Anxiety and Addiction Treatment in Maryland

An anxiety disorder is a mental illness that causes feelings of unease, worry, insecurity, or fear. Anxiety is a symptom of multiple disorders, but it is possible to suffer disorders related to chronic anxiety or have generalized anxiety alone.
anxiety and addiction

Feeling anxious about current or upcoming events in life is perfectly normal. But some people find themselves experiencing feelings of anxiety in settings where that should not be happening. Or they may experience feelings of anxiety for long periods of time.

The inability to control anxiety whatsoever might be a sign that something is wrong and that this is not a common case of nerves.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States.

Approximately 40 million adults are affected by anxiety disorders every year. However, only about 36.9% of those living with an anxiety disorder receive treatment for their mental health disorders. Luckily, The Freedom Center is here to treat anxiety and help those who suffer from this dual diagnosis.

People Become Dependent on Their Medication

Prescription medications can be used to treat anxiety disorders. But, sometimes, people develop dependencies on their medications, which can lead them to abuse these medications in order to manage anxiety symptoms. This results in a person struggling with anxiety and substance abuse.

Attempting to Self-Medicate

In other cases, people may turn to alcohol or drug abuse for self-medication purposes. They may abuse drugs or alcohol in an effort to manage anxiety symptoms, which can lead to drug or alcohol dependence. Eventually, they may develop an addiction to these substances and, in turn, suffer from both addiction and anxiety.

Substance Abuse Leads to the Mental Illness

There may also be some instances in which a person develops an anxiety disorder as a result of substance abuse. Drug and alcohol addiction can cause people to experience symptoms of anxiety and, eventually, an anxiety disorder.

An Interconnected Cycle

Anxiety can trigger substance use as a coping mechanism, while prolonged substance use can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. This ultimately leads to an interconnected cycle that can be difficult to break.

Whatever the cause may be, having a dual diagnosis of anxiety and addiction can be incredibly difficult and harmful. A person’s daily life can be forever changed when drug or alcohol abuse is combined with an anxiety disorder. Fortunately, however, there is hope for those struggling with co-occurring anxiety and addiction. A professional dual diagnosis program can help.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders and Addiction?

Anxiety disorders can happen to anyone, at different ages, and can come in many different diagnoses. While the intensity and kinds of physical symptoms experienced may change from person to person, the most common ones are:

  • Nervousness and tension
  • Feelings of imminent danger, panic, or doom without there necessarily being any threats
  • Increased heart rate and respiration (hyperventilation)
  • Shaking, trembling, or chills
  • Financial challenges develop as the individual is spending more and more money on the substance
  • Legal issues from getting into legal trouble, such as arrests for driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit.
  • Neglecting responsibilities to avoid anxiety and/or engaging in substance use
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Problems with concentration and/or only thinking about what’s causing worries
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits (either too much or too little)
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems
  • Unusual changes in mood (irritability, moodiness, etc)
  • Feeling the need to avoid things, people, or places that might trigger anxiety
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit the substance
  • Develop a tolerance for needing more of the substance to achieve the same effect.

What is most important to understand is that suffering from an anxiety disorder is not just feeling anxious. Instead, it means that the person is not able to truly calm down or turn down their brain. Often, the disorder triggers levels of anxiety that are not “reasonable” to the situation. Individuals with anxiety may use drugs or alcohol to temporarily relieve their symptoms. Over time, this can lead to dependency as the person continues to use the substance to control their anxiety.

It is important to be aware of all the symptoms of anxiety and substance abuse because individuals who suffer from this co-occurring disorder often go untreated for one or even both disorders.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

While we often talk about anxiety on its own, it is important to understand that there are multiple disorders that fall under the anxiety disorder category. Research has shown that different types of anxiety disorders have varying degrees of correlation with substance abuse. Here are some insights:

anxiety and addiction treatment
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by a “persistent feeling of anxiety or dread”. This mental health disorder often causes people to have difficulty concentrating. Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder may become fatigued easily and have trouble controlling their feelings of anxiety. They may have headaches, stomach aches, or other unexplained pains. Sleeping problems and restlessness are also common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that GAD impacts 6.8 million adults in the United States. Also, generalized anxiety disorder often co-occurs with major depression. Studies have indicated a high prevalence of substance use disorders among individuals with GAD, with alcohol being the most commonly abused substance.

