When patients undergo drug and alcohol addiction treatment at Coastal Detox, we understand that the emergence of an anxiety disorder is quite prominent. Anxiety is also a common withdrawal symptom of drug abuse. Anxiety disorders are usually treated with some sort of commonly prescribed narcotic medication like Xanax. These narcotics fall into a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, or benzos, for short.
The problem with anti-anxiety medications is that they are habit-forming and change the mental state of the person diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The more patients take these sedative medications, the sooner they build up a tolerance, and the use of benzodiazepines is known to cause more harm than good. It is best to diagnose the problem in treatment, and then come up with a safe strategy for detox that does not involve more narcotics.
Why Taking Benzos May Not Help Anxiety
In the past, our scientific community had limited knowledge in terms of addiction as a disease. Alcoholics and drug addicts would check into rehab, be put on some form of a benzodiazepine to help them taper off, and then be released from rehab 28 days later, only to relapse.
Scientists have realized that part of the reason for relapse in this instance is that benzos act on the pleasure center of the brain, causing cravings in people with substance use disorder later on. It’s suggested that complete abstinence from mood or mind-altering substances must be practiced in order to recover from a hopeless state of mind and body. This means that taking Xanax to overcome withdrawal symptoms could pose a serious threat to the overall well-being of an alcoholic or drug addict.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety is a mental disorder that causes fear, panic or worry at such a level that it interferes with someone’s mental state every day. It’s known to affect their lives so greatly that they are not able to perform even the smallest tasks because of it. Although no one is completely certain about what causes this type of disorder, it can usually be traced back to underlying health issues and even past events that an individual has gone through.
Some of the causes of anxiety disorders can include:
- Stress: If an individual is under large amounts of stress, an anxiety disorder can form because of the constant fear of future events.
- Trauma: If an individual goes through physical, emotional, or mental abuse, especially at a young age, they have a higher chance of developing an anxiety disorder later on.
- Health Problems: Health conditions like heart disease, thyroid problems, chronic pain, etc. can increase the amount of worry an individual does on a daily basis.
- Coexisting Disorders: It’s very common for individuals with anxiety disorders to also be diagnosed with other mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder.
- Family History: If there is a history of anxiety disorders in a family, an individual has a higher chance of developing one based on their genes.
- Personality Type: Certain personality types are more prone to developing anxiety disorders because of the way their minds react to everyday situations.
- Excessive Use of Drugs and Alcohol: Individuals who use illicit drugs and abuse alcohol are more likely to develop anxiety disorders because of the constant need for substances.
The Prevalence Of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders do not discriminate based on age or gender. Because of this, they’re classified as the most common type of mental illness in the U.S, and nearly 40 million American adults suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. They also affect almost 25% of American children ages 13 to 18 every year.
Anxiety and addiction go hand in hand, and individuals who suffer from anxiety are three times more likely to develop an addiction disorder. This can go both ways, as someone who has developed a substance abuse problem will most likely develop an anxiety disorder.
Due to the high risk of a patient developing an anxiety disorder or having an existing one, especially while in treatment for addiction, our team does our best to evaluate each patient. We will strategically plan out a detox program that will address both the anxiety disorder and addiction disorder at the same time through dual diagnosis.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Anxiety and Addiction
A dual diagnosis treatment is one that treats both substance abuse and coexisting mental disorders together. This is essential because it cuts down the cost of treatment and the time spent within our facilities, and it also gives our patients the greatest chance of avoiding relapse after graduating from our program.
There is a good chance that most of our future and current patients at Coastal Detox will develop an anxiety disorder before or during detox for their substance addiction. Our licensed professionals are able to pinpoint coexisting disorders so they can develop the best recovery plan for each of our patients.
Addressing Underlying Anxiety Issues in Treatment
The reason so many people develop anxiety disorders is that they allow unresolved issues to fester until they become unavoidable. There are also many individuals who avoid being diagnosed because they don’t want to admit that something is wrong.
At Coastal Detox, one of the first things we do after a patient has been admitted is try to pinpoint underlying issues that may be causing their anxiety. In order to do this, we enroll them in one-on-one therapies with our licensed counselors. Once our therapists have a better understanding of a patient’s past and current situations, they will be able to develop a plan of action to treat the patient’s anxiety.
How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Treat Anxiety
Because there is a vast number of causes for anxiety, there are equally as many types of therapy to help figure out what’s causing it. One type of effective talk therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT is used to help our patients with all types of disorders, including anxiety. It focuses on problem-solving methods and teaching our patients new ways of thinking in order to overcome their disorders.
Some of the skills that CBT teaches our patients include:
- Learning how to cope with difficult situations
- Accepting the actions and situations that are out of a patient’s control
- Understanding why certain people behave the way they do
- Learning relaxation techniques to calm nerves
- Recognizing triggers and lessening their influence on how a patient reacts to them
- Facing fears head-on instead of running from them
Just like with everything else in life, practice makes perfect. By allowing our patients a healthy environment to practice new mental strategies and ideals, they can overcome disorders that they wouldn’t have been able to without outside help. Our goal is to give each of our patients the tools they need to have the best chance at a healthy, full recovery once they leave our facility.
Practicing Healthy Habits
We have found that teaching our patients healthy habits while also having them attend regular therapy sessions encourages them to continue this routine outside of rehab. We make sure to have as many different outlets as possible for them to develop these within our facilities.
One way our patients develop healthier habits is through wellness groups. They’re able to participate in activities like painting, learning to play an instrument or even vigorous exercise like rock climbing. By finding a new outlet for their energy, instead of focusing on the anxiety, they may be facing while in treatment, it gives them a higher chance of a full recovery.
Another way our staff encourages the development of healthier habits for our patients is by teaching them relapse prevention skills. Relapsing is when a patient who has graduated from our program starts abusing substances once again. This happens because a lot of our patients have immersed themselves in unhealthy environments outside of rehab, so our staff teaches them ways to avoid situations that could trigger their anxiety and cause them to relapse.
Get Help Today
The most effective way to overcome anxiety in treatment is by addressing the underlying issues that have caused the patient to form a substance addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment uses different levels of care to treat the whole problem. It addresses both disorders and utilizes positive behavioral therapy to instill useful tools that help with relapse prevention.
Our patients learn valuable, helpful skills that allow them to develop healthier habits while in detox here at Coastal Detox. Our staff also helps them to recognize triggers and encourages them to seek professional assistance for anxiety instead of turning to drugs and alcohol.
If you believe you or someone you know is scared to attend rehab because they don’t think they’ll be able to overcome their anxiety during treatment and recovery, contact us today. We will give you the tools to learn more about taking your life back or helping your loved one take their life back from anxiety and addiction. Help is available 24/7 through Coastal Detox.