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Anxiety disorders are one of the most commonly occurring psychiatric illnesses in the United States. According to a study by Harvard Medical School, it is estimated that over 30% of adults in the US will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder over the course of their lifetime. Research¹ also indicates that women are more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder (24 % versus 14%, respectively). Feelings of anxiety exist on a spectrum and can range from very mild to extremely severe.

While it is not uncommon for most individuals to experience some anxiety under a particularly stressful situation, an anxiety disorder is diagnosed when the level of anxiety becomes persistent, pervasive, and disruptive to an individual’s daily functioning. When anxiety symptoms become severe, some individuals may use drugs or alcohol to help manage their symptoms.

At Hammocks on the Edisto, we are a women’s residential substance use treatment center near Charleston, SC. If you or a loved one is self-medicating your anxiety with drugs and/or alcohol, let our mental health treatment program help! For more information on addiction and anxiety treatment, please call us today at 833.793.0191.

Anxiety Disorders and Substance Usewomen's anxiety treatment

Increasingly, research is focusing on the co-occurrence of anxiety disorders and addiction. While it is difficult to ascertain whether anxiety leads to alcohol and drug use, or vice versa, there are three ways² that these disorders are thought to interact.

  1. Self-medication, in which a person may use alcohol and or drugs to manage anxiety symptoms
  2. The anxiety disorder is substance-induced, meaning it occurs after the use/ingestion of drugs or alcohol
  3. A genetic predisposition or sensitivity to both anxiety and addiction.

At Hammocks on the Edisto, our focus is on teaching women about addiction and supporting them in recovery while also addressing their anxiety when the two disorders interact.

Our medical staff can review non-addictive medication alternatives with the residents, while our clinical staff, wellness coach, and yoga therapist can all work with residents on finding long term, non-pharmacologic alternatives to cope with and manage their anxiety symptoms (such as yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction, breathwork, and CBT).

To help our residents wind down after a long day, we encourage healthy sleep hygiene practices, starting with participation in our evening tea time. Residents choose from a variety of locally-sourced tea varieties from the Charleston Tea Garden and local kinds of honey from Bee City. As they enjoy their caffeine-free, herbal tea before bedtime, it is an ideal opportunity to chat and mingle with fellow residents.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition (DSM-V) describes anxiety disorders as having a common set of symptoms that are experienced both emotionally and physically. The emotional symptoms may include excessive fear, worry, apprehension, irritability, dread, or jumpiness. The physical symptoms may include a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweat, fatigue, insomnia, headache, or upset stomach. Individuals may experience some or even all of these symptoms, depending on the nature and severity of their anxiety. The DSM-V also identifies a number of types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Social phobia (social anxiety disorder)
  • Specific phobia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

At Hammocks on the Edisto, we will work with you to identify how your anxiety may be related to or contributing to your drug and alcohol addiction. Our clinical team utilizes cognitive processing therapy as one of our treatment approaches to help reduce symptoms of PTSD for women who have survived traumatic events.

Learn More at Hammocks on the Edisto

Located just south of Charleston, SC, our women’s residential facility is ready to help guide you on the path to recovery! For more information on our treatment program for anxiety and addiction, contact us at 833.793.0191.

¹ Harvard Medical School, 2007. National Comorbidity Survey (NCS). (2017, August 21). Retrieved from https://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/ncs/index.php. Data Table 2: 12-month prevalence DSM-IV/WMH-CIDI disorders by sex and cohort.

² Stewart SH, Conrod PJ. Anxiety disorders and substance use disorders comorbidity: common themes and future directions. In: Stewart SH, Conrod PJ, editors. Anxiety and Substance Use Disorders: The Vicious Cycle of Comorbidity. New York: Springer; 2008. pp. 239–257.