Drug Addiction and Anxiety Disorder Treatment

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When you are dealing with both drug addiction and anxiety disorder, it is important to get the right treatment. It is never successful if just one of the conditions is treated at a time because half the problem is still there to work through. The good news is that a good treatment center will be able to recognize both conditions and can treat them, even when the patient is not aware that both problems are there. With the right medical team on your side, you will be able to take care of your health and live life without drug addiction or the anxiety.

Overview of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is an issue that a lot of Americans suffer with at one point or another. There are many situations in our lives that can lead us to feel anxious and worried about what is going on around us. More Americans are going to suffer from these anxiety disorders compared to the other mental illnesses. Sometimes the anxiety will become overwhelming and can take over the life of the individual completely.

Unlike the normal and the health reactions that most people will experience in a dangerous or stressful situation, clinical anxiety will result in the patient dealing with persistent and unfounded fears that get so bad that it is hard to participate in social activities, close relationships, and work.

It is possible that the symptoms of this disorder can be psychological and physical. It takes a good deal of treatment, and sometimes medication, in order to help the patient feel a bit better and learn how to manage their anxiety. Many do not get the treatment and may turn to a substance such as alcohol or drugs to provide them some relief. This may provide a little relief, but it can quickly turn into a drug addiction or alcoholism and will make the symptoms of anxiety much worse. When both of these happen together in the patient, it may result in the need for drug addiction and anxiety disorder treatment.

The Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

It is possible for anxiety to show up in different ways for all patients. However, all of the disorders that fall under the umbrella term of anxiety will have signs and symptoms that they share in common. A few of the symptoms that show anxiety disorder is occurring includes:

  1. A fear that is intrusive. Sometimes it is specific and sometimes it is general. This needs to occur most days of the week and last for six months or longer.
  2. A decline in the quality of life. This can include a decline in overall satisfaction with life, a decline in social activities, a decline in job performance, and a decline in relationships because of the fear.
  3. Repeated attempts to handle some of the fear, but they did not lead to success.
  4. The use of different drugs and substances to help manage the anxiety.

For some patients, the anxiety that they feel will have a direct influence on the body. Those with anxiety may end up with a physical response to objects or situations that really are not threatening or dangerous at all to others. They may have a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and other symptoms that happen to the patient.

How Anxiety and Substance Abuse are Related

It is not uncommon for anxiety and substance abuse to go hand in hand. In fact, drug addiction is more common for those who have anxiety disorders compared to those in the general population. Without the right drug addiction and anxiety disorder treatment, the patient will continue to relapse and will not be able to get the treatment that they need. Another serious problem that happens when the two conditions are combined is that an individual who has anxiety and is addicted to a drug could have more severe detox symptoms as they go through the withdrawal process.

When both the drug addiction and the anxiety happen together, the person experiencing both will have a dual diagnosis. It is important for them to get treatment for anxiety and drug addiction at the same time, or they are not treating the whole problem and it is more likely that they will relapse in the future.

There is a connection between the anxiety disorder and the use of drugs that turns into an addiction. There are a few reasons why an anxiety disorder may start to trigger the need in the patient to use substances and these include:

  1. Trying to self-manage symptoms. Many people who have anxiety may not have a diagnosis for the issue. Or they may refuse to go on medication. To help handle the anxiety and the crippling fear, they are likely to turn to drugs to make them feel better. This can provide some temporary relief, but is not going to help the patient for the long-term.
  2. Biochemical factors: Both substance abuse and anxiety can be related to some chemical imbalances that occur in the brain. This can cause the patient to have to deal with both issues at the same time.
  3. Genetic predisposition: there is some evidence that anxiety and addiction can be linked back to the genetics of the person. Keep in mind that it makes it more likely that the person will suffer from anxiety or a drug addiction, but is not a guarantee that someone is going to have one or both of those conditions.
  4. Effects of substance addiction: The misuse of drugs can sometimes cause some symptoms that will seem similar to anxiety, like irritability, agitation, and more. When withdrawing from the substance, the patient may feel anxious and want to jump right back onto the substance rather than feeling miserable.

