We’re born with feelings of anxiety as a way to protect ourselves by being alert and aware that our lives are fragile. Anxiety for some is a normal feeling that occurs when something goes wrong at home or when work pressures build up. However, for those that have clinical anxiety, these feelings of fear and worry are out of proportion and do not go away after the perceived threat has passed. People affected by chronic stress and anxiety experience disproportionate fear every single day, and with every situation they encounter. Anxiety can make it difficult for those affected to live their lives since they are continually burdened with the stress and fear of what’s to come.
Imagine trying to enjoy all the wonderful, little things in life but finding that even happy moments come with a twinge of nervousness that something could go wrong. For people who struggle with anxiety, it is often too much to bear. At Cypress Lakes Lodge we see many patients enter into our recovery programs who suffer from anxiety and substance abuse. These patients usually have never been properly diagnosed or taught how to manage their symptoms of anxiety effectively. They often turned to substance abuse in an effort to avoid their anxiety, but did not recognize that addiction would present its own obstacles. They are simply looking for a way to perform daily activities without the burden of anxiety — we are here to help them find productive and healthy ways to accomplish this.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as a mental health condition where the brain is trained to hyper-focus on any situation and create stress due to an obsession with future or potential problems. These problems don’t exist at the present moment and sometimes aren’t realistic, but those with anxiety will magnify normal situations into stressful ones because their brain is wired to react this way. In many cases, this is a result of a past experience or incident, like abuse or trauma, that resulted in the patient’s innate need to protect themselves becoming overactive. In other cases, it is simply due to a prolonged high-stress lifestyle. There are many kinds of anxiety disorders that can take shape for different reasons. Some types of chronic anxieties include:
- Separation anxiety
- Generalized anxiety
- Illness anxiety/hypochondria
- Social anxiety
- Conduct disorder
- Panic disorder
- Personality disorder
Symptoms of Anxiety
Any symptoms of anxiety can take a toll on a person. The human body is not built to live in a constant state of stress. Stress is regulated by various hormones and neurotransmitters that cause increased heart rate, body tension, racing thoughts and panic. Anxiety can result in poor sleeping habits, muscle soreness and high blood pressure, affecting the immune system, the cardiovascular system and the nervous system. Over time people with anxiety feel worn down, eat poorly and cannot maintain a healthy weight. And, when these signs and symptoms are combined with substance abuse, they only become worse as a result of heightened health risks and mental imbalances. To feel healthy in both mind and body, we know it is imperative to reduce stresses significantly in all of our patients, especially those with anxiety. Some common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Worrying excessively
- Inability to relax
- Distress about decision making and changing plans
- Intense fear
- Discomfort in social situations
- Avoidance of interaction and other things that make them uncomfortable
- Chronic illness related to stress
- Trouble sleeping or insomnia
- Raised blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestion issues
- Headaches due to muscle tension
Dual Diagnosis Therapy and Treatment
In our program, determining if a dual diagnosis is present is our first step after detox. Once you have begun to recover physically, we want to begin finding the best way for you to recover mentally as well. Our patients are diagnosed early through our dual diagnosis program so we can better formulate specific plans with the right counselor, physician and integrative therapies down to the exercise, nutrition plans and support groups. Anxiety and its multiple forms are one of our most common dual diagnoses, and we are more than equipped to help our patients heal from anxiety and addiction simultaneously.
Relieving Anxiety Without Medication
Unfortunately, modern medications for anxiety can be highly addictive even when they are used to treat a legitimate mental health disorder. For patients who have struggled with addiction in the past, using medication might be a dangerous decision. At Cypress Lakes Lodge, we try to focus on finding the best ways for you to manage your anxiety without needing to rely on drugs — even prescription ones. Our treatment aims to help you pick up new skills to naturally reduce anxieties and stress, giving you the inner strength and confidence you need to know that you can feel good every day while staying sober. During treatment at Cypress Lakes Lodge, every patient is given a thorough education on any mental health diagnosis made and provided with tips and tricks to manage their lives in a healthy way without drugs and alcohol. We find the cause of the issue or identify idiosyncrasies so we can find a solution, we don’t simply offer treatments that mask the underlying causes of your concerns.
Our treatment and therapy options include many different modalities, such as art therapy, meditation, writing therapy and family counseling, to help you build healthy coping mechanisms and establish important support systems. We know that every patient’s struggle with addiction and anxiety will be different from the next patient, so we encourage those in our programs to explore what works for them and find skills and hobbies that can translate into sober life. We prepare our patients for situations that can cause relapse risk and any issues that can amplify their anxiety.
In addition to concrete coping skills, we address the fact that addiction or stress condition only becomes worse if we isolate and keep the issue to ourselves. We must share our feelings with our support network, friends, family and support groups. Often, our patients forget that others experience these same worries and fears. We understand that it can be challenging to admit you have these issues; the stigma surrounding them doesn’t help. But we are here for you, and we want to help you find your spiritual network or support group to act as your base. Our patients leave our program with an active set of support options, recommendations for 12-step programs and lifestyle management skills to help make life-altering changes by removing the things in their lives that make anxiety worse.
Substance Abuse and Anxiety
Addictions often develop as a way of self-medicating for people affected by depression, anxiety and any post-traumatic stress disorder. Some people think a drink here or there to “take the edge off” is okay, but that one drink here and there can become part of their daily routine and then turn into many. The symptoms of any stress-related disorder such as anxiety are substantial and we understand that this often is where addiction often comes from. Other patients have developed an anxiety disorder as a result of their substance abuse. Long-term abuse of drugs and alcohol often leads to changes in brain chemistry that can result in paranoia, stress and worry. In all of these cases, we know we need to work with our patients to heal their anxiety as well as their addiction. If we cannot help them manage their anxiety in a healthy way, their journey to sobriety will be that much more difficult.
Each specific anxiety disorder has a different set of triggers or fears, which is why they each require an in-depth study and individualized therapy to properly diagnose. Take social anxiety as one example: according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, over 20% of the people affected by social anxiety also suffer from alcohol addiction. This type of anxiety can begin as early as kindergarten for some. These anxieties can be tough to pinpoint since they can stem from events that happened so long ago. But, the more we know about them, the easier it becomes for us to classify which type of anxiety is affecting a patient, and the easier it can be to decide on a course of treatment. At Cypress Lakes Lodge, we ensure that members of our staff can work with patients who struggle with both anxiety and addiction. Our highly qualified doctors and therapists are trained to notice when patients seem to be suffering from a mental health disorder, and our programs are inclusive of people who need treatment for multiple concerns.
Contact Cypress Lakes Lodge
Cypress Lakes Lodge offers premier treatment for addiction, anxiety and other dual diagnoses in Woodville, Texas. If you think that you or your loved one might be a good fit for our programs, we encourage you to reach out to us as soon as you are ready. Contact us at 409-331-2204 to learn more about how we can help you overcome fear, worry and anxiety in the presence of substance abuse. We know that you can live without drugs and alcohol while managing your anxiety with holistic methods, and we are ready to teach you how.