Anxiety disorder is a mental illness that can have debilitating effects on the person suffering from it. Oftentimes people with an anxiety disorder will turn to alcohol to numb their symptoms in an attempt to live a “normal” life. Although alcohol may provide a temporary escape, it does not treat the underlying disorder and will over time increase the severity of anxiety symptoms, causing the individual to continue drinking until dependence or addiction has occurred. Without dual diagnosis treatment at an alcohol rehab, a person will continue the vicious cycle of self-medication with alcohol.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Anxiety Disorder and Alcoholism
A person with a dual diagnosis suffers from both a mental disorder and a substance abuse problem. According to statistics published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness. While all anxiety disorders can lead to an alcohol abuse problem, research shows that these co-occurring disorders are more common in people with social anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In order to fully recover from either disorder, a person needs to simultaneously treat both conditions. Focusing on the mental disorder will not ensure that the substance abuse problem goes away, and vice versa. If both co-occurring conditions are not addressed, the individual will continue to adopt negative coping behaviors that will worsen the condition that is left untreated. Dual diagnosis treatment will move beyond traditional medication and therapy to include assertive outreach, job and housing assistance, family counseling, and money and relationship management.
The Need for Alcohol Rehab: Anxiety Disorder and Alcoholism
A person suffering from an anxiety disorder and alcoholism has a unique set of problems that is best handled at an alcohol rehab where specialists trained in alcoholism and mental illness can properly diagnose and treat both disorders. There are two main types alcohol rehab for anxiety disorders and alcoholism: inpatient treatment and outpatient programs.
* Inpatient treatment consists of detox, group counseling and individual therapy. Long-term residential treatment programs may also be recommended for those with more severe mental illness symptoms and those with more than one relapse.
* Outpatient programs also include counseling and therapy in addition to intensive case management, intensive outpatient programs, and sober living. These types of programs are usually reserved for patients who have shown progress in their recovery and can attempt to live outside the treatment facility.
Within both inpatient and outpatient treatment, you’ll find a number of treatment options for anxiety disorders and alcohol abuse. Some of these include:
* Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Individuals learn to identify and gain control over unwanted behaviors instead of turning to alcohol.
* Individual or group psychotherapy: Individuals explore areas of emotional and social conflict either one-on-one with a therapist or in a group setting.
* Self-help/support groups: Support groups for both disorders can help an individual meet others with similar experiences and gain peer support.
How to Choose a Drug Rehab for Individuals with Co-Occurring Disorders
A good program for dual diagnosis will provide treatment for a wide variety of issues, including: drug and alcohol use, behavioral addictions, codependency patterns, mental health, trauma issues, eating disorders, sexual addiction, family functioning, social relationships, physical health and fitness, diet and nutrition, vocational and education needs, and legal problems.
Without comprehensive treatment, a person suffering from a dual diagnosis of anxiety disorder and alcoholism will inevitably continue the vicious cycle of self-medicating their mental illness symptoms through substance abuse. If you know someone who has dual diagnose symptoms, encourage them to seek treatment at a dual diagnosis drug rehab where they can be properly diagnosed and effectively treated.