The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that individuals with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse issues as the general population.
Individuals struggling with anxiety are at a significant risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol due to the symptoms of the mental illness. As unwanted symptoms develop, individuals who have anxiety may turn to substances to self-medicate and relax, in an attempt to put the taxing symptoms they are experiencing on hold.
What is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)?
Everyone gets anxious sometimes, but if your worries and fears are so constant that they interfere with your ability to function and relax, you may have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
GAD is a common anxiety disorder that involves constant and chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Unlike a phobia, where your fear is connected to a specific thing or situation, the anxiety of GAD is diffused—a general feeling of dread or unease that colors your whole life. This anxiety is less intense than a panic attack, but much longer lasting, making normal life difficult and relaxation impossible.
Generalized anxiety disorder is mentally and physically exhausting. It drains your energy, interferes with sleep, and wears your body out.
If you have GAD you may worry about the same things that other people do, but you take these worries to a new level.
A co-worker’s careless comment about the economy becomes a vision of an imminent pink slip; a phone call to a friend that isn’t immediately returned becomes anxiety that the relationship is in trouble. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. You go about your activities filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke them.
Whether you realize that your anxiety is more intense than the situation calls for, or believe that your worrying protects you in some way, the end result is the same. You can’t turn off your anxious thoughts. They keep running through your head, on endless repeat.
The good news is, that no matter how overwhelming things seem now, you can break free from chronic worrying, learn to calm your anxious mind, and regain your sense of hope.
Please contact your local Behavioral Health Service provider to learn more:
Colusa County BHS
Colusa: (530) 458-0520
Glenn County BHS
Willows: (530) 934-6582
Orland: (530) 865-6459
Main Line: (530) 673-8255
Toll Free: (888) 923-3800
Butte County BHS
Oroville: (530) 538-2574
Lake County BHS
North Shore: (707) 274-9101
South Shore: (707) 994-7090