Do you drink to calm your nerves? To wind down after a stressful day? If so, you’re not alone. It’s common for people with anxiety disorders to self-medicate with alcohol. According to many sources, up to a third of people with anxiety disorders also have alcohol use disorders. While drinking alcohol may temporarily relieve anxiety, it’s important to understand the risks associated with this type of self-medication.
If you or someone close to you is struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD), help is just around the corner. Contact New Bridge Foundation® today to learn more about receiving alcohol addiction treatment in Berkeley, CA. You can reach us at 866.772.8491 or fill out our convenient online form.
The Relationship Between Alcohol and Anxiety
People drink alcohol for many different reasons. For some, it’s a way to relax and socialize with friends. However, for others it may be a way to cope with anxiety or other mental health conditions.
Unfortunately, alcohol and anxiety can affect each other negatively. While initial use may result in feelings of relaxation, continued use can lead to increased levels of anxiety. This is because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it slows down the body’s natural processes, including heart rate and breathing.
For people with anxiety disorders, this can be extremely dangerous. Alcohol abuse can trigger panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms. It can also lead to physical dependence and addiction.
Am I Addicted to Alcohol?
If you’re struggling to control your alcohol intake, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible, especially when you are struggling with mental health and alcohol abuse simultaneously. There are many resources available to help you overcome addiction and live a healthy, sober life.
One of the first steps in treatment is understanding whether you have an alcohol use disorder. AUD is a medical condition that requires treatment by a qualified professional. Some signs that you may have AUD include:
- Drinking more or for longer periods of time than intended
- Unsuccessful attempts to cut back on drinking
- Spending significant amounts of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of alcohol
- Cravings or strong urges to drink
- Continued use despite negative consequences
- Neglecting important activities or responsibilities in favor of drinking
- Drinking in hazardous situations
- Drinking despite physical or mental health problems caused or worsened by drinking
- Increased tolerance (needing more and more alcohol to feel its effects)
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, shakiness, sweating, nausea) when stopping or reducing consumption
If you or someone in your life is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential that you reach out to a professional addiction treatment program like the one at New Bridge Foundation®.
What to Expect in a Mental Health and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Program
If you are struggling with alcohol and anxiety, you may need specialized treatment in order to recover from both conditions. This type of treatment is called “co-occurring disorder treatment” or “dual diagnosis treatment.”
In a co-occurring disorder treatment program, you will work with a team of professionals who will develop a personalized treatment plan for you based on your unique needs. Treatment may include individual counseling, group counseling, medication management, and other evidence-based therapies. The goal of treatment is to help you develop coping skills so that you can manage your anxiety without turning to alcohol.
The Advantages of Treating Alcohol and Anxiety Issues at the Same Time
There are many advantages to seeking professional treatment for co-occurring disorders like AUD and anxiety disorders.
First and foremost, it can literally save your life. According to most estimates, approximately 20 percent of people with AUD die from their condition each year—but this number goes up significantly when mental health conditions are also present. Second, professional treatment can help you develop healthy coping skills that will last a lifetime. Third, dual-diagnosis treatment programs offer comprehensive care that addresses all aspects of your recovery—not just one condition or the other.
Finally, receiving care from qualified professionals like the ones at New Bridge Foundation® ensures that you receive evidence-based care that is proven to be effective in treating co-occurring disorders like AUD and anxiety disorders.
Learn More About Mental Health and Alcohol Abuse at New Bridge Foundation® Today
If you or someone you love is struggling with AUD and an anxiety disorder, we encourage you to seek professional help as soon as possible. At New Bridge Foundation®, we offer comprehensive co-occurring disorder treatment programs that are designed to meet the unique needs of each individual who comes through our doors.
In addition to our more than 50 years of experience, we have been named one of America’s “Best Addiction Treatment Centers” for the past three years by Statista and Newsweek Magazine. Contact us today at 866.772.8491 to learn more about our affordable programs and how we can help you or your loved one start on the road to recovery.