How Can Anxiety Influence Co-Occurring Disorders?

For people with anxiety, the concept of a co-occurring disorder can be a very real issue. When people are faced with insurmountable and untreated anxiety, there may be a need to quell the issues on one’s own. Alter Behavioral Health understands that this can lead to disastrous results.

What Is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

When a person has a co-occurring disorder, they have both mental health and substance abuse issues. Often, these two issues feed off one another, with one starting the process and the other forming a cycle from which the person has trouble breaking free.

The Effects of Anxiety

Anxiety is a manageable problem. However, a person needs to realize that they have a problem and what is causing it. This can be difficult as a majority of individuals are either unable or unwilling to comfort the roots of their anxiety. When anxiety goes untreated, people will find that it often becomes worse. They may find that they have frequent panic attacks or continuous anxious episodes.  

The roots of anxiety lay in a variety of spaces. For some, it can be childhood trauma, while for others, it can be situational. Often, the issue is chemical in nature and involves imbalances in brain chemistry that only further complicate and compound the problem. 

For people with anxiety, the effects can range from the occasional disruption to catastrophic behavioral decisions. Those who go untreated are left to find ways of dealing with their anxiety that may feel like a personal shortcut or a very real solution. They may resort to using substances in an effort to feel better. Some of these substances have a dulling effect. Others can place people in a state of mind that completely blocks their anxious feelings and gives them a euphoric feeling for short periods of time.

The problem is that these methods do not actually deal with anxiety. Rather, they mask it while leaving the individual with far more problems than before. That is why diagnosis and treatment are so important.

What Is Involved in an Anxiety Diagnosis?

Individuals who proceed with care and receive a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder will have a variety of questions put to them. These can include:

  • Are there specific situations that bring about anxiety?
  • Has anxiety always been a problem?
  • Do you recall a specific incident that led to feelings of anxiety?
  • How does your anxiety present itself?

These are only a few of the initial questions that will be put before the individual. If the person has also reached the point of a co-occurring disorder, they will be presented with a more in-depth set of questions that will also address their substance abuse.

Once the individual has been diagnosed, there are a variety of treatment options. Anxiety does not need to rule a person’s life. That is why medical professionals have many tools in their arsenal to allow people to live their best life with as little anxiety as possible.

What Treatment Options Exist for Anxiety?

Depending on their severity, there are two main areas of treatment for people with anxiety disorders. These are inpatient and outpatient programs. Alter Behavioral Health is proud to offer both.


For those with milder forms of anxiety, an outpatient program may be the best option. In this scenario, clients will be paired with a medical professional for an evaluation and regular visits.

These visits will involve discussions about the roots of their anxiety as well as their current emotions and feelings. Consistent sessions will allow both parties to get to know each other and gradually create a roadmap of where the individual has been and where they hope to be.  


Some individuals have reached a level of anxiety that requires extensive, full-time attention. Others arrive at a point of substance abuse, while others may have reached a point of suicidal ideation.

Regardless of the reason for the extra assistance, these are individuals who will benefit from removing themselves from society for a period of time. This time will be spent in a comfortable, safe environment where they can have unfettered time to focus on themselves. People at this point often need help fully reevaluating their lives.  

Another reason people at this level may be entering an inpatient program is that they have co-occurring disorders. In this case, they will find medical professionals and programs that can address both sides simultaneously.  If only one side is addressed, the cycle will continue, and a relapse is almost inevitable. However, when a person can be surrounded by caring staff and like-minded individuals pursuing the same goals, they can find healing.

Medication Options at Alter Behavioral Health

Whether inpatient or outpatient, individuals with diagnosed anxiety disorders are often prescribed medication. These medications are meant to even out the chemical imbalances in the brain. When these are dealt with, people often feel that the new mood balance allows them to focus on the other aspects of their personal journey.

The Impact of Diagnosis and Treatment

Overall, the impact of undiagnosed and untreated anxiety can be mitigated through a combination of treatments, therapies, and medications. When the correct balance is struck, people will find their minds relaxed in ways they may never have thought possible. In all cases, individuals and families should strive to find the best treatment options that fit them and their situation. It will change their lives.

Anxiety can become the bane of existence for people with co-occurring disorders. With untreated anxiety, the urge to self-medicate may become too much to ignore. That is why Alter Behavioral Health is prepared to assist in caring for and treating those with co-occurring disorders. One of the most important things to remember is that Alter Behavioral Health provides a safe, comfortable environment where clients can be free to express themselves and turn their gaze inwards. Without the outside world getting involved, the healing process can have a much more poignant effect. If you or your loved one is ready to start on the road to recovery and better mental health, call us today at (866) 691-4386.