Mental health conditions that are characterized by feelings of anxiety, worry, excessive fear, and/or apprehension that elicits change in behavior or impairs an individual’s ability to function appropriately on a daily basis are referred to as anxiety disorders. While it is normal for any person to experience feelings of anxiety at various times, those who suffer from an anxiety disorder find that their symptoms are persistent and cause significant hindrances in their everyday lives.
There a number of different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobia, and agoraphobia. Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder suffer from excessive levels of worry and apprehension that are centered on the expectation that something negative is going to occur, despite the fact that the likelihood of that particular thing occurring is minimal. Individuals with separation anxiety disorder experience ongoing feelings of fear or anxiety regarding being separated from important attachment figures or being away from their homes. Individuals who suffer from social anxiety disorder, without rehabilitation, also frequently referred to as social phobia, experience intense, pervasive fear about social situations, which can lead to immense distress and the development of avoidance behaviors. Those who suffer from panic disorder are plagued by recurrent panic attacks, which are characterized by intense surges of fear that elicit distressing physical and psychological symptoms. Specific phobia occurs when individuals develop extreme fears regarding certain objects or situations that cause them to go to great lengths to avoid making contact with the things that they fear. Individuals who suffer from agoraphobia experience extreme distress that is triggered by various occurrences, such as using public transportation, being outside of the home, or being in a crowd. Their fear revolves around the feeling that they will be unable to escape the situation if necessary, therefore leading them to avoid those situations at all costs.
The symptoms of any anxiety disorder can cause monumental strife in the lives of those who suffer from them. Unfortunately, this strife frequently leads individuals to seek out means of self-medicating in order to find relief from their distressing symptoms. This type of self-medicating often comes in the form of abusing drugs and/or alcohol. As a result, these individuals need to receive comprehensive treatment at a rehab center for anxiety that addresses both the substance abuse as well as the anxiety disorder symptoms.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that an estimated 40 million people over the age of 18 suffer from anxiety disorders, equating to approximately 18% of the adult population in the United States.
Causes and Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders
There are a variety of causes and risk factors that can impact a person’s vulnerability to suffering from an anxiety disorder. Such causes and risk factors are discussed briefly in the following:
Genetic: When people have a family history of anxiety disorders, they are at an increased risk for suffering from the same type of disorders at some point in their lives. However, the particular levels of heritability vary among the different types of disorders themselves.
Environmental: Certain environmental factors can play a role in the development of various anxiety disorder symptoms. The onset of separation anxiety disorder has been linked to an individual’s having experienced significant life stressors, most predominantly being that of losing a loved one. The onset of social anxiety disorder can be elicited when individuals are subjected to childhood maltreatment and adversity. Specific phobia can develop after an individual has had a negative encounter with a particular object or situation. The onset of panic disorder can be linked to experiencing stressors related to one’s wellbeing or from suffering from various types of abuse. Negative childhood events or experiences can cause agoraphobia to develop.
- Family history of anxiety disorders
- Experiencing a traumatic event
- Parental overprotection throughout one’s childhood
- Behavioral inhibition
- Being the victim of abuse
- Suffering from childhood maltreatment
- Smoking (a risk factor particularly related to panic attacks)
- Believing that anxiety symptoms are harmful
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
The particular signs and symptoms that can be indicative of the presence of an anxiety disorder will vary depending on the specific type of anxiety disorder that an individual is suffering from. Additionally, if an individual is suffering from any co-occurring conditions, the types of symptoms will likewise vary. Examples of various signs and symptoms that may be displayed by an individual who has an anxiety disorder can include:
- Avoiding certain events, situations, places, people, and/or objects
- Isolating oneself from others
- No longer adhering to daily tasks and responsibilities
- Frequent absences from work or failing to engage in other obligations
- Refusing to leave one’s home
- Pounding heart
- Significant sleep disturbances
- Muscle tension
- Persistent stomachaches
- Persistent headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling as though one’s mind has gone blank
- Unable to control or overcome feelings of apprehension and worry
- Suicidal ideation
- Feelings of helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Low self-esteem
- Mood swings
Effects of Anxiety Disorders
Failing to receive treatment at a rehab center for anxiety disorder symptoms can lead to the development of any number of adverse effects. Examples of these effects may include, but are not limited, to the following:
- Engaging in self-harming behaviors and suffering from the consequences of such
- Overall decreased quality of life
- Onset of new, or worsening of current, distressing symptoms
- Familial strife
- Deteriorated relationships
- Occupational failure
- Social withdrawal
- Decreased physical wellbeing
- Beginning to abuse drugs and/or alcohol
As was previously mentioned, substance abuse and subsequent addictions can impact the lives of those suffering from anxiety disorders as they desperately try to find a way to relieve their distressing symptoms. In addition to chemical dependency, there are a number of other mental health concerns that can plague individuals who are suffering from an anxiety disorder. Examples of various disorders that have been noted as co-occurring alongside anxiety disorders can include:
- Bipolar disorders
- Depressive disorders
- Eating disorders
- Multiple anxiety disorders
- Impulse-control disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Personality disorders
- Substance use disorders
Why Consider Treatment for Anxiety Disorders at our Rehab Centers in Newport Beach
The presence of an anxiety disorder, or multiple anxiety disorders, can cause monumental strife to arise in an individual’s life. When substance abuse and addiction are also a part of that individual’s life, the strife can be even more excessive. For this reason, it is imperative that individuals who are suffering from these types of adversities seek and receive treatment in order to overcome their distress.
While there are various types of treatment options that exist to help individuals overcome their chemical dependency concerns and learn to manage their anxiety symptoms, residential treatment is often the most effective. By entering a residential treatment program, these individuals are sheltered from access to their drugs of choice, while also being surrounded by an environment that encourages the healing of their anxiety symptoms. Sober Living by the Sea offers comprehensive care in a residential setting that can help individuals achieve the healing and lasting recovery that they deserve.
Sober Living by the Sea is a network of exceptional treatment & rehab providers that offer all-inclusive care for co-occurring substance abuse and anxiety disorders. Sober Living by the Sea includes The Rose, The Landing, and Sunrise Recovery Ranch, all of which are premiere providers of mental health and chemical dependency treatment. Each center employs knowledgeable and caring staff members who are devoted to providing clients with individualized treatment plans that address their unique needs and concerns. By engaging in treatment at one of these centers, individuals can develop the tools they need to fully recover from the symptoms that plague them.