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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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Anxiety, Panic & Health - hand with whiskey glass-It’s not unusual for me to reflect upon my experience as an addict now that I’m in recovery. Most of the time I think about how I can help other addicts in ways I wished someone had helped me during some of the darkest days of my life.

It wasn’t until I relapsed for the fourth, fifth, and sixth time that I knew there was a problem, yet nobody seemed to know what it was. I was attending my Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I was checking in with my sponsor regularly. I avoided my triggers – the people and places that would tempt me to abuse drugs and alcohol again. But somehow, someway, I found myself back in rehab.

This time, it was a dual diagnosis treatment center. I had co-occurring disorders – mental health and substance abuse – that took me years to figure out that I was suffering from. This requires complex and proper treatment.

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anxious woman in cornerWe all experience feelings of stress and anxiety every now and then.

In fact, it is extremely normal to feel anxious before events that are important to us such as an interview, delivering a public lecture, first day at work, or the wedding day.

However, you know something is wrong when your anxiety grows to a level where it starts to interfere with your day to day life.

Sure there are ways to tell when this normal feeling turns into a mental disorder. But it isn’t always easy to spot the signs of anxiety disorder.

Anxiety manifests itself in different ways like panic attacks, phobias, and social anxiety. Unfortunately, the difference between a medical diagnosis and normal anxiety isn’t always clear.
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