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Treating Addiction with Anxiety Disorders

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While a certain amount of anxiety is normal for everyone, perhaps when you are waiting to hear back about a job interview or expecting to have an unpleasant interaction with someone, anxiety becomes a mental health disorder when these anxious feelings don’t simply pass as the moments pass. Those who suffer with constant anxious feelings, thoughts and behaviors are often diagnosed with anxiety disorder.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Not all anxiety disorders are the same. There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders that will affect patients differently. Some examples are:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This is a common form of anxiety disorder. Patients who have GAD worry about their day-to-day lives excessively without a legitimate cause for concern. Patients who are plagued with GAD expect things to go wrong in their lives. They always assume the worst to happen. Sometimes their anxiety is so severe that they are unable to eat, sleep or function in everyday life. Those who suffer with generalized anxiety disorder cannot always figure out exactly what they are anxious about. There is just an overwhelming sense that things are going to go wrong.

Social Anxiety Disorder

People who have social anxiety disorder tend to avoid social interactions or social activity. They have an extreme fear of embarrassing themselves in public situations or being judged by others. Most people have a normal degree of this with a fear of public speaking, for example, but those who have social anxiety disorder will go out of their way to avoid social interactions, often in a way that is disruptive to work duties, family commitments and normal life.


When people have phobias, they have irrational and debilitating fears of objects, situations and places. Even if they can logically understand that their fears are irrational, they will still have an extreme reaction when confronted with their fears. What differentiates a phobia from a discomfort is that phobias last longer than six months.

Panic Disorder

Patients who experience frequent panic attacks – a state of intense fear and panic that can lead to nausea, loss of balance, trembling, accelerated heart rate and breathing problems – have panic disorders. While it isn’t entirely uncommon to have an occasional panic attack, true panic disorders only affect about one in every 75 people, according to the American Psychiatric Association. While most panic attacks will pass within about 10 minutes or so, patients with panic disorder can sometimes have one panic attack after another within a few hours.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

OCD is one of the most common anxiety disorders that causes people to have unreasonable persistent thoughts or fears (obsessions) that then cause them to perform repetitive actions (compulsions) like washing their hands for hours at a time or turning a light switch on and off repeatedly every time they enter a room.

Anxiety Treatment

There are many different approaches to anxiety treatment. It is recommended that everyone with an anxiety disorder seek out regular therapy. There are a number of helpful methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy that a licensed psychologist will often help patients to pursue.

Anxiety disorders can also be treated with medications. Some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used to treat both depression and anxiety, like Paxil and Lexapro. Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium can also be used to treat anxiety, though these medications work better for acute episodes of anxiety. Benzodiazepines can also be addictive, and patients are discouraged from taking them every day for a long period of time.

Anxiety and Substance Use Disorders

Many people with anxiety disorders also have substance use disorders. Alcohol in particular is a problem for patients with anxiety disorders. Because alcohol is a depressant and can initially lessen someone’s anxiety, it’s easy to understand why a person with an anxiety disorder may develop a drinking problem. Others with anxiety disorders self-medicate with benzodiazepines or other substances.

Patients who present for substance abuse treatment that also have anxiety disorders must make sure that they are receiving treatment for co-occurring disorders. Fortunately, facilities like The Recovery Village Ridgefield are equipped to treat patients with a duel diagnosis. Our facility is conveniently located within a three-hour drive of Seattle, Washington, and our addiction specialists and healthcare professionals are committed to helping patients find the healing they need to begin a path to true recovery.

Give us a call today and have a confidential conversation with one of our compassionate addiction specialists. You don’t need to suffer any longer. Help is available if you are willing to ask for it.



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