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Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction in South Florida

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or stress that can cause physical reactions like sweating, restlessness, and a fast heartbeat. While everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, some individuals deal with it daily, to the point where their anxiety affects their ability to function. People who struggle with anxiety frequently and to this extreme are most likely experiencing an anxiety disorder.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders, each one causing individuals to have a hard time functioning in their daily lives. The main types of anxiety conditions include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias like social anxiety. When these conditions are left untreated, people may begin seeking ways to self-medicate their symptoms. 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 20% of people with an anxiety disorder also suffer from a substance use disorder.[1] 

When you have co-occurring anxiety and addiction, the conditions must be treated at the same time to prevent relapse. Understanding how treatment for anxiety and addiction works can help make your decision to enter drug rehab much easier.

How are Anxiety and Addiction Connected?

Living with an untreated anxiety disorder can really take a toll on your life. Anxiety disorders can cause you to have a hard time socializing with others, completing daily tasks, and even a compromised immune system due to chronic stress. When your anxiety disorder is untreated, you may begin to search for ways to soothe your own symptoms. 

Oftentimes, people with anxiety disorders develop a drug or alcohol addiction after they have attempted to abuse substances to soothe their symptoms. While drugs and alcohol can provide temporary relief from the symptoms of an anxiety condition, over time these substances just worsen the problem. Prolonged substance abuse is known to damage the parts of your brain and body that are responsible for stress relief, which can further increase anxiety over time.

It is important to note that some substances can cause individuals to experience panic attacks and other symptoms of anxiety. For example, someone who suffers from alcoholism may develop a panic disorder due to the effects that alcohol has on the brain. However, it is more common for anxiety to precede substance abuse, as this is usually a coping mechanism for untreated mental health conditions.

Because substance abuse can worsen anxiety, having both of these conditions can create a compounding issue. As a result, co-occurring anxiety and addiction must be treated simultaneously to ensure that the untreated condition does not cause a relapse in the other.

What to Expect During Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction in South Florida

Anxiety and addiction must be treated at the same time. Many South Florida addiction treatment centers have dual diagnosis programs where you can receive evidence-based treatment for addiction and a mental health condition simultaneously.

Treatment typically involves:

Medical Detox

The first step in recovery from addiction is detox. If you have not quit using substances yet, you will have to enter detox to safely remove the drugs or alcohol from your system.

Depending on the type of substance you were addicted to, you may be prescribed tapering medications that slowly ease you off of the drug. This detox method is most commonly used for benzodiazepine, alcohol, and opioid addiction. Tapering prevents you from experiencing severe symptoms of withdrawal and cravings. 

If you were addicted to another type of drug, you will probably be given comfort meds that mask the symptoms of withdrawal and keep you medically stable throughout the entire process.

Behavioral Therapy

The next step in recovering from co-occurring addiction and anxiety is behavioral therapy. Both conditions require positive behavioral changes to maintain long-term recovery. For example, behavioral therapy helps you learn how to manage your emotions, self-soothe your anxiety, and use positive coping mechanisms instead of substance abuse.

Common types of behavioral therapy used to treat anxiety and addiction in South Florida include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)


Medication is often prescribed to manage the symptoms of anxiety. People with anxiety disorders may use medication on a short-term basis, while others may require medication for a longer amount of time. It is important to note that not everyone with an anxiety disorder will need medication at all. 

During your dual diagnosis treatment program, psychiatrists will determine whether your condition requires pharmaceutical treatment. If you are comfortable with using a medication, you will be given a non-habit-forming drug that is designed to lessen the symptoms of anxiety. Taking medication for your anxiety can provide you with the relief you were seeking when you began self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. 

Common types of medications for anxiety include:[2]

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Beta-blockers

Holistic Therapies

Part of overcoming anxiety is learning how to deal with anxious feelings. One of the best ways to do this is to learn how to relax. Certain holistic therapies can be used during addiction treatment to promote relaxation, calmness, and anxiety reduction. These therapies include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Exercise
  • Art or music

You may also learn grounding techniques and breathing exercises that you can use when your anxiety becomes too much.

Relapse Prevention Planning

Lastly, before you leave your rehab facility you will partake in relapse prevention planning. This is a collaborative process between you and your doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists where you work on skills that will allow you to maintain long-term recovery.

Relapse prevention plans often involve:

  • Continued attendance of individual and/or group therapy
  • Access to an alumni support group 
  • Referrals to sober living housing programs
  • Continued medication management as needed
  • A list of triggers and coping mechanisms to use 
  • A list of people you can call for support in times of need 
  • Recommendations of sober support groups to attend, like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery

Get Connected With a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center for Anxiety and Addiction in South Florida

If you or a loved one suffer from both anxiety and addiction, it’s time to seek help. The combination of these two disorders can make it difficult to navigate daily life. Attending a dual-diagnosis treatment program in South Florida can provide you with the tools and support you need to overcome anxiety and addiction. 

At Mandala Healing Center, we go beyond the conventional approach of detoxification. Our patients are inspired to fully heal in an environment designed to nourish their entire being.

Clients are taken on a journey of healing through complete immersion into evidence-based clinical modalities, multifaceted alternative therapies, and expert medical management, allowing them to fully detox and recover from drug and alcohol addictions. Through a program of care designed to encourage change, a foundation is created that allows clients to find their higher purpose and reclaim their lives.

If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety and addiction, please contact us today to learn about your treatment options.