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Real People Explain What Anxiety and Panic Attacks Feel Like

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Real People Explain What Anxiety and Panic Attacks Feel Like

Anxiety and panic attacks are awful. For those that suffer from anxiety and panic disorders, the feeling of an anxiety attack creepy up slowly and slamming you with fear and worry is all too familiar. What’s worse, is that it is all happening in your head and body, unbeknownst to those around you.

You struggle to catch your breath, rub at your chest, and hope it will be over soon – all while fighting off the very real feeling that you are going to die. Meanwhile, your family, friends, and co-workers don’t know what is happening, and likely think that you’ve lost your mind or are having some sort of mental episode.

This is the very real situation for 40 million adults in the U.S. suffering from anxiety and panic disorders, which translates to 18.1% of the population. Even though anxiety and panic attacks are the most common mental health illness in the country, only 36.9% of those afflicted seek any sort of treatment for the disorders.

Anxiety and Panic Disorder Facts and Statistics 

Before we get into what it feels like to have a panic or anxiety attack, let’s learn more about what these disorders are, and how they affect so many in the United States.

  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks Usually Accompany Depression – Doctors aren’t exactly sure why, but both anxiety/panic disorders and depression seem to go hand-in-hand, with sufferers of one having increased chance of suffering the other.
  • 264 Million People in the World Suffer from Anxiety Disorders – According to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Women Are More Likely to Suffer from Anxiety Disorders than Men – With an average of 4.6% of women and 2.6% of men suffering from the disease per WHO research.
  • Anxiety Symptoms in Men Tend to be More Severe than in Women – Just because the disease tends to afflict more women than men doesn’t mean that men are suffering less.
  • General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is By Far the Most Prevalent Form of Anxiety Disorder – with 5% of Americans having suffered from the disease at some point in their lifetime.
  • Anxiety Disorders are More Common in ADHD Sufferers – Along with depression and eating disorders.
  • Panic Disorder Is Seen in 2.7% of Americans – A whopping 15 Million Adults.
  • OCD is More Common in Those with Anxiety Disorders – OCD affects 2.2 Million Adults in the U.S.
  • Research Has Shown that 31.9% of Children (Ages 13-18) suffer from an anxiety disorder – Ages 13-14 (31.4%), Ages 15-16 (32.1%), Ages 17-18 (32.3%).

What is the Difference between and Panic Attacks?

Anxiety and panic, both attacks and disorders, have similarities and differences. In many cases they are two parts of the same disorder, with anxiety often leading to a panic attack. The best way to explain it is by explaining what anxiety and panic both are.

Anxiety – is a feeling that something is wrong, subtle at first, and increasing slowly. It is a creeping feeling that something bad is about to happen, and anxiety can build and last for days or weeks. It can also wax and wane, with anxiety building for several days before hitting a peak or plateau before slowly subsiding again.

Panic – is that feeling when you touch your pocket and realize that your phone or keys are missing, only it happens for seemingly no reason. It is a chemical reaction to stimuli and usually negative stimuli. It happens quick, peaks quickly, and drops again just as quickly. Though it progresses more quickly than anxiety, the symptoms are much more intense.

For most people with panic and anxiety disorders, the anxiety and the panic are just two forms of the same thing. An anxiety sufferer will usually feel an anxiety cycle building for days or weeks before it begins to subside. When the anxiety peaks, a panic attack is likely to also peak. After the peak, the symptoms usually subside and offer a person temporary relief, until the cycle repeats again.

Panic Attack and Anxiety Attack Experiences

For someone who has never had a panic attack, it can be difficult to understand why so many worry about the attacks and say that it is the worst feeling you can ever have. The best way to get an understanding of what a panic attack and anxiety feel like is to hear real people give their accounts.

