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Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety disorders are either generalized or specific. In addiction, anxiety may be the cause or the result of the condition. As a dual diagnoses, they must be treated concurrently for successful recovery in sobriety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder covers a wide range of symptoms and severity. Symptoms include:

  • Nervousness and unwarranted worries
  • Distorted perceptions
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
Panic attacks may start in the late teens or early adulthood. They may be caused by fear of losing control or fear of disaster. They may become repeated events that develop into a disorder but do not necessarily repeat. Medical attention is critical to make an accurate diagnosis. Symptoms include:

  • Extreme and sudden fear
  • Physical symptoms that simulate a heart attack

Social Anxiety
Social anxiety may be isolating in its extreme. Symptoms can include:

  • Isolating behaviors
  • Fear of speaking up in a group
  • Fear of speaking in front of strangers
  • Extreme discomfort in leaving one’s home

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) results from one or more traumatic life experience that become embedded in one’s mind and affects one’s life. Women who suffer from substance abuse have a 70 percent or higher incidence of experiencing PTSD in their lives.

War veterans also suffer from high rates of PTSD.  They often turn to alcohol or drugs for relief. PTSD symptoms can include:

  • Withdrawal from others
  • Unwarranted anger
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Disassociative mental experiences
  • Inability to function in daily life
  • Panic or overreaction to events
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Involuntary thoughts about a traumatic event

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD ranges in severity and can cause social isolation, panic and rigidity of behaviors. Some symptoms can include:

  • Ritualistic behaviors such as frequent hand washing or a certain way to do something that has no room for flexibility
  • Obsessive thoughts, such as worries about one’s health or the outcome of something
  • Unrealistic expectations and standards for others’ behavior

Anxiety disorders can be successfully treated. Drinking alcohol, misusing drugs and mixing drugs is not the answer. In rehab, addiction and mental disorders are treated at the same time. Each patient will find healthy coping skills, practices and appropriate treatment for a balanced and sober life.