My anxiety made me feel like I was in a cycle of fear and negative thoughts that were threatening my own safety.
I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I was so embarrassed. But my father helped me reach out and source a treatment programme. – Carole
Anxiety disorder is not just about feeling worried every so often, it is much more crippling than that.
It impacts your daily life and your ability to function normally, and it impacts every aspect of your life.
Speaking to people who are struggling on a daily basis has allowed us to see anxiety in the real world.
It’s not just a list of symptoms on a webpage, it manifests itself in all kinds of ways, physical and psychological symptoms.
Because anxiety is all-consuming, many turn to alcohol and drugs as a way of relieving symptoms or as a coping method.
If you’d like to talk, or need advice about addiction treatment, then please feel free to call us today on 0808 1150 446.
How are substance abuse problems and psychological disorders connected?
Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health problem in the UK, making up 40% of all mental health problems. (Mental Health Foundation UK)
You may be given anti-depressants for your anxiety, as depression and anxiety are interlinked and often experienced together.
Anti-depressants are used as a means of suppressing and maintaining your mental health problems at a level which is more endurable.
This is not as sustainable and long-term as seeking professional help and treatment for your mental health.
Call us for advice today on 0808 1150 446.
Dual diagnosis: The dangers of self-medicating
In most cases, whether or not you are on anti-depressants, you will naturally try to self-medicate substances such as drugs and alcohol.
Many seem to think that these substances will relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression that they may be feeling.
And while it will temporarily give you a ‘high’, or escape from your feelings, when you sober up and your feelings come back, they feel worse than before.
They will worsen your feelings of sadness and worry, and if you are taking antidepressants, they will not be effective if taken with alcohol.
This idea of self-medication for those struggling often leads to an increased tolerance in alcohol and drugs, and a dependence on these substances, which causes addiction.
If you don’t have anxiety, you don’t know what it’s like
There is so much stigma these days surrounding mental health.
If you have told someone that you are feeling anxious, you may have heard suggestions like ‘go for a run’, ‘try meditation or yoga’, or even responses like ‘don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine.’
While these people may be trying to help you, there is a high chance they think you are just worrying rather than suffering from real anxiety.
Yes, exercise and yoga, or talking through your problems can help some people with very mild anxiety or anxious behaviour.
But for most people struggling with this complex illness, they might need professional medical support and long-term therapy to help them overcome their symptoms and to reset their psychological approach to life’s hardships.
If you are struggling, we are here to listen. Call 0808 1150 446.
Fight or flight? Physical reactions to anxiety
Our bodies deal with fear by launching into survival mode.
If faced with fear, your heart rate will increase, air passages will dilate, and blood vessels will contract to increase blood flow to muscles. The body releases what is known as the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. Read more.
This will allow your responses to quicken, and you will be able to run away from an experience that puts you in danger.
Your body is protecting itself from harm. And when the body’s mechanisms kick in, there is nothing we can do about it.
Our fight or flight hormone “is not conscious – it is controlled by one of the most ‘primeval’ parts of the brain, which means it’s often a bit simplistic in the way it interprets danger…it makes no distinction between an external threat, such as a tiger, and an internal one, such as a troubling memory or a future worry. It treats both as threats that either need to be fought off or run away from.” – Mark Williams and Danny Penman
- Shaking and trembling
- Unable to sit or standstill
- Racing thoughts that are negative, destructive and relentless
- Breathlessness or hyperventilation
- Exhaustion yet inability to sleep
Your own mind can be your worst enemy
Anxiety is known as a state of mind, which is inescapable.
Not only will your mind be telling your body that you are in constant danger and a state of fear, but your mind will be racing with thoughts.
These thoughts will not stop, and they will also be negative, existential or suicidal. This will be worsened with your addiction too.
I’d be in a cycle of constant thoughts like ‘am I psychotic?’, ‘things are not going to work out’, ‘I can’t do it’, ‘I’m doing to die of a heart attack’. I couldn’t break out of it; they lead me to dark places, and I was suicidal. – Jenny
Treatment for substance misuse, addiction and mental illness
If you are struggling with addiction and mental health problems, you will most likely be in denial or think that you can solve your destructive thoughts by drinking or taking drugs.
However, this is dangerous for not just you but those around you too.
It is vital that if you are struggling, or you know someone who is suffering from addiction, you seek professional help as soon as you can.
We understand how hard it can be
If you are struggling, you are not alone. We are here to give you the advice and helping hand you need to find a recovery treatment that’s right for you.
Call us today on 080 1150 446.
More information here:
- Mental health and addiction
- Can I recover from a dual diagnosis?
- Understanding Anxiety guide
- Tell-tale signs of a secret addiction