Anxiety: Experience & Symptoms

Anxiety; it’s the restlessness and the burning in your throat. It’s the inability to relax when you desperately want to relax. It’s trouble sleeping, yet feeling fatigued in your waking hours. It’s a pervasive worry, a feeling as though the other shoe will drop at any time. It’s rumination that occupies most of your attention, the inability to focus, and general irritability.

In some cases, anxiety is accompanied by panic attacks and phobias that are so intense it feels difficult to function. And you want relief, you want to trust that things will be okay. You want to remember the lightness you had at an earlier time when you had felt a sense of safety, fun, and peace. You want to trust your ability to make decisions, and you want to enjoy life.

If you are looking for anxiety and addiction treatment in Arizona, hope is available. Anxiety and addiction are intertwined. Addiction often develops as a means to cope with anxiety, yet addiction increases our anxiety. Anxiety develops due to stress, which may be due to a present-day circumstance or a previous traumatic situation. This process can leave you feeling stuck, trapped, and longing for freedom. And freedom from both addiction and anxiety is possible.

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The Cause of Anxiety

Anxiety is rooted in stress; the experience of your body entering the physiological fight, flight, or freeze state. Your nervous system enters fight, flight, or freeze when you encounter a real or perceived threat. This state of your biology revs you up to take action and protect yourself. Stress can be beneficial in moderate forms when calling upon courage, bravery, and task completion. This helpful stress is known as eustress. However, for stress to remain beneficial once you complete the task or no longer need to be courageous, your nervous system needs to release the fight, flight, or freeze energy. When you do not experience this release, the fight-flight-and freeze energy stays in your body and leaves you tense. Your mind perceives this body state to mean that you are not safe and that something is wrong.

Substance Use as A Coping Strategy

Addiction is the experience in which a coping mechanism has taken on a life of its own. For example, you initially used a substance to provide a needed experience such as relief, rest, or peace. Or, you sought confidence and felt more comfortable in a social setting when you were under the influence. Perhaps you needed to complete tasks at work and didn’t have the energy, so you turned to a stimulant. The biologically addictive nature of substances, coupled with the psychological need met (temporarily) by using these substances, can lead you to develop an addiction.

Means to Cope

So, you cope in the best ways you know to cope. There are many coping mechanisms, some of which help discharge your anxiety and experience healing such as having a recovery life coach. However, some coping mechanisms, such as alcohol or other substances, provide temporary relief yet leave you with more stress, anxiety, and bodily harm than you started with. The temporary relief was desperately needed, yet, in the process, you developed an addiction.

Substance Use Disorder Criteria

Addiction is a painful experience in which you encounter loss, demoralization, distraction, and daily chaos. Hallmarks of addiction involve mind states such as denial and obsession with the substance. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual lays out criteria for determining if you have a substance use disorder, including the following:

  • Taking larger amounts of the substance than is recommended or than you intend to take
  • Your wish to stop or reduce use but are unable to do so
  • Spending a significant amount of time seeking, using, or recovering from the substance
  • Craving the substance
  • Not completing responsibilities at home, work, or school because of the substances
  • Having problems in your relationships because of the substance but continuing to use anyway
  • Giving up things that used to be important to you due to the substance, such as social, work-related activities, or hobbies
  • Being involved in high-risk situations because of use or to obtain the substance
  • Continuing to use the substance when you are having negative physical and mental health problems due to using the substance
  • Developing tolerance to the substance and needing to use more of it to achieve the effect you are seeking
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you do not use the substance

If you relate to two or three of these criteria, this indicates mild substance use disorder. Relating to four or five criteria indicate moderate substance use disorder. If you relate to six or more symptoms, this indicates severe substance use disorder.

Anxiety and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

When you enter our Scottsdale sober living home, you have medical and psychological support with detoxification and withdrawal. You have a team of specialists such as physiatrists, psychologists, counselors, spiritual support, and peers to help you gain freedom from your addiction and treat the underlying causes that led you to use substances to cope.

Physical, emotional and spiritual healing from addiction and anxiety can be one of the most meaningful experiences in life. The results of healing include a peaceful mindset, trust in yourself, confidence in your ability to make decisions, and improved relationships. To learn more about how treatment can benefit, contact a member of our team today.