Why Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Are Necessary for Anxiety & Addiction
Living with a mental health diagnosis, like anxiety, can be challenging enough. Struggling with addiction or a substance use disorder at the same time can be overwhelming. When someone experiences at least one mental health diagnosis and a substance use disorder, it is called dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. About half of people with a mental health diagnosis are also affected by substance abuse. The good news is that specialized treatment is available, and a life of sobriety and good health is possible. Read on to learn more about anxiety and addiction and learn if dual diagnosis treatment centers might be a good choice for you or your loved one.
Understanding Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a natural, life-saving mechanism that has kept the human race alive throughout time. It is the same brain process that triggers the fight or flight response and keeps us safe in dangerous situations. When the feelings of fear or anxiety do not go away, get worse over time, or interfere with daily functioning, an anxiety disorder is diagnosed. Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health diagnosis, with about ⅓ of all adults experiencing an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.
Anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Phobias including agoraphobia
- Panic Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Separation Anxiety Disorder
Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a chronic medical condition that can damage health and disrupt daily life by repeated use of a substance despite negative consequences.  Repeated use of substances such as alcohol and drugs changes the way the brain works. This is why it is often difficult, if not impossible, for a person with an addiction to quit using the substance without support. Unfortunately, addiction is very common. Over 23 million adults in the United States struggle with addiction currently or in the past. Sadly, only 25% of these people receive the treatment they need.
What’s the Connection Between Anxiety & Addiction?
There are many reasons people with anxiety may struggle with substance use or why people who use substances may also experience anxiety. Researchers look at three main pathways for these co-occurring disorders to develop.
- Untreated or under-treated mental illness can lead to substance use. Often this starts as an unhealthy coping mechanism or self-medicating.
- Substance use and addiction can contribute to the development of mental illness.
- Common risk factors can cause both mental illness and addiction. These include genetic vulnerabilities, underlying brain deficits, and early exposure to trauma and stress.
Many people experience multiple risk factors for developing mental illness and substance use disorder throughout their lifetime. Treatment programs that recognize and treat the individual factors contributing to the development of anxiety and addiction are often the most successful.
Programs in Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers
There are many different treatment programs for mental illness and substance abuse. Many of these address each illness separately. This fails to recognize the complex relationship between the causes and treatments of these co-occurring conditions and often results in less successful or unsuccessful treatment.
A successful recovery plan explores an individual’s hopes and dreams as the foundation for a vision of a life of sobriety and good health. Specialized therapy helps develop the skills necessary to support recovery while a collaborative team supports mental, spiritual, and physical growth and wellness. This whole-person approach is the key to successful dual diagnosis treatment.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the most effective treatment programs address the ways each condition affects the other and include:
- Inpatient Rehabilitation
- Supportive Housing
- Self-help and/or support groups
Treating a substance use disorder and a mental illness is complex, but recovery is possible, and seeking help is the first step to retaking control of your life.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Offer Specialized Care
Understanding the complex relationship between anxiety and addiction is the foundation of dual diagnosis treatment centers Collaborative Recovery Program. Ocean Hills Recovery’s unique approach combines social, medical, spiritual, and psychological interventions to ensure the highest possibility of success in recovery. Our team is ready to support you through specialized care, individualized to meet your unique needs. Contact us today.
Sources: https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Integrated-Treatment-for-Co-Occurring-Disorders-Evidence-Based-Practices-EBP-KIT/SMA08-4366  https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder.shtml#:~:text=Prevalence%20of%20Any%20Anxiety%20Disorder%20Among%20Adults,-Based%20on%20diagnostic&text=An%20estimated%2019.1%25%20of%20U.S.,than%20for%20males%20(14.3%25).  https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders  https://www.bmc.org/addiction/about  https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/10-percent-us-adults-have-drug-use-disorder-some-point-their-lives  https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/why-there-comorbidity-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illnesses  https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Substance-Use-Disorders
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.