Feelings of anxiety in women and men can be incredibly normal. Anxiety can help you stay out of harm’s way, prepare you for important events like a business presentation or an exam at school, and it can even subconsciously warn you when you’re in a potentially dangerous situation.
However, when the feelings of anxiety persist beyond those circumstances and seem impossible to control, to the point that they start to have an impact on your daily activities, you could very well be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety in Women vs. Men
Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in America today. With 40 million Americans currently diagnosed as having some sort of anxiety disorder, individuals of present-day are five times as likely to suffer an anxiety disorder than they were 40 years ago. Believe it or not, anxiety in women as a disorder occurs twice as often as it does in men.
Even with the astounding numbers of anxiety in women, it’s commonly believed among medical professionals that women are still being underdiagnosed. This is likely due to people assuming having anxiety is normal and they shouldn’t seek treatment.
The amount of time that passes between the onset of symptoms of anxiety in women and when they first seek treatment is an alarming nine to 12 years!
Here are a few symptoms of an actual physical anxiety disorder as opposed to normal, purposeful anxiety:
- Constant and unsubstantiated worry that causes significant distress and interferes with your everyday life
- Avoiding social situations for fear of being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated
- Seemingly out of the blue panic attacks and being preoccupied with the fear of having another one
Are Anxiety in Women and Addiction Connected?
Anxiety disorders and substance abuse can be incredibly connected. Many women abuse drugs or alcohol as a way to try to control their feelings of anxiety, which does not actually work and can eventually lead to an addictive disorder – in addition to anxiety. For others, alcohol and drug use and withdrawal can cause symptoms of anxiety in women.
When a mental illness and substance abuse problem occur simultaneously, it is commonly referred to as a dual diagnosis disorder. In a lucky few cases, abstaining from that particular substance for a prolonged period of time will cause the symptoms to wane and eventually go away altogether.
However, for the majority of other dual diagnosis sufferers, their symptoms of anxiety persist through their substance abuse and often times worsen when abstaining for extended periods of time, making recovery all the more difficult.
Thankfully, for these individuals, there are proven treatment options available. When you’re diagnosed as having a dual diagnosis disorder, it is imperative to treat the mental illness and the substance abuse problem at the same time.
Anxiety in women and substance abuse are often treated with a combination of behavioral therapy (which focuses on changing specific actions and uses several techniques to stop the unwanted behaviors,) cognitive behavioral therapy (which teaches addicts to understand and change their thinking patterns so they can learn to react differently to situations that cause them anxiety,) and when a doctor thinks it’s necessary, medication as well.
Destination Hope is the premier drug and alcohol rehab in South Florida that specializes in individuals with dual diagnoses. Our well-trained staff can aid you in your battle with addiction, as well as helping an individual learn to reduce and live with the symptoms of their anxiety. Give us a call when you’re ready so we can help ease your burdens today.