Panic Attacks Feel like You Are Going to Die

“When I first got panic attacks, I didn’t know what they were. I would be feeling fine, and all of the sudden, I would get the sense of impending doom. Like something bad was about to happen. Since there was nothing around me that should make me feel like that, I thought it meant I was dying, and my body knew it, but my brain didn’t.” – Lee | Gainesville, FL

“It definitely feels like you are dying, but you don’t know what of… One moment you are fine and the next you tell yourself: ‘great, I am about to die in the middle of a F***ing Wal Mart.’” Trent | Sterling, CO

“I have an arrhythmia, and get heart palpitations every few days or so. It gets worse as my anxiety peaks, but during a panic attack, my heart goes wild. I can have multiple palpitations the few minutes that the panic attack lasts. Because of my pre-existing condition, I never know if it is just a panic attack, or if it is a heart attack or something more serious. Every time, it turns out to just be a panic attack, but every time I think I am about to die.” – Kelly | Worcester, MA

“I drank every single day for at least 5 years. I decided to quit drinking after I was arrested, and had my first “real” panic attack the first day I was sober.” I thought I was dying so my girlfriend called an ambulance and they took me to the hospital and told me I was having alcohol withdrawals. I didn’t quit completely after that, and ended up having increasingly bad panic attacks for the next few years until I was able to get sober. I still have them, and they still feel like I am about to die, but the first was the worst. – James | Columbus, OH

Panic Attacks Show Up at the Worst Times

“It was the first day at my new job, and they were making us go around the room and tell a little about ourselves. I am a shy person, so I was nervous anyway. As they went around the room, and got closer to me, I felt my nervousness turn into anxiety. By the time it was my turn, my panic attack was just peaking. I tried to think of something to say, and instead of saying anything, I burst into tears. I was hyperventilating and kept apologizing. Thankfully, the training manager recognized that I was having a problem and moved on to the next person. I have never been so embarrassed, but I got through it and had 3 wonderful years with that company – even though my first day was a literal waking nightmare.”  – Jean Marie | Salt Lake City, UT

“I was meeting my boyfriend’s parents for the first time at a fancy restaurant for dinner. I had been feeling the anxiety pressure all day, so I knew that a panic attack was looming. The restaurant was attached to a shopping mall, so I walked around the whole mall before going to the restaurant – hoping to force the anxiety attack and get it over with before having to meet his parents. It didn’t work, so I went in to meet his parents. The panic attack never happened, but I was nervous the entire time, and I wasn’t acting myself. My boyfriend told his parents about my anxiety before we met, so they were overly nice to me, and it ended up working out. That whole dinner was hell though.” – Caty |La Mesa, CA

“I had the worst panic attack of my life in the emergency room of the hospital. I had food poisoning, and for some reason my body felt that was a good time to have a panic attack. I wanted to leave the hospital because I just couldn’t deal with the doctors and nurses being too close to me. They wouldn’t let me leave and tried to hold me down, which made the panic worse. Long story short, a nurse got punched and I got sedated and introduced to bed straps.” – Jane | Bakersfield, CA

Other People Don’t Understand What is Happening When you are Having A Panic Attack, and they Make it Worse 

“Why is it that if you tell someone you are having a panic attack, their first instinct is to touch you? That is the worst possible think you can do! Give me space and let me just deal with it. I’ve learned to just keep it to myself, walk away and go to the bathroom or somewhere I can be alone, but in the beginning, I made the mistake of telling people, ‘hey I am having a panic attack right now.’ And my parents or friends felt the need to try and touch my shoulders or tell me to just relax, or some other stupid thing that does not help” – McKenzie | San Antonio, TX

“I was a sophomore in high school, and I had just walked into English class when Boom! I was hit with an intense panic attack. The teacher noticed I was acting funny and put me on the spot. I couldn’t even formulate the words, so just mumbled something and told her to leave me alone. She was pissed and called the high school officer on me, suspecting I was on drugs. Even the cop didn’t believe I was just having a panic attack, telling me that I was showing the signs of a person who is on drugs. It took a drug test and note from the doctor to avoid suspension from school and that whole scene haunts me to this day. – Rebecca | Highlands Ranch, CO

