We all struggle with anxiety from time to time. It’s understandable to feel stressed or anxious because of a demanding job, problems at home, or challenging school assignments. 

Anxiety disorders, however, are far more destructive than the occasional feeling of stress or fear. They are persistent and frightening and can intensify substance use disorders.

If you or a loved one is experiencing unrelenting anxiety or other anxiety-related symptoms, we can help. 

Beach House Center for Recovery is a leading anxiety treatment center in Florida, providing comprehensive support for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. 

We proudly offer a variety of leading-edge treatment programs that address the mental health issues that contribute to substance use disorder, including anxiety. 

Continue reading to learn more. 

What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by excessive and often uncontrollable feelings of worry, fear, or unease. 

It can manifest in various forms and includes a range of sometimes debilitating symptoms. People with anxiety disorders may experience physical and psychological effects that significantly impact daily life and functioning. 

Our skilled mental health professionals diagnose and treat anxiety disorder through various therapeutic approaches. 

What Causes Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders are complex conditions with multiple contributing factors. 

The exact cause of anxiety disorders is not known, but they are believed to result from a combination of multiple factors, including

  • Genetics
    A family history of anxiety disorders may increase the risk of developing one. 
  • Brain Chemistry
    Imbalances in neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine can affect anxiety. These imbalances can affect mood regulation and stress response.
  • Environmental Factors
    Stressful life events, trauma, or significant changes in life circumstances, such as divorce or job loss, can trigger or exacerbate anxiety disorders.
  • Childhood Experiences
    Adverse experiences, including abuse, neglect, or early exposure to chronic stress, can increase the risk of anxiety disorders later in life.
  • Personality Factors
    Traits like being overly perfectionistic or having a tendency toward negative thinking may contribute to developing anxiety disorders.
  • Medical Conditions
    Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders and heart conditions, can mimic or exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
  • Substance Use
    Alcohol, drugs, or certain medications can lead to or worsen anxiety disorders. This is known as substance-induced anxiety disorder.

It’s important to note that anxiety disorders are complex and often result from a combination of these factors. Different individuals may have other risk factors. Not everyone exposed to these risk factors will also develop an anxiety disorder.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several different types of anxiety disorders, each characterized by specific patterns of symptoms and triggers. 

The most common types include

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
    GAD is characterized by excessive, chronic worry and anxiety about various aspects of daily life, such as health, work, and relationships. People with GAD often struggle to control their fears and may experience physical symptoms like restlessness, muscle tension, and fatigue.
  • Panic Disorder
    Individuals with panic disorder experience sudden and intense panic attacks and episodes of overwhelming fear or dread. These attacks can occur suddenly, including symptoms like rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
    Social anxiety disorder involves an intense fear of social situations and scrutiny by others. Individuals with this disorder may avoid social interactions and experience severe anxiety when faced with them.
  • Specific Phobias
    Specific phobias are intense and irrational fears of particular objects, situations, or activities.
    Phobias are classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) as the following

    • Fears of animals
    • Fears of environmental phenomena
    • Fears associated with injuries, medical procedures, or blood
    • Fears of performing specific actions

    Other common phobias include heights (acrophobia), spiders (arachnophobia), flying (aviophobia), and a fear of being in places or situations where escape or help may be difficult (agoraphobia).
    To be categorized as a phobia, the symptoms must last more than six months and cause life-altering behaviors in response. Another physical or mental health disorder cannot cause the symptoms.

  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
    This disorder is most observed in children but can persist into adulthood. It involves excessive worry and fear of separation from loved ones or attachment figures.
  • Selective Mutism
    This is characterized by a consistent inability to speak in specific social situations despite speaking in other cases. It often occurs in childhood but can affect adults. 

It’s important to note that individuals may experience more than one type of anxiety disorder simultaneously, and the severity of symptoms can vary.

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

Anxiety disorder symptoms can vary depending on the specific type of anxiety disorder a person is experiencing. However, there are common symptoms shared among various anxiety disorders. 

These symptoms may include

  • Excessive worry
  • Restlessness
  • Physical symptoms like a fast heartbeat or sweating
  • Irrational fears or phobias
  • Panic attacks
  • Avoiding certain situations
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Withdrawing from social activities

The Link Between Anxiety Disorders, Addiction, and Alcohol Use

People who routinely feel anxious might self-medicate with alcohol or other mood-altering substances. This self-medication can temporarily relieve anxiety symptoms but often leads to a problematic cycle. 

Sometimes, the medications prescribed to treat anxiety can become a concern due to their potential for addiction or misuse. 

Unfortunately, misusing substances can significantly aggravate existing anxiety disorders, leading to cycles of substance misuse that can be challenging to break free from. Substance use disorder is one of the most common mental health issues in the United States and frequently co-occurs with anxiety disorders.

According to current research, substance use disorders frequently precede or co-occur with anxiety disorders, particularly in specific subgroups of individuals. While the two have a strong association, establishing a clear causal relationship can be complex and multifaceted. 

Understanding and addressing this relationship is crucial in providing effective treatment and support for individuals with these overlapping conditions.

Evidence-Based Anxiety Treatment Center in Florida

Beach House Center for Recovery is among Florida’s leading anxiety treatment centers. 

With an experienced team of mental health clinicians, addiction specialists, and psychiatric providers, we provide personalized treatment programs that address underlying anxiety disorders and co-occurring substance misuse or addictions.

Please contact our compassionate and helpful admissions counselors today to learn more about our treatment center.