Panic Disorder
People with panic disorder experience panic attacks frequently. During these attacks, people typically experience trembling or tingling. They may sweat excessively and have feelings of doom or loss of control. Difficulty breathing, chest pains, and pounding of the heart can also be symptoms of panic attacks.

According to the ADAA, panic disorders affect 6 million adults in the United States and women are more likely to experience it than men. Research suggests that people with panic disorder are more likely to struggle with substance abuse, potentially as a way to cope with the distressing symptoms of their anxiety.

Social Anxiety Disorder
People who have social anxiety disorder have an aversion to social situations. They generally have a fear of being judged by others and may be afraid of others watching them. Individuals with this anxiety disorder may have difficulty engaging in activities that are a part of normal, everyday life. For example, going to school or restaurants can be a very challenging experience for people with social anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of this disorder might include extreme self-consciousness, sweating, trembling, racing heart, and stomachaches. People with this disorder may also have trouble making eye contact with others and may use an incredibly soft voice when they speak in social settings.

The ADAA states that social anxiety disorder affects 15 million adults in the United States. Additionally, studies have found that individuals with SAD are at high risk for developing alcohol use disorders, possibly due to using alcohol as a coping mechanism to reduce social inhibitions and fears.

Phobia-Related Disorders
Phobias are aversions and fears of people, places, or things. People with phobia-related disorders may be afraid of things such as heights, specific animals, needles, flying, tight spaces, or blood. People who have phobias may have irrational fears of specific people, places, or objects. They may exhibit immediate and intense anxiety when they encounter the object or situation they fear.

The Anxiety and Depression Association states that symptoms of phobia-related disorders typically first show in childhood. Women are more likely to have phobias than men. Approximately 19.3 million adults in the U.S. have specific phobias.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD and substance use disorders frequently co-occur. Individuals suffering from OCD may resort to substance use as a coping mechanism to deal with the distress caused by their obsessions and compulsions. This can lead to a cycle where substance use provides temporary relief from OCD symptoms but ultimately exacerbates the condition by increasing anxiety and the intensity of obsessions and compulsions.

On the other hand, substance use can also lead to the development or worsening of OCD symptoms. Certain substances, especially stimulants, can increase anxiety and trigger obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Many individuals with PTSD turn to substances as a form of self-medication, attempting to numb their distressing symptoms or escape from their traumatic memories. Over time, this can lead to the development of a substance use disorder. In fact, research shows that nearly half of those with PTSD also meet the criteria for a substance use disorder.

Conversely, substance use can exacerbate symptoms of PTSD. For example, alcohol and drugs can disrupt sleep patterns and increase the risk of nightmares and flashbacks. Substance use can also lower inhibitions, making it more likely for someone to put themselves in dangerous situations, potentially leading to re-traumatization.

Treatment For Anxiety and Addiction

People who need mental health and substance abuse treatment can receive the help they need at a dual diagnosis treatment center. It is necessary to treat both the addiction and the mental disorders simultaneously, rather than focusing solely on one issue. This allows individuals to overcome addiction while also learning to manage the symptoms of their psychiatric disorders.

During the dual diagnosis treatment process, individuals can receive a full continuum of care, including detox, residential care, outpatient treatment, and aftercare treatment. Some of these comprehensive programs are offered right here at The Freedom Center, our state-of-the-art mental health and substance abuse treatment center in Maryland.

Our Maryland Dual Diagnosis Programs for Anxiety and Addiction

If you are suffering from anxiety and addiction, we can help! We will address your individual and unique needs throughout the treatment process, as we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to anxiety and addiction treatment. Our programs include residential/inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and therapeutic interventions.

anxiety and addiction treatment program
Residential/Inpatient Treatment Program
This program allows recovering individuals to live at our facility while they receive treatment for their mental health and substance use disorder. Inpatient care can help people safely end substance abuse and provides them access to around-the-clock support and medical care.

Residential treatment is a highly structured, individualized treatment type that is best suited for individuals who are suffering from severe addiction or co-occurring disorders. For those who are living with co-occurring mental health conditions and drug addiction, residential or inpatient treatment can make all the difference in whether someone stays in recovery after treatment is over.