“We were at a party at a friend’s parent’s house in high school, and everyone was drinking. I wasn’t really a big drinker in high school, so I only had a few sips of a drink. I got a panic attack and I still didn’t know how to handle them back then.  I got scared and started crying. I told my friends I wanted to go home. My friends didn’t want to leave, so I asked the guy whose parent’s house the party was at if he could give me a ride home. He was suspicious of me and for some reason thought I was going to tell my parents about the alcohol and smoking. He told everyone to not let me leave, and some of his friends were even forceful, trying to keep me in his room and talk me out of leaving. I couldn’t explain myself, because I couldn’t even find the words. This went on for a while before the cops actually showed up because the neighbors had complained. The worst panic attack situation I have ever had.” – Anonymous

Should You Get Help for Panic and Anxiety Attacks?

Real People Explain What Anxiety and Panic Attacks Feel LikeAnxiety and panic attacks make for more than just awkward situations, persistent anxiety can take over your life, keep you from doing what you want in your personal life and your career, and can cause the quality of your life to drop. Only 30% of those with anxiety disorders ever reach out for help with their symptoms, and many feel like there is nothing that can be done for panic disorders.

The danger in not seeking treatment for panic disorders is the fact that anxiety and panic can quickly and easily morph into more dangerous co-occurring disorders. Those with panic attacks are more likely to have mental health issues like OCD, depression, severe depression, suicidal thoughts or feelings, and substance abuse issues.

There are many ways to battle the symptoms of anxiety naturally and holistically if you so choose. Medication is not the only treatment for anxiety, and in many cases, medication is not the best option for treatment.

In the end, it is up to you, but you should never feel alone or helpless. There are many others that share your struggles with anxiety, the awkward moments, the frustrations, and even have developed tricks to help deal with the symptoms. As anxiety sufferers, we are a community that understands each other’s stressors and embarrassing moments, and as a community, we can help each other as well.

Read About Stress Managment and Preventing Relapse

Need-to-Know Facts About Benzodiazepines

Need-to-Know Facts About Benzodiazepines Fight Addiction Now

Most people have at least heard of some of the brand names of prescription benzodiazepine drugs – perhaps Valium or Ativan. Far fewer are familiar with the challenges of benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal. In fact, abuse of these drugs is on the rise, leading to a greater need for benzodiazepine detox and rehab.

This helpful summary of the top need-to-know facts about benzodiazepine drugs can help you familiarize yourself with this class of powerful sedatives.

The History of Benzodiazepine Drugs

Understanding this class of drugs means knowing why they were invented, who made them and how they impacted the culture once prescribed. This overview touches on the most important moments in benzodiazepine history.

Americans and Sedatives

Before the invention of benzodiazepine drugs, there was a substantial demand for drugs that could act as anti-anxiety medication. The cultural phenomenon was immortalized by the Rolling Stones song, “Mama’s Little Helper.”

Previously, middle-class Americans had been treated with opiates and barbiturate drugs to manage stress, but these highly addictive prescriptions did more harm than good.

Benzodiazepines Invented in the ‘50s

The godfather of benzodiazepine drugs is Leo Sternbach, a Polish research chemist who experimented with dozens of ineffective benzodiazepines compounds in the 1950s. As an employee at Hoffman-La Roche, as Swedish healthcare firm, he eventually invented an entire class of non-addictive sedatives, many of which are still prescribed today.

Benzodiazepines Get FDA Approval in the ‘60s

The first benzodiazepine drug approved by the FDA was Librium (chlordiazepoxide), earning its stamp of approval in 1960. The second, more widely known benzodiazepine the FDA approved was Valium (diazepam). The FDA deemed it safe for prescribing in 1963.

British Scientist Catches Disturbing Trend

Another scientist, Malcolm Lader of London, began observing the effects of long-term benzodiazepine use in the 1970s. First, he began to recognize widespread abuse of the drug. Second, he found that patients who had developed an unhealthy relationship with the drug did so without changing their prescription dosage.

Risks of Benzodiazepine Addiction Known

Continuing his research into the next decade, Lader eventually published a comprehensive study on the long-term risks of using benzodiazepine drugs as anxiety medication.

