What Are the Best Method of Diagnosing Anxiety Disorders?

What Are the Best Method of Diagnosing Anxiety Disorders?

Like depression, the word “anxiety” is so widely used nowadays that it has become another buzzword. Is anxiety just a normal stress reaction? When does anxiety need medical attention? People who are recovering from substance addiction should know how to identify symptoms of anxiety disorders. These are not your ordinary stress reactions. Untreated anxiety disorders may undermine recovery progress and trigger relapses. Diagnosing anxiety disorders may mean more education as a first step.

The Difference Between Episodes of Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders

Episodes of anxiety happen when a person feels anxious about some upcoming events. Just like depressed moods, these episodes may be upsetting for a temporary duration of time. But when anxious thoughts or worries do not go away but instead worsen over time, they can become an anxiety disorder. This is a mental health condition that interferes with this person’s daily functioning. 

Anxiety disorders are common among recovering individuals because the central nervous system has been flooded by artificial stimuli for too long. Feelings of anxiety do not just disappear as soon as a person completes detox. It will take a long time for the brain to achieve healing. Experts at Laguna Shores Recovery Center always make sure that you are better informed about brain healing.

Changes in the Brain and Persisting Anxiety

Drugs or alcohol are chemicals that stimulate areas of the brain, including the basal ganglia, the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex. For example, the amygdala becomes extended and frequently releases stressful feelings like anxiety and irritability. It is important to know that feelings of anxiety can directly trigger the re-use of substances. 

The prefrontal cortex regulates self-control over impulses. When it is still under the residual influence of substances, impulsive behaviors tend to emerge. Anxious thoughts combined with impulsive behaviors usually get in the way of normal functioning. Without continued treatment for these symptoms, recovering individuals will feel a strong pull that holds them back from abstinence. 

Diagnosing Anxiety Disorders As Mental Illnesses

Among all mental health illnesses, anxiety disorders ranked in the top ten, even among the general population. They are considered one type of chronic illness that robs people of basic abilities to function in life. But there is a wide range of anxiety disorders, including generalized disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, separation anxiety, and other specific phobias.

Some forms of anxiety disorders can also be traced back to family history and past trauma. For example, panic disorders may be accounted for by abuse, neglect, or sexual violence. This makes diagnosis and treatment quite challenging because trauma is complex, and the impact can be far-reaching. 

Diagnosing Anxiety Disorders before Treatment

A complete physical examination is necessary for diagnosing anxiety disorders. Health professionals need to, first of all, rule out other illnesses that may contribute to the symptoms of worrying or phobias. They also need to review a person’s complete medical history, the use of medications, and even the consumption of caffeinated drinks. 

Because the symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as shortness of breath and racing heartbeat, may overlap with other illnesses, health professionals will follow up with more tests to rule out these other chronic illnesses. Then they may administer an assessment questionnaire to rate a person’s anxiety scale. 

Psychologists have developed many assessment tools for diagnosing anxiety disorders. These include the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), the Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN), the Penn State Worry Questionnaire, and the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCS). There are also specific tools for specific phobia-related disorders.

Getting Treated for Anxiety Disorders

Because anxiety disorders are rooted in chemical changes in the brain, there are ways to treat them. Health professionals often combine prescription medications with therapy and other holistic methods. Take medication, for example. The most common ones treating anxiety disorders include fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram (Lexapro), etc. People with lower levels of anxiety may be given alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin). 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is known to be the best psychotherapy for treating individuals with anxiety disorders. A trained therapist will teach how to identify and process anxious, panic-causing thoughts and their triggers. Through increased self-awareness and stress management skills, recovering individuals may gradually heal. 

CBT can also be realized in a family therapy format. This treatment approach is necessary when a recovering individual’s home environment often becomes triggering to outbursts of panic and anxious reactions. An experienced therapist will guide the entire family to open up communication channels and learn to better support each other’s emotional well-being.

Self-Care Tips

If you are recovering from both substance use and anxiety disorder, the best advice from Laguna Shores Recovery Center can give is for you to stick with your personalized treatment plan. You may also need to cut down on foods and drinks that have caffeine in them. These may include tea, coffee, energy drinks, and spicy foods that may overstimulate your brain.

Apart from adjusting your diet, you may also practice some relaxation exercises, such as breathing exercises, guided muscle relaxation, and body scan activities. These self-care techniques can gradually help you confront the things you feel anxious about. As a wise saying goes, if you cannot change what happens to you, you can at least manage your own reactions to these happenings.

Like chronic depression, anxiety disorders are real and can interfere with your quality of life. If you are struggling with anxious thoughts and panic attacks while recovering from the impact of substances, you are not alone. Many people have succeeded in recovering from both. The trick is to find a team of experts who can treat you and support you for the long term. This is why long-term recovery programs can help each individual move into recovery with the best chance of success. Laguna Shores Recovery offers a high-quality residential treatment program with individualized plans. We have everything you need to succeed. Call us today at (866) 774-1532. Hope is here and now.