Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. According to data, 40 million (19.1 percent) of all Americans 18 years and older deal with anxiety disorders. While many effective anxiety treatment programs are available, only 36.9% of people suffering from anxiety actually seek treatment. The low percentage of those actively seeking treatment is primarily due to the prevailing stigma of mental illness being a spiritual or moral failing instead of being a treatable disease.
Those with untreated anxiety will only see their condition deteriorate over time. If your loved one is struggling with anxiety but is resistant to getting the help they need, an intervention for anxiety may be the spark that motivates them to seek treatment. This article will delve deeper into anxiety itself, its connection to addiction, as well as possible treatments. Most importantly, you will learn how anxiety interventions can play a pivotal role in restoring your loved one’s health and happiness.
Much like depression, there are several disorders considered to be anxiety disorder. As a result, the symptoms of anxiety can vary depending on the type of disorder as well as the person experiencing the disorder. For example, people who experience generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may experience symptoms such as the following:
For those who experience a panic disorder, they may experience the following symptoms:
Additionally, those who may be experiencing an anxiety disorder such as social anxiety disorder may display the following symptoms:
These symptoms go above and beyond anxiety many of us face on average. In order for someone to be officially diagnosed with anxiety or a specific anxiety disorder, they must be seen and diagnosed by an experienced mental health professional.
One of the biggest risks of a dual diagnosis is that either the mental illness or the substance abuse will be overlooked. Because of the situation, they find themselves in, they may not realize the problem they have is severe. Overlooking one or the other can be devastating. Without treatment one or both disorders can get out of control rather easily. The risk of having both a mental illness as well as a substance abuse problem is that neither of them will receive the treatment they need, leaving the patient in worse shape than ever before.
While parallel treatment seems like a logical solution, it is rather ineffective. It can be difficult to determine which symptoms are associated with which problem. Now doctors recommend taking an integrative approach. Instead of having a team develop a treatment plan for the mental illness and a different team develop a treatment plan for the substance abuse, one team will take care of both disorders at the same time. With this type of treatment, one team will be able to observe and make adjustments to the treatment plan, It allows for a more complete treatment program that is more effective and has a better success rate. Having one treatment team also eliminates any miscommunication between doctors that could disrupt the treatment plan.
Like other mental illnesses, anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors. An obvious underlying factor is a family history of anxiety. Another common risk factor is experiencing trauma or witnessing traumatic events. If trauma is not addressed in a proactive and healthy manner, it will lead to the development of anxiety or other mental illness. Ongoing and unresolved daily stress can also make people more vulnerable to developing anxiety. This can include a sudden death in the family, ongoing financial worries, and work stress.
There can also be medical causes of anxiety. Common medical conditions that make people more vulnerable to developing an anxiety disorder include:
Motivational interventions are also used to help dual diagnosis patients overcome the challenges they face during their recovery. They receive the support they need from both their families as well as their medical team. Motivational interventions provide patients with the ability to set personal goals that will help them identify problems in their lives. This is ideal for patients who are not fully convinced that they have a problem. It gives them a chance to work through many of their health issues and get the treatment they need as they move forward.
As stated earlier, many people who suffer from an anxiety disorder are reluctant to undergo treatment due to the prevailing stigma surrounding mental illness as a whole. As a result, people who may be fearful of treatment will turn to drugs and alcohol as their primary coping mechanisms. While substances provide relief of the symptoms of anxiety, it is a short-term solution at best. If people struggling with anxiety fail to address the underlying causes of their condition, it will only grow worse over time.
Also, people will build a greater tolerance for substances and need to take more to achieve the same effects. This increased use leads to substance dependence and eventually to full-blown addiction. If people with anxiety also develop a substance use problem, they have what is commonly known as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. As already stated, dual diagnosis is extremely difficult to treat and requires specialized treatment.
Interestingly, drug abuse itself can be a cause of anxiety. When people significantly curb their intake or stop using altogether, it creates a wide range of withdrawal symptoms that can be uncomfortable and painful to endure. With many drugs, a common psychological withdrawal symptom is anxiety. Depending on the substance taken, frequency, quantity, and any underlying health issues that may be present, the anxiety one feels can be unbearable and difficult to shake. Since brain chemistry and functioning are significantly altered from drug use, people can develop substance-induced anxiety disorders.
For those who suffer from the devastating effects of anxiety, there are solid anxiety treatment programs available at many rehabs. The most effective treatment options for anxiety include a combination of both therapy and medication management. The main therapy used in anxiety treatment programs is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT helps people identify the negative thoughts and emotions that keep them stuck. Once identified, experienced therapists will help clients develop the healthy coping skills they need to remain focused and calm as they encounter stressful situations or the triggers that relate to past trauma. Another therapy that is used in anxiety treatment is acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). ACT uses strategies like mindfulness and goal setting to help clients alleviate the stress that is associated with anxiety.
Medications are also an effective tool in helping people manage their anxiety. One group of medications commonly used in anxiety treatment are anti-depressants such as Prozac and Zoloft. These drugs help the brain release chemicals that improve and smooth out one’s moods. Another group of medications that are frequently used are benzodiazepines. Commonly known as benzos, this group of anti-anxiety medications enhance the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA which helps calm the brain. Commonly known drugs in this group are Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin.
For those with a co-occurring substance abuse problem, facilities that offer anxiety treatment also need to offer dual diagnosis intervention therapy. In this specialized treatment program, mental health and addiction professionals work side by side in creating an individualized treatment plan that addresses both issues. In cases where loved ones are resistant to treatment or are having great difficulty in a treatment program, programs centered on anxiety interventions for adults are highly beneficial.
When people think about interventions, they think about those done for people struggling with substance abuse. People may not know that interventions to reduce anxiety and other mental illnesses are also available. For those who struggle with anxiety, finding professional help is critical in getting the support they need to overcome their mental illness. Unfortunately, some people are reluctant due to stigma, fear, or even denial. If you have tried every avenue to get a loved one help and can’t make headway, the professionals at Addiction Interventions can help.
Addiction Interventions provides high-quality intervention services in Southern California. We offer anxiety interventions in adults as well as other mental disorders and substance abuse. We based our programs on evidence-based and well-established models such as ARISE and the Johnson Model. Our experienced team of professionals will work closely with you to create an intervention to motivate your loved one to enter the proper treatment program.
Addiction Interventions offers dual diagnosis intervention services in Southern California. Take our intervention assessment here or call Addiction Interventions toll-free today and help your loved one heal.