Outpatient Treatment Program
Our outpatient program allows people to receive treatment without living at our treatment center. This is often the next step after residential care. Those who are recovering from drug abuse can enter an outpatient program and live at home for the duration of their treatment.

We offer general outpatient care, an intensive outpatient program, and a partial hospitalization program. Each of these rehab programs can be effective for those who are transitioning from inpatient care into life outside of treatment.

Therapeutic Interventions for Mental Health and Substance Abuse
We offer various approaches to help those recovering from substance use disorder and mental health conditions. Typically treatment is a combination of medicine and ongoing therapy. Initially, individuals may need to attend a treatment center and enter a program in order to get the disorders accurately diagnosed and treated. This could be an inpatient or outpatient level of care.


There are several types of medications that can be used to treat anxiety and substance use disorders. However, it’s crucial to remember that medication should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that often includes psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and other interventions.

Medications for Anxiety Disorders

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): These include drugs like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil). SSRIs work by increasing the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate mood.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): Examples include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta). SNRIs increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Benzodiazepines: These are used primarily for short-term relief of acute symptoms, as they have the potential for dependence and withdrawal over the long term. They include drugs like alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan).

Buspirone: This is used to treat chronic anxiety and works by affecting the chemicals in the brain that regulate mood.

Medications for Substance Use Disorder

Naltrexone: Used to treat opioid and alcohol dependency by blocking the euphoric effects and feelings of using either substance, allowing the person to avoid the feeling “high”.

Methadone: This is a long-acting opioid used when someone develops dependence. It helps to normalize the body’s neurological system and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine: Also used for opioid dependence, it can decrease withdrawal effects and cravings.

Disulfiram (Antabuse): Used for treating chronic alcohol addiction. It produces unpleasant side effects like nausea and flushing of the skin when alcohol is consumed.

Acamprosate (Campral): It can help individuals suffering from alcoholism maintain abstinence by restoring the balance of certain chemicals in the brain.

Nicotine Replacement Therapies: These include patches, gums, lozenges, nasal sprays, and inhalers and are used to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Each of these medications has its own benefits and risks, and not all will be suitable for every individual. Treatment decisions should always be made in consultation with a medical professional who specializes in mental health and addiction treatment. Specifically, someone who can take into account the individual’s specific needs, health status, and other factors.


The main types of therapy found in most rehab programs include the following:

Counseling and therapy can help people develop the routines and coping skills they need in order to avoid relapse. Also, therapy raises awareness of the negative consequences of addiction and promotes positive outcomes in recovery. This helps people stay focused on their treatment and continue to thrive in recovery!

During therapy, those who are working on overcoming anxiety and addiction can learn more about their thought processes, emotions, harmful coping methods, and more. This then allows them to develop a healthier mindset.

In group therapy, recovering individuals can learn more about the experiences of others. Group therapy also facilitates the development of peer relationships among recovering individuals.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to medication and ongoing therapy, it’s important that individuals make the correct lifestyle changes in order to support their recovery efforts and avoid relapse. Lifestyle changes require keeping up a pattern or productive and healthy behaviors. The importance of each is learned during your treatment. Once you’re living on your own, it will be your responsible to keep up with these. Lifestyle changes can include the following:

  • Set sleep patterns or behaviors
  • A strict but healthy diet of foods and vitamin supplements
  • Regular exercise schedule
  • Scheduled times for meditation and/or self-care
  • Journaling regularly to monitor moods, feelings, etc

Get Help Right Now at The Freedom Center

No matter what disorder you might be struggling with or how many, treatment is a possibility. If you are looking for treatment for yourself or a loved one, we at The Freedom Center can help. We offer multiple options that can include a dual diagnosis plan. Our medical team will make an assessment in order to design the perfect treatment plan for your needs.

We believe in using every tool possible to help you become addiction-free. Visit our website to learn more about our center, contact us today. We can discuss all of your questions and concerns so you can be sure you are making the best choice for yourself and for your treatment.

Break Free From Addiction

At our substance abuse treatment center in Maryland, we do our best to meet each individual where they’re at. Each person comes with a different mold - a different struggle. The best way we can help them is to offer them care that is unique to their own situation; there is no one-size-fits-all method to substance abuse treatment. This is why individualized care is so important to us. If you or a loved one are interested in finding out more, you can contact us here. 

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