Many people suffering from anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) also face the added risk of addiction. In fact, research shows that 36 to 52 percent of people suffering from PTSD also abuse alcohol or other drugs, resulting in substance use disorder.
There are many forms of anxiety disorders, from feelings of discomfort to devastating bouts of terror.
Most people experience anxiety at different points in their lives, as well as some nervousness when in anticipation. But if the person is unable to shake unwarranted concerns, of if the feelings are so intense that the person is forced to avoid everyday activities, then he/she could be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by:
- Chronic, exaggerated worry
- Irritability with no cause
- Muscle tension, twitching, trembling
Symptoms of PTSD
Considered an Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a medical diagnosis given when trauma-related symptoms persist to the extent where they interrupt daily life. PTSD is caused when a person is exposed to different types of trauma, either directly (occurring to you) or indirectly (occurred to others), resulting in severe psychological and emotional effects such as intense horror, fear, and helplessness.
Common PTSD symptoms include:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event in flashbacks or nightmares – intrusive thoughts and distressful memories that interfere with your concentration, performance, mood stability, and self-care and health activities
- Avoidance or numbing – dulled sensations and emotions result in a lack of interest, as well as diminished partaking in usual interactions and activities
- Hyper-arousal – characterized by elevated levels of watchfulness, fear, and distrust, as well as irritability and physical agitation
Symptoms of OCD
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a long-lasting anxiety disorder whereby the individual has uncontrollable, persistent thoughts and behaviors that he/she feels compelled to repeat. People with OCD often exhibit two key symptoms:
- Obsessions – these are repeated mental images, thoughts, or urges that cause anxiety, and may include fear of contamination or germs, having things in symmetrical or perfect order, aggressive thoughts towards yourself or others, or unwanted thoughts involving religion, sex, or harm
- Compulsions – these are the repetitive behaviors that one feels the need or urge to do in response to obsessive thoughts, and may include excessive cleaning (like handwashing), arranging things in a specific order, repeatedly checking on things (like is a door is securely locked), or compulsive counting.
Treatment for anxiety
Many people with OCD often experience feelings of loneliness and shame, which prevent them from seeking help, especially if the distressing thoughts involve sensitive subjects like sex, religion, or violence. As with PTSD, this may lead to depression or substance abuse.
When an anxiety disorder is combined with substance abuse, a specialized and concurrent approach is necessary to maximize the potential for successful recovery.
At Canadian Addiction Rehab, we have highly trained and experienced staff to provide innovative treatment techniques, including art therapy, naturopathy, and psychotherapy, among others, as well as the needed medications to ensure complete recovery.