Anxiety Signs, Symptoms & Effects

Understanding the signs, symptoms, and possible effects of co-occurring anxiety disorders can be an important first step on the path toward improved health. Sierra by the Sea in Newport Beach, California, is proud to be a source of accurate and relevant information about the impact of co-occurring anxiety disorders.

Understanding Anxiety Disorders

Learn about co-occurring anxiety disorders

Addiction is often accompanied by co-occurring mental health challenges. Anxiety is one of the most common co-occurring disorders that can impact adults who have seen addiction disrupt their daily lives.

It’s not uncommon for everyone to experience stress or anxiety from time to time. In the midst of day-to-day responsibilities, getting everything done and meeting the needs of those around you can be challenging.

For some, anxiety is a much more chronic condition. Worry isn’t just a passing thought, but rather a constant state of pervasive dread. Anxiety can affect your sleep, appetite, and energy levels, and it can impact or damage relationships with loved ones. It can cause isolation to the extent that you’ll avoid activities or people you once enjoyed.

Anxiety can affect everyone differently. There are five major types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobia
  • Panic disorder

The common thread with each of these is a constant sense of fear or apprehension that can become more and more debilitating over time. The presence of an addiction and a co-occurring anxiety disorder can be a lot for an individual to handle.

But when a person gets appropriate professional care, they can learn to manage their symptoms and begin to make the necessary changes that will allow them to lead a more fulfilling life.


Statistics about anxiety disorders

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) report the following statistics about anxiety in the United States:

Causes & Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders

Potential causes of anxiety disorders

There is no single cause or set of causes that will lead to the onset of an anxiety disorder. However, the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder is influenced by a variety of internal and external factors. The following are among the factors that can put a person at an increased risk for developing an anxiety disorder:

  • Personal history of mental health disorders
  • Family history, such as a parent or sibling having anxiety or another mental health disorder
  • Adversity during childhood
  • Being the victim of physical or sexual assault
  • Certain physical health conditions

Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Symptoms of anxiety disorders

Just as the causes and risk factors for anxiety can vary depending on the person, so can the signs and symptoms. The following are among the most common behavioral, physical, and mental symptoms that may indicate that a person is struggling with anxiety:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Avoiding certain people, places, or things
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Avoiding confined spaces
  • Refusing to participate in social events, activities in public spaces, or large gatherings

Physical symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Tingling sensation in feet or hands
  • Muscle tension
  • Feeling like you can’t catch your breath
  • Fatigue
  • Chills

Mental symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Overwhelming sense of hopelessness
  • Trouble focusing
  • Fear of being judged
  • Sense of detachment from your body

The above symptoms are only a general idea of what to expect when struggling with an anxiety disorder. The only way to determine if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder is to complete a thorough assessment and receive a diagnosis from a qualified professional.

Effects of Anxiety Disorders

The negative impact of co-occurring anxiety disorders

Without receiving effective professional treatment, a person who has an anxiety disorder is at greater risk for a variety of undesirable short- and long-term effects. Some examples of the negative outcomes of anxiety include:

  • Family discord
  • Poor performance in school or at work
  • Job loss
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Strained or ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Self-harm
  • Financial struggles
  • Becoming isolated from friends and family
  • Pervasive sense of hopelessness

If you’ve started to experience any of these effects, remember that there is hope. By seeking the proper professional care, you can stop these damaging effects from further impacting your life.

Choosing to get help for an addiction and a co-occurring anxiety disorder is a brave step that can have significant benefits in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Common co-occurring disorders among people who develop anxiety disorders

Individuals who develop an anxiety disorder might also be at an increased risk for additional mental or behavioral health challenges. The following are some of the more common co-occurring disorders that can impact those who have anxiety:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders

Recovering from substance use disorders is a challenging journey that feels more doable in an environment that tends to each individual’s complex needs and strengths. Our goal is to foster a treatment experience that is built on compassion, hope, and caring, and fueled by excellence in the provision of evidence-based and trauma-informed care.

– - Anonymous