addiction recovery and anxiety

Recovering from Addiction and Anxiety at Choice House


Affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. (18% of the general population age 18 and over), anxiety is the most common mental illness in America. Anxiety disorders are characterized by persistent, often unfounded fears that negatively impact someone’s career, close relationships, and social life. To be diagnosed with clinical anxiety, individuals must have struggled with these fears for approximately six months. Fortunately, anxiety can often be controlled with medication, therapy, and other alternative treatments. 

anxiety and substance abuse

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, individuals who struggle with anxiety are estimated to be 2 to 3 times more likely to also have a substance use disorder than the general population, possibly because they fall into a cycle of trying to self-medicate to deal with the anxiety. Alcohol and/or drug use then frequently causes them to feel more worried and anxious, which leads them to need more of the substance to cope, and their body develops a chemical dependence known as addiction.

symptoms of anxiety

Symptoms of anxiety are unsettling at best and in severe cases, can seem like a life-threatening experience, ranging from insomnia and trembling to dizziness, nausea, sweating and even choking sensations or chest pain. 

anxiety disorders

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines the five types of anxiety disorders as follows:

  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

appears as exaggerated worrying and tension, with little to no basis in reality.

  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

    involves recurrent, unwanted thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, cleaning, or counting, rituals that bring temporary relief but cause more anxiety when not performing them.

  • panic disorder

    describes unexpected multiple episodes of overwhelming fear or panic, accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, trouble breathing, dizziness, and chest pain. These episodes are commonly known as “panic attacks.”

  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    can occur in individuals who have experienced a terrifying event during which they were threatened or physically harmed. These triggering events -- abuse/personal assaults, natural disasters, accidents, or military combat, for example -- can result in insomnia, feelings of paranoia or hypervigilance, and anger or irritability in those affected. 

  • social anxiety disorder

    is a term used to describe individuals who feel unwarranted anxiety in common social situations such as parties or instances that involve speaking in front of small or large groups of people. Anxiety may cause trembling, sweating, trouble breathing, a rapid heartbeat, and even gastrointestinal issues such as nausea or upset stomach.

Today, we understand that the individual who struggles with both a substance use disorder and chemical dependency (a condition referred to as “dual diagnosis” or co-occurring disorders) needs to be treated for both conditions simultaneously to boost their chances of recovery success. The two disorders are often inextricably linked, with anxiety-causing alcohol or drug addiction to be more severe, and substance use disorders interfering with and typically reducing the recovery rates of those who suffer from anxiety. 

And while there’s no real cure for anxiety, therapy can help reduce symptoms that interfere with life. A Colorado addiction recovery center, Choice House is staffed by a team of experienced mental healthcare professionals who provide effective, integrated dual diagnosis treatment to support individuals who are suffering from anxiety and addiction. By working to understand each person’s struggles and the severity of their disorders, we can help them adopt healthy coping mechanisms and discover a path toward lasting sobriety and greater peace of mind.

dual diagnosis treatment at choice house 

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Choice House is an addiction treatment center that offers compassionate, goal-focused dual diagnosis treatment for individuals struggling with a substance use disorder as well as some form of mental illness. Through our various programs – 90-day residential treatment, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and structured sober living – our dedicated team of licensed therapists and behavioral health professionals work with participants in a group and individual settings to identify the root causes of the issues they face. We understand that addiction and anxiety frequently go hand in hand, and we explore every avenue to help with the pursuit of lifelong recovery.

ready to choose a life worth living?

Don’t let addiction or co-occurring mental health conditions keep you from leading the happy, healthy, and empowered life you deserve. Contact Choice House today and embrace recovery.

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