Benzodiazepine Rehab History Fact - Fight Addiction Now

What Are Benzodiazepines and How Do They Work?

The following helpful pieces of information outline the chemistry behind benzodiazepine drugs and explain how they interact with the human body. This section also offers an exhaustive list of the benzodiazepine drugs currently being prescribed by doctors.

Benzodiazepines Act on Neurotransmitters

Benzodiazepines affect one’s mood by changing how neurotransmitters work in the brain. The body produces these chemical signals naturally as a way of communicating with itself. Benzodiazepines can greatly change how a person is feeling by influencing those chemical signals directly.

Benzodiazepines Produce Calming Effects

Benzodiazepines drugs typically targets the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (also known as GABA). This chemical signal has inhibitory functions that assist in calming the brain down from an agitated state. Benzodiazepines encourage the brain to boost its production of GABA neurotransmitters, resulting in the sedative effects associated with these medications.

Are Benzodiazepines Still Prescribed in the U.S.?

Yes. In fact, there are more than two dozen types of benzodiazepine drugs prescribed in the United States. They vary in length of effect, but all are used as powerful sedatives.
 
The benzodiazepine drugs currently available in prescription form in the United States include:

  • Alprazolam
  • Bentazepam
  • Bromazepam
  • Brotizolam
  • Camazepam
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Clobazam
  • Clonazepam
  • Clonazolam
  • Clorazepate
  • Clotiazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Flumazenil
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Flurazepam
  • Halazepam
  • Loprazolam
  • Lorazepam
  • Medazepam
  • Mexazolam
  • Midazolam
  • Oxazepam
  • Prazepam
  • Quazepam
  • Temazepam
  • Triazolam
  • Zaleplon
  • Zolpidem

Statistics and Need-to-Know Facts About Benzodiazepines

Want to know how many people are affected by benzodiazepines? Interested in how dangerous the drugs have become over the past decade? The following benzodiazepine statistics offer a helpful summary of the most telling data trends.

Doctors Prescribe Benzodiazepines for All Ages

Benzodiazepine use isn’t limited to a single age group. According to a recent article in Psychology Today, new research shows that roughly 5 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 80 have an active benzodiazepine prescription. This number reflects both widespread use of these drugs to treat anxiety in patients as well as equally widespread exposure to abuse and addiction.

Benzodiazepine Prescriptions Have Increased

Benzodiazepine use isn’t just nationwide, it’s also on the rise. Research performed at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed that over a 17-year period ending in 2013, the number of adults prescribed benzodiazepines increased from 8.1 million to 13.5 million.
 
Not surprisingly, over the same period, the number of deaths related to benzodiazepine use increased as well.

Overdose Deaths Related to Benzodiazepines Are Rising Too

Data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed a disturbing trend between 2002 and 2015. During this 13-year period, the number of deaths related to benzodiazepine overdose noticeably increased:

  • There were 4.3 times as many overdose deaths in 2015 than there were in 2002.
  • Contributing to these deaths were instances where patients used alcohol or abused other drugs while taking benzodiazepines.

Finding Benzodiazepine Help

If you or a close loved one is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, there is a way out of its potentially deadly grip. Contact us for help with finding a treatment center that will provide benzodiazepine detox and subsequent benzodiazepine rehab through personalized, long-term care.

See More Prescription Drug Facts

When Are We Going to Address the State of Mental Health Care in America?

When Will We Address State of Mental Health Care in America - Fight Addiction Now

There is a mental health crisis in the United States, and very little is being done to fix it. Health care professionals have known about the problem for years, but it seems that it takes a national tragedy for the media to pay any attention.

According to a Mental Health America recent report, more than 43 million American adults suffer from a mental health disorder, and all signs indicate that this number will continue to grow. To make matters worse, more than half of Americans with mental health disorders have not received treatment in the past year.

Mental health care in this country is a joke. Unless we address the problem at its source, Americans will continue to suffer for generations to come.

The Role Social Media Plays in Mental Health Care

Over the past decade, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter have become fixtures of American life. While social media was first presented as a tool for bringing people together, it has become clear that it’s actually driving us farther apart.

