Anxiety and Addiction Co Occurring Disorders


We count on the sun to rise every day, for our eyes to open when we wake up in the morning, and for everything to go according to plan. There are no large imminent threats looming in our future outside of science fiction movies. Horror is the feeling of shock we receive in the movies when the least imaginable thing comes to fruition. It’s unsettling to have our worst fears become sudden reality. Going to the movies, we get to live in that moment of “what if”. What if the sun didn’t come up? What if my eyes didn’t open? Living on that hinge of uncertainty and anticipation is thrilling. Thankfully, the credits roll at the end of the movie and we get to return to our mostly certain lives.


anxiety disorders and substance abuseLiving with anxiety disorder is like living in the moment to moment uncertainty of a movie. Chronically, you feel as though the worst imaginable situation will come to fruition. Without a seat to hold onto with anxiety, your left in the grips of fear, constant worry, and excess concern, on a daily basis. Forbes calls this “hyper-uncertainty”. “The problem with hyper-uncertainty,” Forbes writes, “is that it drives people to cling onto anything that provides any sense of certainty-however fragile or imagined it may be- and to resist all change, including change for the better.” The article makes an excellent point which highlights one of the most problematic ways individuals attempt to cope with anxiety: substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol can provide a certain kind of certainty. We are certain that we will get drunk, certain that we will get high, and almost certain that is going to feel better than hyper-uncertainty. Unfortunately, the perceived security provided by drugs and alcohol falls into the “fragile” and “imagined” category.


Learning to cope with uncertainty is a primary objective for anyone who decides to receive therapy or attend treatment for an anxiety and co occurring addiction. Additionally, once that secure bond is made with drugs and alcohol, it becomes difficult to let go of. Resisting change, like going to treatment to get sober, is for the better. Due to the clinging need for certainty, many who are struggling with anxiety and co-occurring addiction with substance abuse will resist treatment because of their fears.


Staying focused on the goal is an important way to manage anxiety. At Get Real Recovery our mission is clear: to help you eliminate the self-sabotaging behaviors which keep you from succeeding. Our residential treatment programs will help build your self-esteem and create a lifetime of success in sobriety.


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