The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy leaves many people feeling afraid or depressed. But, how can you tell if you have normal fear or an anxiety disorder? While fears during such uncertain times are normal, if your feelings interfere with being able to function in your life, you may have an anxiety disorder. Luckily, you have many options for anxiety treatment available.
Getting outside care for this condition is important because if you have a history of substance use, too, untreated anxiety could cause a relapse of addiction.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of fear in their degree and disruption of life. While you may feel nervous about giving a presentation at work, those with anxiety may break out into a sweat and spend days worrying about talking to someone on the phone or flying on a plane. Anxiety disorders fall into several categories based on their triggers. All have similar treatment options, which focus on helping you to reduce your reactions to triggering thoughts or events.
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) refers to feeling so worried most days for at least six months that you experience disruptions in your life. These troubles may include falling work or school performance, changes in diet, feeling irritable, having sleeping problems.
As the name suggests, GAD means that you may not know what your anxiety trigger is. You may simply feel afraid or worried about everything. However, with the help of therapy, you can identify what causes your anxious feelings and how to deal with it.
Phobias refer to fear that happens in response to certain things. For instance, some people may have a fear of being in crowded areas, called agoraphobia. Fear of heights, flying in an airplane, having blood drawn, and being around snakes or spiders are common phobias encountered by many.
Social anxiety falls under this phobia category. People with this condition feel afraid of any social situations and may try to avoid them. Social anxiety disorder can prevent making friendships or improving performance in working with groups.
3. Panic Disorder
Lastly, panic disorder features repeated panic attacks. These attacks can come on unexpectedly and can make the sufferer feel like he or she is having a heart attack or about to die. As terrifying as these episodes are, they do not cause long-term damage. However, they can result in numerous trips to the ER for clients who think they are having a heart attack. Not knowing when the next panic attack will happen also causes anxiety.
What Anxiety Treatment Options Can Help in Stressful Times?
When you talk to your doctor about your options for anxiety treatment, you may hear about therapy and medication. Often, doctors will combine these methods to make it easier for you to make it through the mental effort required by therapy. But, these are not the only ways to help anxiety. Some common anxiety treatment options include the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants
- Support groups therapy
- Alternative stress-relief methods, such as yoga, meditation, or nutritional therapy
What Should You Do If You Also Have a Substance Use Disorder with Anxiety?
Having anxiety is one serious problem. But, did you know that anxiety disorders increase the chances of you having a substance use disorder? About 15% of those with an anxiety disorder also had a drug or alcohol use disorder. Among those with addictions to these substances, approximately 17.7% also had anxiety not related to substance use.
Anxiety and substance use often go together. Some substances can cause anxious feelings, whereas others will prompt you to feel anxious when you stop using them. Many people with anxiety find that using drugs or alcohol helps to calm them. However, this calming effect does not last forever, and the anxiety often returns even worse when the substance wears off.
The cycle of feeling anxious, taking drugs, getting worried when the drugs wear off, and looking for another hit does not have to continue. In these stress-filled times, you cannot continue to self-medicate in such a self-destructive way. Drugs and alcohol can disrupt your life even more than anxiety. Using these substances could cost you your job or your freedom if you go to jail.
A better life is possible. Though a quality rehab program, you can get anxiety treatment and help with your substance use disorder. Find the help you deserve through a recovery center to learn how to live without drugs, alcohol, or anxiety. Call Serenity Light Recovery at 855.658.6109.