Social media allows people to feel connected to one another without any of the risks that come with true intimacy. We can wish someone happy birthday, compliment their new haircut and laugh at their jokes all without ever gathering face to face. We become observers of our friend’s lives, not participants.

On social media, we can control the version of ourselves that we present to others. Only the best moments and most flattering pictures make it to the screen. When we interact with people in the real world, however, this facade can come crashing down. People are increasingly unwilling to take that risk.

Numerous studies have shown that there is strong evidence connecting social media use to substance abuse and mental health problems like depression, anxiety and eating disorders. The U.K.-based Royal Society for Public Health found that photo-sharing platforms like Instagram are creating a generation of young people with serious body image issues, which over time can contribute to a host of other mental health disorders.

Because social media encourages people to share an airbrushed version of their lives, it’s very easy to slip into the false belief that you are alone in your suffering, that in order to fit in, you’ll need to hide your pain from the world. When we repress our emotions in this way for too long, the inevitable result is loneliness, isolation and depression.

The Shocking Lack of Mental Health Care in America

The aforementioned Mental Health America report also said that 56.5 percent of adults suffering from mental illness have not received medical treatment in the past year. And of those who did seek medical care, 20 percent still complain of unmet treatment needs.

If we want to see any improvement in the American mental health crisis, a top priority needs to be providing health insurance for mental illness sufferers. In 2014, nearly 1 out of 5 adults with mental illness did not have health insurance. The situation was even worse in states that did not expand Medicaid services following the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

The scope of this problem varies from state to state. For example, in Massachusetts, only 2.7 percent of adults suffering from mental illness are uninsured, while in Nevada, the number is as high as 28.2 percent.

Unfortunately, having health coverage doesn’t guarantee prompt mental health treatment. As a culture, we need get better at recognizing mental illness in its early stages. There is a gap in time between the first appearance of mental illness symptoms and receiving treatment.

On average, during 84 percent of this gap in time, mental illnesses remain undiagnosed. To put it another way, if someone begins to suffer from depression and receives treatment for it two years later, it is likely that for about the first 20 months, the depression went completely undiagnosed.

The Connection Between Substance Abuse and Co-occurring Disorders

People who suffer from mental illness are at a much greater risk of developing a substance use disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration performed a survey in 2014 that found 7.9 million people who were experiencing mental illness also suffered from a dual diagnosis of substance abuse.

There’s a real problem in this country of just treating the symptoms of mental health problems rather than addressing the problem’s source. If alcoholics seek help for their substance abuse without also receiving treatment for underlying psychological issues like depression, schizophrenia or anxiety, they are much less likely to succeed long term.

The only hope we have for overcoming the mental health crisis in America is through a holistic approach to treatment, and right now that is barely happening.

 

We Owe It to Our Children to Find Mental Health Care Solutions

Young people are hit hardest by the lack of sufficient mental health care in the United States. It’s estimated that 88 percent of young people with major depression receive inadequate treatment, with 64 percent receiving no treatment at all.

Untreated mental illness in young Americans can quickly spiral out of control, as mental illness can lead to substance use disorder and various medical illnesses. In fact, a recent finding seems to indicate that people with depression have a life expectancy of five to 10 years shorter than the national average.

American youths deserve improved health care reform and mental health services. It’s not just a matter of making sure that young people are provided with adequate health insurance: We need to make sure that the mental health services they receive are specifically geared to their unique needs.

Taking care of mental illness in its early stages is the only way to stop the destructive cycle from continuing into the future.

What’s Your Take?

What’s your take on the American mental health care system? What changes would you make if you had the power? Have you personally struggled to find mental health care when you needed it most? Leave a comment below or come over to the Fight Addiction Now forum to discuss this important issue!

See Our Co-Occurring Disorders Fact Sheet

Is Smartphone and Social Media Addiction the New Face of Dependence?

Is Smartphone and Social Media Addiction New Face of Dependence - Fight Addiction Now

Neurochemically, Smartphone Addiction Is Real –
Now What?

