Even though anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults, or 18% of the population, according to the National Institute of Mental Health—many people feel alone in their struggle. And while anxiety disorders can be effectively treated, only about one-third of people receive anxiety disorder treatment.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to a threat or any kind of stressful situation. In small doses, anxiety can be a good thing, helping people stay alert, motivated and ready to act. For example, it’s usual to feel nervous before common stressful events, like a job interview, or to feel anxious when faced with a life transition, like a move or a divorce. However, when this anxiety is constant or when it starts to affect and even interfere with your daily responsibilities and relationships, you’re likely to have developed an anxiety disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder
If you experience any of the following symptoms, and they persist, you should consider anxiety disorder treatment:
- Are you always worried, or stressed out?
- Do you have an irrational sense of doom, expecting the worst to happen?
- Does your anxiety negatively affect your responsibilities?
- Do you obsess about doing things a certain way in order to avoid something bad happening?
- Do you avoid things because they make you anxious?
- Do you have panic attacks?
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are six main types of anxiety disorders, each with different symptoms:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety and substance abuse often go hand in hand, and unfortunately, one can lead to the other, or make the other worse. Often, people with anxiety disorders that go untreated turn to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol in order to calm down or otherwise escape the anxiety. It is common for people diagnosed with an anxiety disorder to also be diagnosed with a substance use disorder. In such cases (sometimes called dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders), integrated treatment that combines help for both disorders is the most effective solution.
How to Cope with Anxiety?
We’ve compiled the top 10 things you can do, if you’re experiencing anxiety:
- Confront your fear until it no longer worries you
- Make your anxiety worse and see that nothing bad happens
- Don’t judge your thoughts, instead let them go
- Recognize physical symptoms that are not related to actual threats
- Watch your thoughts pass
- Set aside a time to worry
- Let go of the idea of control
- Realize this, too, shall pass
- Don’t stop living your life
How Cornerstone Can Help
Cornerstone Recovery Center is one of only a handful of South Florida drug treatment centers that offer co-occurring services to treat primary mental health disorders. If you or a loved one needs help for an anxiety disorder and addiction, please contact our admissions counselor online or call 1-888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are confidential.