When dealing with anxiety – especially anxiety disorder – a person may turn to alcohol to calm down. The occasional drink may help a person relax or unwind at the end of the day. However, the occasional drink may turn into an addiction. As a result, anxiety and alcohol become linked, as the person suffers from not one, but two problems.
A person who suffers from an anxiety disorder and alcoholism has co-occurring disorders. Both disorders require specialized treatment for the client to fully recover. Alcohol addiction treatment centers in Texas provide a dual diagnosis as a form of treatment to give the person a better chance of recovery.
Why People with Anxiety Turn to Alcohol
The initial effect of alcohol on the brain is twofold:
The Initial Buzz or Euphoria
Upon consumption, the first effect that alcohol has on the brain is that of excitement or pleasure. A person may ‘come alive’ and feel a sense of euphoria. This is because the alcohol content is responsible for releasing the neurotransmitter, serotonin in large quantities.
Relaxation or Sedation
The second effect that alcohol has on the brain is relaxation or sedation. Alcohol binds to GABA receptors and inhibits the neurotransmitters from signaling. This can cause brain activity to slow down. The result is that a person feels relaxed. When enough alcohol is consumed the user feels intoxicated from too much of the substance.
The combination of euphoria and relaxation is attractive to someone who is dealing with an anxiety disorder. Instead of seeking professional treatment for anxiety, a person may turn to alcohol to self-medicate. This begins the destructive relationship between anxiety and alcohol.
Which Comes First: The Alcohol or the Anxiety?
When diagnosing alcoholism and anxiety disorder, treatment specialists are often at a loss as to which arrived first. A client may have a difficult time recalling events that led to either. In addition, either condition can go on for years before someone recognizes they have a problem.
What is clear is the symbiotic relationship between both conditions. For instance, a person who is suffering from anxiety may turn to alcohol to calm down. Eventually, this becomes a habit that turns into a dependency. Likewise, a person who drinks excessively for several months or years may develop an anxiety disorder. In either case, there is a clear link between both. Therefore, both conditions require professional care at an addiction treatment center in Texas.
Dual Diagnosis for Anxiety and Alcohol Addiction
Clients who have a mental disorder such as anxiety may also have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. A dual diagnosis is a professional form of diagnosis and treatment for co-occurring disorders. It is a vital element in helping someone who is trying to stop drinking but has experienced multiple failed attempts.
There are several benefits of dual diagnosis treatment including:
- It promotes a full, long-term recovery from both conditions
- The client learns how to cope effectively with both conditions
- The therapist can develop an appropriate treatment plan
- It improves the chances of recovery without relapse
- Dual diagnosis involves evidence-based and holistic treatment
Common treatments for co-occurring disorders may include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, trauma therapy, mindfulness, meditation, nutrition, or fitness depending on what an addiction treatment center in Texas has to offer.
Get Help for Anxiety and Alcohol Addiction Today
If you are struggling with anxiety and alcohol addiction, treatment is available at Mission Recovery. To find out more about your treatment options, feel free to call us at 833.477.7379. We can help find the answers and get on the road to lifelong recovery from alcoholism and anxiety disorder.