We’ve all seen it: crowds of people walking with their heads bent, thumbs frantically scrolling, eyes glazed. Smartphones and social media take up hours of time in the average person’s day.

Now, scientists have found a connection between smartphone use and neurochemical imbalances in the brain. Explore the possibility of smart device addiction, and whether it could affect you or someone close to you.

The Staggering Statistics on Smartphone Use

A recent Pew Research study found that 77 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone – up from 35 percent in 2011. More than half of young adults live in households with three or more smartphones.

When surveyed, the majority of respondents said it was “generally OK” to use a cellphone while walking down the street, on public transportation and while waiting in line. Almost half (46 percent) of smartphone owners say they couldn’t live without their phones.

Another powerful wakeup call about how much society relies on and uses smartphones comes from Apple data. According to Apple, the average smartphone user compulsively checks in around 80 times per day. A different report from Kleiner Perkins estimated the number at 150 times per day. In such a strong digital age, is it really so surprising that smart device addiction is making headlines?

For years, scientists and researchers have warned about the possible negative effects of staring at screens for too many hours a day. From the very first video games to the latest virtual reality experiences, every new piece of technology has come with pundits questioning their safety.

Yet, no smart device has sparked the word “addiction” more than the smartphone. Many recent articles state that smartphone and social media addiction isn’t just real, but that it’s commonplace.

Is Smartphone and Social Media Addiction Really a Thing?

Is Cell Phone Addiction a Real Thing?

According to a pioneer study presented at the 103rd Scientific Assembly, smartphone addiction has a correlation with neurochemical imbalances in the brain. Hyung Suk Seo, professor at Korea University in Seoul, led the study. Researchers used a special type of MRI to measure the brain’s chemical composition, and they conducted a survey to determine how often the test subject uses a smartphone.

The results found that smartphone-addicted individuals had significantly higher levels of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Impulsivity
  • Insomnia.

The ratio of GABA to Glx neurotransmitters was also significantly higher in smartphone-addicted individuals. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter that slows down brain signaling. Glx (glutamate-glutamine) is the neurotransmitter that makes neurons more electrically stimulated.

Professor Seo speculated that increases in GABA related to smartphone and internet addiction “may cause function loss of integration and regulation of processing in the cognitive and emotional neural networks.” Too much GABA can lead to side effects, ranging from insomnia to anxiety, as the brain’s signals reduce in speed.

On a positive note, Seo noted that GABA-to-Glx ratios in smartphone-addicted individuals normalized or improved after cognitive behavioral therapy. It appears, therefore, that reversal is possible.

Possible Ramifications of Smart Device Addiction

Smartphone, social media, internet and gaming addictions could be the new faces of dependency. While Seo’s soon-to-be-published study needs other extensive studies to refute or confirm the correlation between smartphone addiction and neurochemical changes in the brain, it does give food for thought. If smartphone addiction is real and can cause changes in the brain, it means a brand new category of addictive behavior.

You could be one of many people who suffer from smartphone addiction…or perhaps you have a particularly phone-obsessed family member. Signs that you could have a cellphone addiction include:

  • You feel uncomfortable without your phone.
  • It makes you nervous or irritated not to be able to use your phone.
  • The thought of a dead battery scares you.
  • You spend a lot of time thinking about social media.
  • You use social media and the internet to escape personal problems.
  • Cutting down on your smartphone or social media use feels impossible.
  • Your smart device use is so great that it’s negatively impacted your job or relationships.

Smartphone addiction can disrupt relationships, lead to job termination, present financial difficulties and harbor many of the same adverse effects as a drug, alcohol or other addiction. Spending too much time on a smart device could be damaging to mental health. This is especially true if it causes sleep disturbances and depression, as studies seem to indicate.

Smartphone Addiction: Do You Believe the Hype?

Smartphone addiction is a developing theory that could have some basis in scientific evidence. The more data that becomes available about smartphone use, brain activity and addictive behaviors, the more the world will know about this alleged problem. If smartphone addiction can affect the brain’s neurotransmitters, is it therefore comparable to drug or alcohol addictions that do the same?

