There are varying levels of anxiety. While everyone experiences some form of stress on a daily basis, those with a true anxiety disorder are often left debilitated and unable to function. The Mayo Clinic defines anxiety as “Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired may occur.”

As is the case with other mental health conditions, it is not uncommon for these individuals to seek comfort and relief through substances such as drugs and alcohol. In an attempt to feel better, usage of these substances becomes more frequent and excessive, eventually leading to dependency and addiction. Failing to properly diagnose and treat the co-occurring disorder of anxiety while treating a client for addiction almost always results in relapse.

WHat causes the condition?

Trauma and other difficult events are common causes of anxiety. Going through stress and trauma when you're very young is likely to have a particularly big impact. Experiences which can trigger anxiety problems include things like: physical or emotional abuse. The disorder is caused by a few different factors and can present at any time in life. These factors include genetics, brain chemistry and stressful environments. While many tend to dismiss anxiety as being a legitimate issue, including many who have it, it is a very real and powerful problem. Ignoring it or pretending it isn’t there will only lead to greater problems down the road.

While anxiety is classified as a mental-health disorder, it definitely takes a toll on physical well-being as well. While individuals who suffer from the condition often to try to hide warning signs and downplay the severity of the condition, there are definitely symptoms that lead some people to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.


In an attempt to calm symptoms, many people turn to substances to feel numb, calm down, or to help them sleep. Self-medicating is dangerous because the relief is only temporary. The anxiety will immediately return when the alcohol and drugs wear off leaving the person feeling even worse.

At the same time, brain receptors adjust to the presence of drugs and alcohol. In a short time, a calm feeling can only be achieved by stimulating these receptors with substances. The person will develop a tolerance and need increasing amounts to relieve anxiety symptoms. Individuals who are experiencing the dual problem need to get co-occurring disorder treatment in order to get well.

If you or somebody you know is experiencing the following symptoms, they may be suffering from anxiety and should consider a treatment program like the one offered at BriteLife Recovery:

  • Excessive or unnecessary worrying
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Mood swings
  • Obsessive behavior
  • Irritability
  • Difficult making decisions
  • Panic attacks
  • Headaches

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