When people refer to a dual diagnosis, someone has coexisting substance abuse and mental health disorders. This can often compound any existing issues. When people struggle with anxiety, they may feel even more disconnected from others.
The Role of Anxiety
When someone experiences anxiety, it often stems from two areas: chemical imbalance in the brain and past trauma. Often, the chemical imbalance can be helped with medication, but that will not solve the entire problem. Anxiety comes in a variety of different forms, including:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
Each of these has its roots in some type of trauma and will show itself in different ways. One of the worst things about anxiety is that it will not only weigh on people emotionally, but it will also put up barriers between them and others. This self-imposed isolation can lead to more problems.
The Problem of Isolation
Anxiety has far-reaching implications for anyone but can be especially harmful to those with substance abuse disorders. There is often a feeling of anxiety surrounding concepts such as rejection and their need for a substance.
When this anxiety becomes too much or too shameful, people will begin to isolate themselves. This behavior often results in a loss of connection with friends and family. Due to this, many of these people will end up sinking further into their substance abuse as a form of misguided comfort.
When people with substance abuse turn inward, they often get so caught up in their own problems that it becomes harder to accept the help of others. This often unintentional, self-imposed exile can also cause anxiety and stop them from reaching out on their own.
Essentially, the cycle of anxiety will stop people from building personal connections and will often destroy the ones that exist. That is why there are programs available to assist those with this problem.
The Power of Connection
There is a variety of reasons that personal connections are necessary, especially for those with substance abuse disorders. Many people find strength through those around them. Friends and family are there to rely upon when things get tough.
Keeping these connections can be a powerful deterrent against substance abuse and relapsing. A social safety net will often attempt to help even before the person realizes they are in trouble.
When a person has an anxiety disorder, it can hamper these relationships. Even when the individual may want to connect with others, their anxiety may force them into disconnecting. People, especially young people, may not want to be seen as the “anxious” ones. They may see it as a shameful mark.
However, anxiety may put that idea into people’s heads. The paranoia that others might be talking behind their back or thinking things that they are not.
Therefore, when a person with anxiety can be given the opportunity to connect, either through family and friends or through therapy, it is important to encourage them to do so.
Healing Anxiety Through Group Therapy
One of the best ways to deal with the anxiety surrounding connection is through group therapy. When a person enters a dual diagnosis treatment program, they will have the opportunity to concentrate on healing. Part of this is talking with others in the same position. Often, these are introverts who have anxiety and are grappling with their substance abuse.
When placed in small groups, they will find that their similarities bring them together and give them a more comforting feeling. As they come out of their shells, these bonds become stronger and will act as a stepping stone to further relationships.
It is important to note that a person in group therapy for a dual diagnosis will probably take longer to adjust to a new mindset. They may not immediately accept their new situation and newfound ability to connect. However, simply being in a guided group situation on a daily basis will eventually yield fruit. People are social animals, and sometimes all it takes is some coaxing and confidence building.
Anxiety and The Phoenix Recovery Center
Our facility is well-equipped to help those with a dual diagnosis. For many of the people that come to us for assistance, the issues they have are not new to our staff. With years of experience, we can offer unrivaled assistance for those experiencing anxiety on all levels and for all reasons.
We offer small groups so that there is the opportunity for real connection. It has become clear that larger groups feel impersonal and do not have the desired effects that we know can be achieved.
Our program is tailored to the individual, which means that each patient is assessed upon arrival and periodically reassessed to make sure that they are being helped properly. For those with anxiety disorders, this means matching with the right therapists, being placed in the proper groups, and finding the right medications to mediate certain problems.
People with anxiety are often overlooked. The effects of their disorder can have much deeper consequences than anyone sees on the surface. For these people, it is important to be given connections and to know that they are loved and cared for as they heal. The Phoenix Recovery Center is prepared to offer this type of care. To get started on treatment, contact the Phoenix Recover Center today at (801) 438-3185.