When there is an untreated anxiety disorder, it is going to lead to the patient to look for some relief from their symptoms. The drug addiction can soon follow. In other cases, the drug addiction can make the individual feel anxiety and they may have the condition on top of it as well. No matter which issue happens first, the patient needs to get the right drug addiction and anxiety disorder treatment to help them feel better.

Getting the Right Treatment

When it comes to finding the right anxiety disorder and drug addiction treatment, there are going to be a lot of different steps that happen. Each treatment center will be different and can provide their own unique amenities and more to patients. The patient will need to do their research and figure out which one is right for them. No matter which facility you decide to use to help with your anxiety and addiction, there are a few similar steps that are going to happen each time. These include:


The admittance process is going to happen first. This is a good time for the patient to learn more about the facility, fill out the paperwork to get them into the facility, and talk with a medical professional. There is likely to be a number of questions that the patient is going to need to answer from the medical professional. This is not going to be a test. It is a time for the patient and medical professional to learn more about the condition so that the team can come up with the plan that will work the best for the patient while they are there.


From there, the patient will most likely need to go through the withdrawal process to get the substance out of their system. This can sometimes be really hard for the patient who has an anxiety disorder because the symptoms tend to be more severe than with other mental health issues. The good news is that the patient is going to be monitored by medical professionals the whole time. They will watch the patient, checking whether they are healthy or if medication and other interventions are necessary at the time.


Once the substance is out of the system for the patient, it is time to get them some of the real treatment that they need to take care of their health and make sure that they do not get sick or fall back into their old habits. This will often include a good deal of therapy for the patient, including some of the options we will discuss in the next section.

The point of this therapy is to help the patient learn more about their condition, how to manage the condition, and coping techniques that they can use once they are out of the treatment facility to make sure they do not relapse. Most of these programs will provide the patient with some anti-anxiety medication to make sure that they avoid self-medicating in the future.

Group meetings

There will be time for some group work in a drug addiction and anxiety disorder treatment facility. This allows the patient to meet others who will be their support group in the future while also learning some more of the different treatment methods and coping options that will help them avoid trouble later. When the patient is done with treatment, they will be happy to have that support group behind them.


The patient will also have an aftercare program in place for when the facility is done with treatment. Whether they do the 30, 60, or 90 day treatment program or they decide to do inpatient or outpatient treatment, at some point the treatment will be done. When this happens, they will leave and go back to life. The aftercare plan will provide them with group support and often more therapy to prevent the chances of a relapse later on.

Anxiety Disorder Treatment

There are several options that are available to help treat the anxiety. This will be part of the treatment plan for the patient so they can manage some of their symptoms along the way. With the right medical professionals, it is possible to treat anxiety, but it may take a combination of anti-anxiety medications, behavioral modification strategies, and therapy to help the patient with this.

One of the most common types of therapies that are available for patients who are dealing with this kind of anxiety is known as CBT. This is the type where the patient is going to learn more about identifying and modifying some of the negative thought patterns that they have, the ones that tend to make them fearful and anxious at the same time. Since the patient is also dealing with the drug abuse in treatment, the CBT treatment is going to show them some of the new coping strategies that they will need when treatment is done.

Since many anxiety disorders are tied back to unresolved experiences or some trauma in the life of the patient, this is something that may need to be discussed in therapy to help. Seeking Safety is a good program to help the patient with this and it works really well for those who may have PTSD and addiction. The goal is to help the patient stop using the drug, manage the symptoms of the anxiety and the drug use, reducing how many self-destructive behaviors are showing up, and fostering a positive view of the future in the patient.

While the patient is going through some of the treatment that they need for anxiety, they will likely be on some medication. They may or may not need to be on this for the rest of their lives, depending on how the anxiety affects them. This can help give the patient some relief from the fear and other issues that they have with their anxiety and can make some of the other therapies a bit more effective.

These are just a few of the different treatments that are available for anxiety disorder for the patient. When they first get to the treatment facility for drug addiction and anxiety disorder, they can work with the medical professional to figure out which treatment options may work the best for their unique needs. Sometimes a combination may be used to help too.