Anxiety before a big performance is normal. An anxiety disorder is not, but overwhelming stress that you can\u2019t shake is common among Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 31.1% of adults in the U.S. will experience some level of anxiety disorder in their lifetime. It\u2019s no surprise that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness. This growing trend is cause for concern, and not just because the symptoms are scary. Decades of research have proven anxiety and addiction go hand-in-hand. If you or a loved one suffers from anxiety and addiction, reach out to the dual diagnosis treatment center in Worcester, MA to find relief from both disorders. Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder Anxiety can manifest in many ways, depending on the person, but no matter who you are, it\u2019s hard to deal with. The National Institute of Mental Health says, \u201cAnxiety disorders can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.\u201d Anxiety disorders are disruptive because they create a constant panic that you cannot control. Other surefire signs of anxiety include: \tA sense of doom \tNervousness \tWeakness or fatigue \tTrouble concentrating on daily activities \tTrouble sleeping \tChest pain \tIncreased heart rate \tRapid breathing (hyperventilating) \tShaking \tSweating \tStomachache or other GI problems To be clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you must have these symptoms most days for at least six months. At that point, you may be diagnosed with one or more types of anxiety. How Anxiety Relates to Addiction \u201cThe presence of an anxiety or substance use disorder is also a risk factor for the presence of the other disorder,\u201d according to Psychiatry Times. In other words, having an anxiety disorder puts you at risk of a drug addiction, and vice versa. When both are active, it\u2019s called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. Since there are several different anxiety disorders, dual diagnosis can take many forms. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder are highly associated with substance use disorders. Alcohol abuse is more closely connected to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than drug use is. While PTSD isn\u2019t an anxiety disorder, it\u2019s often characterized by feelings of anxiety and panic attacks. Having an anxiety disorder doesn\u2019t just put you at risk of addiction: It can cause addictive behaviors. A 2004 study of 86 adolescents (15 to 22 years old) helped prove that anxiety can cause substance use. When researchers followed up with participants 7.4 years later, those who managed their anxiety were less likely to use substances. But why does anxiety cause addiction? \tWhen someone suffers from anxiety, they may use drugs or alcohol to cope with their feelings. \tWhen someone hasn\u2019t been properly diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, they might turn to drugs and alcohol as self-medication. \tWhen someone with anxiety has impulsive behaviors, they may use drugs and alcohol out of boredom. In this case, addictive behavior is almost subconscious. Treating co-occurring disorders of anxiety and addiction requires special care and attention. The good news is anxiety and addiction are often caused by the same\u2014or similar\u2014factors, including: \tGenetics \tBrain chemistry \tPersonality \tLife-changing events By addressing these areas, you can treat the underlying issues. Treatment Options for Anxiety and Addiction The most effective form of treatment for people with dual diagnoses is one that addresses both conditions at the same time. A study in Alcohol and Alcoholism found that this kind of care improved \u201cdrinking outcomes for patients with alcohol dependence and comorbid depression\/anxiety disorder.\u201d The study compared cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and alcohol abuse to typical counseling for alcohol problems alone. CBT, which addressed both conditions, was more effective than the usual counseling methods. This shows that addressing both alcohol dependence and anxiety\/depression together is the best path to recovery. Regardless of which came first, anxiety and addiction can be treated side-by-side. Here are your treatment options: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in Massachusettes teaches you how to overcome the thoughts that lead to anxiousness or substance use. Medications Anti-anxiety medications typically increase serotonin. It\u2019s a chemical in your body\u2014the feel-good hormone related to a positive mood. Anxiety medication should only be used under the supervision of your doctor. Benzodiazepines, for instance, have the potential for abuse, so they\u2019re not generally used for people with substance-use disorders. Drug Treatment Centers Some drug treatment centers specialize in treating co-occurring disorders, especially if you live with both anxiety and addiction. Washburn House specializes in drug treatment with the following: \tAlcohol addiction treatment in Worcester \tHeroin addiction treatment in Boston \tOpiate and opioid addiction treatment \tBenzo addiction treatment \tMarijuana addiction treatment in MA Types of Anxiety Disorders The most common types of anxiety disorders include: Agoraphobia Agoraphobia is the fear of public places and situations that make you feel trapped. This anxiety disorder can be brought on after a couple of episodes of panic in public places. Some fearful situations include: \tBeing alone in an unknown place \tTraveling in an enclosed space (car, bus, train) \tAttending a crowded event An estimated 1.3% of U.S. adults experience agoraphobia at some point in their lives. Generalized Anxiety Disorder Generalized anxiety disorder is known as GAD. It includes persistent and excessive worry for no particular reason. Usually, the worry is inflated compared to the actual event or activity. This form of anxiety is hard to control and often comes along with other anxiety disorders or depression. Panic Disorder A panic disorder is characterized by panic attacks: sudden bouts of anxiety that can last several minutes. More than 1 million Americans experience panic attacks every month; each episode lasts 10 minutes on average. During a panic attack, you might feel: \tChest pain \tShortness of breath \tRapid heartbeat That\u2019s why many people liken panic attacks to heart attacks. You may also feel impending doom, which makes your feeling of worry worse. Social Phobia Social anxiety affects 15 million adults, which is 6.8% of the U.S. population. If you suffer from a social phobia, you avoid social gatherings at all costs because they make you feel embarrassed or like everyone is judging you. If you get into an uncomfortable social situation, you may experience a panic attack. Specific Phobia Many people fear specific situations, like swimming in the ocean or flying on an airplane. A specific phobia can also be the fear of an object or animal, like spiders. With nearly 9% of American adults experiencing a specific fear in any given year, they\u2019re not uncommon. If you have a severe case, you could change your daily routine to avoid the situation, object, or animal. Specific phobias can spur panic attacks. You Are Not Alone A qualified treatment center will provide cognitive behavioral therapy, medication-assisted therapy, and more. If you\u2019re suffering from anxiety and addiction, call medical professionals at to discuss treatment programs. We are experienced in treating dual diagnoses and offer a range of treatment options to suit your needs. Contact Washburn House for your custom treatment plan. You can recover from your addiction and stay sober for years to come with skills to cope with your anxiety.