Anxiety and addiction

Anxiety In contrast to fear, which is a response to a realistic immediate danger, anxiety is a fearful response occurring in the absence of a specific danger or real threat.

According to the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental disorder in the population with a one-year prevalence of 9.7% in Australian adults.

Female AddictionThe fear and worry associated with anxiety arises in response to a variety of specific triggers (fear of heights) more general triggers (e.g. crowds, shopping centres, being in trains or buses, meeting new people, or having to speak in public) or sometimes in response to general issues including finances, health or relationships and personal safety.

In some cases, anxiety can arise suddenly and spontaneously without a identifiable trigger, as is the case with panic disorder.

People with anxiety may find it hard to relax, concentrate and sleep, and may suffer physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, tension and muscle pain, sweating, hyperventilation, dizziness, faintness, headaches, nausea, indigestion, bowel disturbance and loss of sexual pleasure.

These symptoms are accompanied by changes in thoughts, emotions and behaviour that substantially interfere with the person’s ability to live and work. Read More from the National Drug Strategy

Anxiety Disorders and Addiction

The dual diagnoses (comorbidity, co-occurrence) of a coexisting problems of addiction and mental illness are often hard to treat because of the unstable nature of the individuals involved. Couple that with the fact that drugs and alcohol only make a mental condition worse, and you’ve got a high-risk patient who could easily spiral out of control. This is especially true for those comorbidity patients who suffer from panic disorder, a condition that causes episodes of severe mental distress combined with the physical symptoms of anxiety.

Panic disorder puts the individual on shaky emotional ground, dreading the onset of an attack at any moment. In fact, the fear of having a panic attack is just as debilitating for these patients as the attacks themselves. They often avoid public situations and have difficulty maintaining relationships or holding jobs because of their overwhelming fears. Alcohol or drugs may temporarily relieve the distress of panic disorder, but ultimately these substances only intensify the symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiety Disorders, Mental Disorders and Addiction treatment will be addressed at the Australian and New Zealand Addiction 2015 Conference.

Addiction 2015 will be hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association (ANZMH). The Conference is for Addiction treatment professionals, Drug and Alcohol Workers, mental health professionals, health-care clinicians, researchers and academics. Addiction 2015 will be held on the 4-6 March 2015 at Outriggers Gold Coast.

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For more information visit the website www.addictionaustralia.org.au
Contact the secretariat 
email: secretariat@addictionuaustralia.org.au
Abstracts close: 21st November 2014

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