Skip to main content

Feelings of stress and anxiety are common while undergoing substance abuse treatment. Sometimes these issues are a result of substance use, and other times they are part of a larger, underlying disorder. When looking for a quality outpatient treatment facility, it is important to know how their programs can also treat co-occurring disorders like anxiety.

What Is a Co-occurring Disorder?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), if you have a substance use disorder, you are at particular risk for developing one or more primary conditions or chronic diseases. The coexistence of both a mental illness and a substance use disorder, in particular, is known as a co-occurring disorder.

The reverse of this is also true. SAMSHA says that if you already have a mental illness, you are more likely to experience a substance use disorder than those not affected by a mental illness.

Co-occurring disorders are quite common. According to SAMHSA’s 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder. 

Why Is Anxiety a Common Co-occurring Disorder?

According to a 2015 study in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders are among the most prevalent psychiatric illnesses. These disorders frequently co-occur, with rates of co-occurrence even higher than would be expected by chance. There are several reasons for this. 

Using Substances to Manage Anxiety

The same study also notes that the reason for this co-occurrence could represent substance use initiated to manage anxiety. You may try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol when you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety. One drink can turn into three or four, and with continued use, you can become dependent on the substances completely.

Anxiety Disorder Triggered by Substance Abuse or Withdrawal

The study in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry also found that anxiety symptoms can be caused by the effects of substance intoxication or withdrawal, along with the stress that is often associated with substance use. When you use drugs or alcohol, this triggers dopamine, one of the body’s neurotransmitters, to be produced in very high amounts, which overloads the brain. Dopamine is associated with creating good feelings in the brain, which is why you get a sense of euphoria, or “high,” after using substances. 

On the other hand, when you start to go through substance withdrawal, dopamine is no longer being released in these abnormally high amounts. This can leave you feeling sad and depressed. It can even trigger severe anxiety symptoms.

The fact that these substances manipulate so much of your brain chemistry is a huge reason why it can be dangerous to recover from substances on your own. When the chemicals leave your body, it can produce severe health implications, seizures, and even death. Medically assisted detoxification is always the safest option and then, from there, you can begin an outpatient treatment program to continue your journey of good health and sobriety.

Co-occurring Disorders in Outpatient Treatment

According to Psychiatric Times, anxiety symptoms are prevalent when you have a substance use disorder, and often these symptoms will decrease substantially early in treatment. This is a strong reason why any quality outpatient program should include the right methods and modalities to treat anxiety and addiction.

Treatment of Co-occurring Disorders at Lighthouse Recovery Texas

At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, we utilize various treatment modalities for the treatment of co-occurring disorders. Our comprehensive extended care program consists of multiple levels of outpatient treatment, including our partial hospitalization program (PHP) in Dallas.

Our programs combine holistic methods, along with traditional therapy modalities, in order to build a foundation for long-term sobriety. Individualized treatment is more important than ever when you are suffering from a co-occurring disorder, which is why our treatment plans are customized and tailored to your individualized needs.

The various treatment modalities utilized at Lighthouse include, but are not limited to:

  • Group therapy: Our groups consist of no more than eight people, giving you a chance to truly be heard. This is where you can form bonds and find support in peers who are going through similar struggles.
  • Individual therapy: Our treatment tracks, like our Dallas intensive outpatient program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) include one-on-one individual therapy where you can speak to expertly trained medical professionals who will listen to your struggles and help you through treatment for your co-occurring disorder.
  • Psychiatric care: When it comes to co-occurring disorders, quality psychiatric care and medication management may be necessary in order to truly overcome your struggles. 
  • Family therapy: Here at Lighthouse, we have a “family first” philosophy. Your family can be your biggest pillar of support, so we work to instill the necessary structure to keep you and your family engaged in a meaningful way.
  • Life skills training: Our programs are designed to teach you the important life skills that are necessary to set you up for long-term sobriety and success.
  • Recovery coaching: You will be matched with a recovery coach for each step of treatment. When you complete your program track, you can still utilize a recovery coach that will give you continued accountability and guidance during this transitional period.
  • Holistic care: Our clinical therapies and life skills programming are combined to form our truly holistic approach. We employ staff that specializes in a wide range of modalities, which allows us to provide a more comprehensive approach to treatment, always with you and your needs first in mind.

Anxiety and addiction may often go hand-in-hand, but with the right treatment and a strong mindset, you will find lasting success, sobriety, and true happiness in your life. 

Co-occurring disorders, or the coexistence of both a mental illness and a substance use disorder, are very common, with approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States struggling with them. Anxiety and substance abuse combined is one of the most prevalent co-occurring disorders, but a quality outpatient program will help you manage your struggles. Here at Lighthouse Recovery Texas, our programs are designed with the individual in mind, ensuring the best treatment possible for those suffering from co-occurring disorders.

Our holistic approach combines clinical therapies with life skills programming, providing a much more comprehensive approach to substance abuse treatment. We utilize a variety of therapy modalities, including group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, and psychiatric care. Each one of these modalities is designed to set you up for lifelong sobriety and success. For a free assessment, give us a call at (214) 396-0259.