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Portrait of a lonely and desperate drunk womanTo the person with an anxiety disorder, daily life is a minefield of things that can make you feel worse.

The stress of getting through another day of pain without a major mishap makes you a nervous wreck and vulnerable to the worst that anxiety can bring you.

One of the most common “remedies” for anxiety is alcohol. While it may seem to help in the short run, alcohol will actually make things worse.

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addiction and anxietyDid you know that there’s a significant relationship between anxiety and addiction … and that understanding that connection can help to facilitate healing?

In this post, we’ll explore the correlative connection between the mental health condition of anxiety and the behaviors associated with substance abuse.

First, let’s talk about the nature of anxiety and how it manifests. Anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome”. Common physical symptoms include excessive sweating and a racing heartbeat.

Though we all feel this way sometimes, anxiety moves into the realm of disorder when it interferes with everyday functioning. For example, anxiety may stop someone from leaving their house or getting into their car.

In psychiatric terms, Anxiety Disorder is “a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks”.

In Anxiety Disorder, you experience both internal apprehension and visible, external distress. You feel intense inner discomfort and may have troubling physical symptoms such as hives and hyperventilation.
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Depressed eyesIn Mark Vonnegut’s “The Eden Express,” his memoir on his schizophrenia, he wrote that knowing he was crazy didn’t stop the crazy stuff from happening. But sometimes, with some disorders, that might be a big help.

I was driving with my then fiancee, later wife, one gray winter Saturday afternoon. We had been shopping and were planning to see a movie when I pulled into the parking lot of a local multiplex cinema.

Suddenly she was overcome by something she couldn’t quite express. She was anxious, trembling, and said she felt a certainty that she was going to die. I managed to calm her down, and took her home.
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