It is fairly well known that alcohol consumption can increase anxiety over time. It is more well known, however, that alcohol can allow shy or anxious people to come out of their shells more easily to socialize. This dichotomy between alcohol and anxiety is troublesome at the least.
Using alcohol to calm anxiety and socialize can be a dangerous endeavor. Many unsuspecting users end up with a problem before they know it. This issue usually comes up for people that are out in the dating world or socializing with others on a regular basis. A Fort Collins anxiety treatment program could be the key to you getting control over your drinking.
Alcohol and Anxiety
How does this connection work? A person feels anxious, and they turn to alcohol to numb their prefrontal cortex, the thinking part of the brain, to find relief from anxiety. Over time it takes more and more alcohol for the anxious person to calm down due to increasing tolerance. Their alcohol consumption continues to increase, and alcoholism sets in.
During the transition to addiction, the reward center becomes overstimulated, and the stress control center becomes under-stimulated. When this occurs, the brain then needs the substance for the person to feel good and not stressed out.
So what happened here?
First, a seemly innocuous pattern forms:
- External anxiety
Then the brain creates its own negative feedback loop by creating additional anxiety in the absence of the substance:
- External anxiety
- Internal anxiety
- Repeat 3 and 4
The first part of this pattern can take place for weeks to years before drastic measure needs to be taken to end the cycle. No matter how long it takes, the amount of time is different for different people and is that really a risk you are willing to take?
Treat Your Anxiety and Alcohol Addiction
Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the cycle of addiction because of your anxiety. Get help with it. Get help for your addiction and for your anxiety. When you look for help, make sure that you are looking for assistance that will cover both conditions. In other words, going to an alcohol rehab alone will not take care of the problem that got you there in the first place. Dual Diagnosis Treatment and professional mental health counseling will help you address your issues and start building for the future.
It makes no sense to go home to face the same issues with no new tools to deal with them. Anxiety and the drinking that you do to cope with it are habits. At some point in your life, your brain decided that the best coping mechanism for you was to become anxious in certain situations. Later, you found that drinking helped to take the negative inner experience away. Then at some point, alcohol became a problem for you.
Anxiety therapy plans will look different for everyone, but there are a few primary techniques that work well for patients affected by debilitating anxiety and alcoholism. Therapy for people that also display substance dependency usually does not involve prescribed medications for their anxiety alone because they are addictive as well.
Either way, if you have an anxiety disorder, it is probably best to refrain from using mind-altering drugs to take care of the problem.
For example, the following types of therapy are common in treatment plans for alcohol and anxiety:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Depression Treatment Program
- Group Therapy
In summary, AspenRidge Recovery offers all of these types of therapy and more for patients struggling with alcohol and anxiety. Give AspenRidge a call today at 866.957.6941 to find out more about how you can live the sober, anxiety free life that you deserve.