Do you believe the hype about smart device/social media addiction?
Is there someone in your life who you believe could have this issue?
Or do you believe these “addictions” are unfounded, and simply speculation with little supporting science?
Could smartphone addiction be a developing problem for the younger generations, who have had access to these devices for a longer portion of their lives than adults have? Please give your thoughts on any or all of these questions in the comments below, or get the discussion started in our online forum.

What Do People Worry Most About in Life? Are Drugs and Alcohol the Answer to Any of These?

Are Drugs and Alcohol the Answer to Our Worries - Fight Addiction Now

Drugs and Alcohol and Anxiety

Anytime we as humans are under stress, we look for relief. Some people choose different outlets – exercise, for example. Some of us choose to turn to drugs and alcohol during periods of anxiety.

Shutting Off Your Emotions and Natural Reactions

Using drugs and alcohol doesn’t really help worries; it just helps you shut off your emotions. Most of us already know the reason we drink or do drugs is to escape our feelings and our realities. But deep down, we also know that it only makes things worse in the long run.

What People Worry About

According to psych experts and the studies, here are some of the top things people worry about in life:

  1. Money, Money, Money

Financial worries are a major source of stress for most people. Money is one of the top three things couples fight about. And being broke, wondering how you’ll pay your bills each month, doesn’t leave much dough for fun and entertainment.

“Crap, how am I going to afford that trip to Ireland with my friends on this budget? But I soooo wanna go!”

  1. Sex and Relationships

Arguing about it, getting enough sex, satisfying our partner, fantasizing about what we really want and more – all of these things can cause anxiety. When we’re unfulfilled or rejected, we want to turn to our drug of choice.

“Can I find a boyfriend/girlfriend? Am I with the right person? Will I ever get married? Why do we argue so much? Is my significant other happy?”

  1. Health and Your Body

Body image is a big deal for most people, no matter what age. Women are a little more obsessed, but guys feel it too.

Beyond looks, if you have a health problem, it automatically comes with a great deal of stress. Additionally, there is anxiety in worrying about potential health problems, waiting for medical tests or having a condition that can lead to something worse.

NUTRITION AND WELLNESS PLAN FOR 30 DAYS

  1. Finding the Right Career or Being Stressed on the Job

It’s a common worry that we will never find the right career for us. Most high school graduates aren’t sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

We spend most of our week at our job(s), and if it’s not something we enjoy, then most of our life is not as happy as we’d like.

What about the people we work with? Do you have a Frankenboss?

  1. Missing Out on Something

It’s a phenomenon: fear of missing out (FOMO) on something…Valentine’s Day, not going out on a Saturday night, not being invited to a party not getting whatever “everybody else” is getting.

There is a principle called sunk cost fallacy that we all fall victim to. As humans, we have a natural aversion to loss that is much stronger than our desire to acquire gains. This loss aversion makes it harder to abandon something — fixing up a house, playing a progressive video game, staying in a long-term relationship — the more you’ve invested in it emotionally or financially.

So, for fear of missing out on something in our long-term investment — losing rewards in a game, for example — we make decisions that may not be in our best interests. We worry about what we’ll lose if…

The Takeaway on Worries

How can drugs and alcohol really help with any of these things? Sure, there is a momentary reprieve from our feelings, but as soon as the high is over, the same problems are staring back at us – with the added burden of the consequences of a substance abuse problem.

Other Solutions Instead of Turning to Drugs and Alcohol

Here are a few tips for when your worries have you in a rough spot and you’re tempted to reach for drugs and alcohol as relief:

  • Realize you’re not alone! If these are the top things people worry about, it’s happening to a lot of people.
  • Talk it out, write it out, pray it out.
  • See a psychologist.
  • Exercise for anxiety.
  • Make time for yourself. Do something fun that you can afford, like a hobby or hanging out with friends.

You Are Invited!

You are invited to join the discussion! Tell us what you worry about most in the comments below. Also, feel free to share your views on drugs and alcohol and how they relate to anxiety and worries. Get commenting now!