Anxiety and Addiction Treatment in South Florida

Living with anxiety increases an individual’s likelihood of substance abuse or addiction. More people suffer from anxiety disorders than any other mental illness in America. Though some look to self-medication to deal with symptoms of anxiety, it’s often a devastating option.

Proper dual diagnosis treatment explicitly targets the deeply rooted issues with anxiety and addiction. To better understand anxiety and addiction, it’s beneficial to classify one’s specific signs and symptoms.

What is Anxiety?

Most people encounter feelings of anxiety throughout life. Anxiousness can occur when facing issues at work, making important decisions, or other stressful activities. Occasional anxiety is a part of most people’s lives, but someone with an anxiety disorder may experience more intense symptoms.

Anxiety and addiction sometimes go hand in hand. Someone experiencing high levels of anxiety may turn to unhealthy coping strategies. These harmful mechanisms often make the disorder worse and, in turn, create worse symptoms. 

Living with anxiety day to day can interfere with many aspects of a person’s life. Symptoms can impede school work, relationships, and job performance. Understanding anxiety may help alleviate or reduce the symptoms’ intensity, especially since there are several types of anxiety disorders.

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Types of Anxiety Disorders

Each anxiety disorder has unique characteristics and symptoms. Contrary to occasional anxiety, someone with a specific disorder experiences anxiety concurrently, and it often gets worse over time. Some classifications of anxiety even require a dual diagnosis in the treatment process.

Long-lasting symptoms are a common manifestation of generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. People with GAD typically show signs of extreme anxiety or worry in everyday life. Patients are usually diagnosed with GAD if they display worry and anxiety for most days within a six-month period.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition that may occur in people exposed to traumatic events such as violence, natural disasters, war, or violent accidents. PTSD is often a debilitating condition. Most people who have experienced such traumatic events recover from them. Less commonly, victims of traumatic events develop PTSD and struggle with depression, anxiety, or addiction.

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, have recurring thoughts or obsessive behaviors. Ritualistic behavior usually provides temporary relief in those with OCD. This behavior may create a cyclical mental state, keeping the individual stuck while dampening their compulsions.

Social anxiety disorder, or SAD, is characterized as a social phobia. Individuals with SAD experience extreme anxiety when in standard social situations. Extreme self-consciousness is classified as a social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety is derived from a fear of being judged or watched by other people.

A panic disorder is an intense fear that manifests itself into physical symptoms. Individuals with a panic disorder may feel physical discomfort like heavy breathing, rapid heartbeat, or dizziness.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety?

Disorders such as anxiety have common signs and symptoms, but it is essential to remember that each person experiences them differently. Though each person with anxiety has a unique experience, there are still critical signs that are a clear warning of a disorder.

Signs of Anxiety

  • A Decline in job performance. More specifically, regarding the quality of work and an overall change in an individual’s performance.
  • Fear driven changes in a person’s regular relationships or social activities.
  • Lack of success through repetitive attempts to relieve constant fear or concern.
  • New unhealthy habits with tobacco, drugs, alcohol, overeating, or other impulsive behaviors. As well as behaviors that resemble addiction or self-medication.

Mental Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Over-thinking, sometimes uncontrollable
  • Racing thoughts and inability to concentrate
  • Constant feelings of panic or dread
  • Heightened irritability or alertness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Change in appetite
  • Dissociation 

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Shortness of breath or heavy breathing
  • Sweating profusely
  • Trembling
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain or stomach pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness 
  • Choking sensation

Anxiety disorder diagnoses conventionally occur when an individual experiences some of those symptoms most days of the week for at least six months. With that being said, people should not wait to seek the help of a professional.

Anxiety and Addiction

Individuals with anxiety are much more likely to fall into addiction or substance abuse. Anxiety disorders lead to higher alcohol use rates and an increased chance of relapse post alcohol rehabilitation. Studies also show that individuals with anxiety and addiction undergo more severe withdrawal symptoms once ending drug or alcohol use.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Concurring drug or alcohol use and a diagnosed anxiety disorder are co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis. There are several reasons why an anxiety disorder is capable of trending an individual toward addiction.

