wind up making things worse. Coping in a dangerous way like substance abuse can lead to addiction. So how should those suffering from an anxiety disorder cope? Are there options available for them to get over their anxiety disorder and learn more about how to combat it in healthy ways?
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
An anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by anxiety or dread, severely interfering with a person’s overall daily function. These are the most prevalent of all mental health disorders. So much so, that 30 percent of adults have struggled with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. What’s worse is that it impacts every area of life. Some people are so perpetually anxious that they begin struggling at their jobs, in their studies, and in their social lives.
What Causes an Anxiety Disorder?
Many things can lead a person to develop an anxiety disorder. Some of these may include the following factors:
Sometimes anxiety disorders come as a result of another mental health disorder. They can also be triggered chemically and biologically. Some research has shown that certain parts of the brain require serotonin to function well; if a person is not getting enough serotonin, they’ll become anxious.
How is Someone Diagnosed With an Anxiety Disorder?
A person is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when the following is true:
- Anxiety doesn’t make sense for a person’s age
- Anxiety disrupts a person’s ability to function consistently
- Anxiety is not a sensible reaction to the given circumstance of someone’s life
No matter how a person develops the disorder, anxiety is an unfortunate reality to deal with daily. Thankfully, at Tulua Health, we are more than willing to help individuals find the best treatment options for them. Treating each person’s individual needs is of the utmost significance. Some people may only be dealing with an anxiety disorder while others are dealing with both an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder; this is referred to as a dual diagnosis.
What is Dual Diagnosis?
A dual diagnosis is when a person deals with a substance use disorder and another mental health disorder simultaneously. This could include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and others. While it may seem very niche to deal with on the surface, nearly 45% of people in the United States have been dually diagnosed.
Finding quality treatment for an anxiety disorder is already difficult enough without throwing substance abuse into the mix. Most of the time, this leads a person’s conditions to worsen. The anxiety of finding treatment combined with the anxiety they’re already struggling with is enough to lead to self-medication. Self-medicating with substance abuse on top of a pre-existing condition is more than enough to worsen a person’s health.
Most often it’s difficult for a person to discern whether or not they are dealing with a dual diagnosis. This is why it’s imperative to seek professional help. Oftentimes the symptoms of a dual diagnosis are overlooked. Diagnosing a person is a very delicate process.
Finding the cause of a person’s illness is the correct way to do so rather than solely treating the symptoms. This is because those who suffer from mental health disorders may cope with drugs or alcohol. If a doctor is only treating the symptoms, they may try weaning them off the substances; this, however, will do nothing to alleviate their pre-existing mental health disorder.
What Causes Dual Diagnosis?
Those suffering from a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety may turn to drug or alcohol abuse to cope; this has the potential to cause a dual diagnosis. In addition, if a person is abusing substances consistently, it could increase the likelihood of developing a mental health disorder. Addiction is a harsh reality to face; the potential shame it could bring onto a person is enough to develop an anxiety disorder.
Not only that, but those who develop an addiction may develop withdrawal symptoms when they’re not using. Some of these symptoms include anxiety, depression, mood swings, or bipolar disorder. Sometimes, as a result of all this, a person’s condition can worsen.
When a person deals with a mental health disorder, it’s effortless to cope with anything on-hand. Substances of abuse may be easy to access, leading to use, abuse, and addiction. All in all, this has the potential to worsen a person’s disorder. The longer this goes on, the more likely they will be to develop a dependence.
What Are The Signs of a Co-Occurring Disorder?
The signs of a co-occurring disorder are identifiable if you know what to look for; they may include the following:
- Lack of concentration
- Depressive episodes
- Legal issues
- Mood swings
- Lack of emotional control
Dual diagnosis is a common occurrence in the field of mental health; however, it doesn’t mean it’ll show up at your doorstep and introduce itself. Just because it happens to you or someone you love doesn’t mean all hope is lost; it can affect anybody at any time. A co-occurring disorder has no respect for boundaries or the well-being of a person’s family or own life. It’s because of this that it’s imperative to be educated before it takes more of a hold on a person you love.
Treating Dual Diagnosis at Tulua Health
At Tulua Health, treating a dual diagnosis requires our professional staff to assess the individual’s unique needs. The most important part of treating any mental illness is ensuring a personal plan rather than a cookie-cutter solution. There is no room for cookie-cutter solutions at Tulua Health; we care too much about your health and growth not to get you where you want to be.
Sometimes people don’t realize they’ve been using alcohol or drugs to cope with their anxiety. It’s not uncommon for people to not recognize an anxiety disorder. Most often, individuals just want to keep going and moving forward. This is when someone knowingly (or unknowingly) uses substances to cope with their mental health disorder. The worst part about all of this is that it doesn’t help.
Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol has dangerous and addictive potential. At Tulua Health, our anxiety treatment program in California can assist you with your battle. Anxiety and drug or substance use don’t have to have the final say.
It’s also possible that a person who is suffering from a substance use disorder could potentially develop depression. Not only that, but other mental health disorders could come as a direct result of prolonged substance abuse. At Tulua Health, our programs are designed to meet those struggling where they’re at and help them however we may need to.
What Kinds of Anxiety Disorders Are There?
Some different kinds of anxiety disorders may include the following:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Specific Phobias
- Social Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is a behavioral health disorder that causes a person to excessively worry or feel an overwhelming sense of dread. With a generalized anxiety disorder, this fear or worry is perpetual; it could either be about everyday things, or it could be nothing. Some people have a difficult time discerning what it is they’re worried about, and it could be completely non-circumstantial. This is because mental health disorders often have a lot to do with a person’s chemical makeup.
Some symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder include extreme fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, headaches, stomachaches, and restlessness. These symptoms are debilitating and oftentimes paralyzing. This could cause a person to lose all ability to function well mentally.
Panic disorders are mental health disorders in which a person has excessive or recurring panic attacks. Those who suffer from this disorder experience psychological and physical symptoms; these are often severe and debilitating. Sometimes a person may feel as though they are having a heart attack with symptoms that include the following:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Nausea and vomiting
- Lump in the throat
- Lump in the chest
Phobias are a consistent, persistent, and excessive fear of something that is not commonly dangerous in everyday life. Typically someone suffers from a phobia if they cannot control their anxiety symptoms when they encounter the subject of their fear. Not only that, but those who suffer from a phobia will go to extreme lengths to avoid the subject of their fear.
A social anxiety disorder has to do with a fear of awkward moments and being humiliated or rejected in a social setting. When a person deals with a social anxiety disorder, they are unable to control their anxiety in social situations. All of these disorders can be overcome in our anxiety treatment program in California.
Tulua Health is Here to Help
Anxiety disorders are not easy to endure. It is often difficult to confide in someone concerning a mental health disorder. At Tulua Health, our goal is to help people with their mental health disorders, walking with them through it all. There are resources available to help you. If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health disorder and would like to learn about our anxiety treatment program in California, you can contact us here.