Anxiety is an emotion that is expressed naturally by your body in response to stress. This is a feeling of fear or apprehension about the uncertainty of the future or events like the first day at a new job, a test, or a job interview.
This is a healthy feeling at normal levels and helps you stay alert and aware in unknown situations. However, those who are suffering from an anxiety disorder will experience high levels of anxiety. These higher levels can be overwhelming and debilitating because they interfere with the person’s ability to lead a functioning life.
Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses that can prevent people from socializing, sleeping, and performing their daily activities. People suffering from an anxiety disorder may feel constant and irrational worry as well as disproportionate fear. This disorder can become uncontrollable, causing serious psychological and physical effects.
The main psychological symptoms of anxiety include:
The main physical symptoms of anxiety include:
It is important to note that anxiety is not a weakness or a personal fault but typically stems from several different causes. Every case of anxiety is different, and there is rarely only one cause. People can develop an anxiety disorder due to several factors, including:
If you are diagnosed with anxiety, it is essential to understand and identify your anxiety triggers, both the emotional and physical symptoms that indicate the onset of an anxiety episode. This will help you in therapy to develop effective coping strategies.
It is a common occurrence for people who suffer from anxiety to self-medicate or abuse alcohol or drugs to try and cope with their anxiety symptoms. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, individuals who suffer from anxiety are two times more likely to suffer from substance abuse than the general population.
Drug and alcohol abuse amplifies the effects of anxiety. This means the person using drugs or alcohol to cope gets stuck in a vicious cycle. First, they use more drugs or alcohol, strengthening both the physical and psychological symptoms of their anxiety, which then causes them to increase their drug or alcohol intake to continue functioning normally.
This cycle leads to developing a tolerance to drugs or alcohol, which ultimately creates a cycle of substance abuse resulting in physical dependency and addiction.
A dual diagnosis is a medical term used to describe the existence of a diagnosis of an addictive disorder such as drug addiction with an anxiety disorder or other type of mental illness.
If you are seeking anxiety and/or addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, South Hills Recovery Project can help. Please contact South Hills Recovery Project to learn more about your treatment options today.