Here are a few reasons:

  • Genetic predisposition: Both anxiety and addiction have a genetic factor. Someone with a family history of addiction or other mental illness is more susceptible to them.
  • Self-managing symptoms: Like self-medication, someone living with anxiety or other mental illness may look at unhealthy ways of coping. If individuals have a hard time in social environments, they may look to alcohol or drugs to numb their fear in social situations. Doing so increases the risk of chemical dependence and often leads to addiction.
  • Effects of withdrawal: Abusing alcohol or drugs can lead to symptoms that resemble those of anxiety. People tend to show signs of irritability, nervousness, agitation, fear, and sleeplessness when abusing substances. During the withdrawal process, people tend to show symptoms of anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.

Dual Diagnosis

In general, a dual diagnosis is when an individual experiences more than one disorder. As mentioned previously, co-occurring disorders and dual diagnoses are interchangeable terms. Other terms used to describe a combination of disorders are comorbid disorder or comorbidity. Regardless of the term, mental illness can dismantle someone’s life, and symptoms often appear late in the process.

Treatment For Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis treatment is complex. Substance abuse combined with mental illness is often a knot that needs gentle but precise untangling. Rock Recovery strives to provide solutions for those living with anxiety and addiction.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

For those in need of a more intense rehab program, Rock Recovery offers a partial hospitalization program. When in recovery, assuming a successful medical detox has taken place, patients often attend a short-term inpatient treatment program. Sometimes in-patient treatment is enough, but unfortunately, some continue the life they lived pre-treatment once they return home. 

PHP for dual-diagnosis does not merely make sure patients remain sober. Our PHP targets each patient’s psychological health issues and works to address them. Patients are at a disadvantage when undergoing treatment but ignoring their mental health issues. To correctly treat anxiety and addiction simultaneously, Rock Recovery focuses on the best route to building a strong foundation of mental health.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

In some patient’s situations, an intensive outpatient program, or IOP, is necessary. IOPs allow patients to undergo treatment while continuing with responsibilities outside of their treatment. No two situations are the same, and some programs fit some patients better. For someone needing 24/7 monitoring, this may not be the right program. 

Patients who need to return home every night to continue work, school, or parenting, benefit from an IOP. At Rock Recovery, our intensive outpatient program generally consists of nine to 20 hours of therapy each week, including both individual therapy and group therapy. IOPs are similar to a standard outpatient program, but IOPs offer patients a more hands-on treatment approach.

Outpatient Program

Designed for less severe addiction cases, our outpatient program is more flexible and less restrictive than other programs. Treatment is only limited to about six to nine hours a week. Outpatient programs are beneficial for those who need to continue a full-time job or need to take care of a child full time. 

Since patients have different situations, Rock Recovery tries to cater to any circumstance. Even with the flexibility, we still make sure patients have access to many resources. These resources include individualized therapy, drug abuse education, support groups, and more.

Adventure Therapy

If a classroom-based treatment experience fails to yield success for our patients, we offer adventure therapy. Adventure therapy provides a break from a tedious recovery plan based inside. Getting outdoors while maintaining a structured environment, adventure therapy is not the average treatment experience.

Adventure therapy includes several activities aimed toward using life experiences and action to generate healthy problem-solving skills. This type of holistic therapy proves useful for several people, including those with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Traditional Rehab Program

Our traditional rehab program is anything but ordinary. The programs we offer are well researched and proven to bring success to patients suffering from various addictions and mental health disorders.

Rock Recovery offers an experienced team that ensures that patients receive individualized treatment. We focus on each patient and use proven strategies to support and address their specific issues.

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Living with anxiety day-to-day is detrimental to many people’s lives. At Rock Recovery, we understand people’s differences and strive to provide care for each situation. The road to recovery is long, and there is no simple solution. Our treatment plans, though, can improve or even save lives. If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety and addiction, please contact us today.

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