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Co-Occurring Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Co-occurring generalized anxiety disorder takes everyday worries and amplifies them to the point that they dominate thoughts and disrupt lives. Individuals suffering from it are in a constant state of fear and fatigue. Unsurprisingly, serious anxiety problems are also closely related to substance use disorders. On one hand, individuals turn to drugs and alcohol for the relief of anxiety symptoms. On the other, these substances, especially after developing physical dependence to them, can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety.

The dual diagnosis treatment program at Creative Care gets to the unhealed roots that drive these conditions. Clients learn healthy, positive coping mechanisms for the anxiety and begin to see drugs and alcohol as the failed solution they’ve always been. To learn more about our residential dual diagnosis program, give us a call today.

Common Questions About Co-Occurring Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Co-occurring major depressive disorder is a mental health condition that causes excessive or compulsive worry beyond what a situation actually warrants. These worries begin to take a central role in individuals suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, preventing them from carrying out daily activities. Furthermore, it is one of the most common co-occurring conditions. A survey by Bolton and Sareen found that self-medication of anxiety was the number one reason participants gave for their substance use.

Symptoms of co-occurring generalized anxiety disorder feature thoughts and actions marked by exaggerated worry and signs of substance use issues. These include:

  • Excessive worry
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • An unrealistic view of the problems in one’s life
  • Isolation
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Using substance to the point of causing problems with school, work, or relationships
  • Continuing to use substance despite these problems

Like most mental health conditions, genetics and environment are a major factor in the development of generalized anxiety disorder. Research also suggests that brain chemistry and poorly connecting neurotransmitters play a part. Traumatic experiences, particularly in childhood, also dramatically increase the risk of developing generalized anxiety disorder. Finally, addictive substances like drugs and alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can cause and worsen anxiety.

Evidence-based talk therapies like psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral therapy are very effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder. Individuals learn to recognize the triggers that cause their anxiety symptoms as well as problematic behaviors resulting from them, including substance use issues.

Meditation and other mindfulness interventions are also beneficial in helping clients relax and bridging the gap between the rational mind and instinctual body.

Creative Care has over 30 years of experience helping individuals manage and overcome mental health conditions like generalized anxiety disorder. For compassionate, innovative treatment, call Creative Care today.