Anxiety Disorder

Oasis Recovery Communities Runcorn can successfully treat those that suffering from a co-occurring illness in addition to a substance or process (activity based) addiction. Anxiety disorder commonly develops from the abuse of alcohol or drugs and can be the underlying reason for many dysfunction and ritualistic behaviours. The continual use of substances alters the brain’s chemistry so that it can be can contributing factor or as result of substance abuse and addiction

For those that suffer from anxiety disorder, the condition can be so debilitating, that it impacts on every area of their life. Most of us will experience anxiety at some point, and this is a perfectly natural response to stressful conditions and events. Those with anxiety disorder experience it at crippling levels and on more or less a continual basis.

For those with an addiction problem, anxiety disorder tends to develop as a direct result. By continually altering the way that they feel through the means of substances or compulsive activities, they are causing chemical imbalances and alterations to the brain’s chemistry. This can lead to a worsening of any pre-existing condition or the development of the condition.

The only time they feel a respite from the disorder is when they reach oblivion through their particular addiction. However, the addiction only provides temporary relief and provides as a mask to the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety can escalate addiction and addiction can escalate anxiety. We, therefore, feel that the only way to successfully treat and prevent a recurrence of either condition is to treat both conditions simultaneously.

What are the symptoms of Anxiety Disorder?

The symptoms of anxiety disorder, when severe, can interfere with the individual completing the simplest of everyday tasks, such as going shopping, attending appointments or basic self-care. They become increasingly isolated from family, friends and life in general. They are full of fear and every day is a battle with their mind.

As a progressive illness, without the correct treatment, the symptoms of anxiety disorder will only worsen over time, especially if there is an addiction involved. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorder on a regular basis for six months or more, it could be that you require professional treatment to help you get well and recover. If there is an addiction involved, professional treatment is recommended immediately, without delay

Here are some of the common symptoms associated with Anxiety Disorder:

  • Weight loss
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Uncontrollable racing thoughts
  • Fearing the worst
  • Feeling on edge and jittery
  • A constant feeling of dread
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Feeling numb
  • Disassociation from reality and their own body
  • Pins and needles
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Hot flushes and sweats
  • Poor concentration and short attention span
  • Restlessness

Anxiety Disorder can also be linked to another disorder such as Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or PTSD. When there is more than one illness presenting, we will treat all conditions simultaneously to provide the individual with the best chance of a full and permanent recovery

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Extreme Anxiety Disorder needs to be correctly diagnosed by a medical professional and falls into four main categories. We can provide a consultation with a Psychiatrist when the condition is severe or complex. All of the conditions ARE treatable through the correct professional approach, and we have the means and knowledge to help.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is an extremely distressing and debilitating condition that results in the sufferer to experiencing regular panic attacks. An event, situation or a thought process can trigger a panic attack. Panic attacks are extremely frightening and very intense; they usually start with anxious thoughts and build to a peak over some time. During a panic attack, the individual may fear they are going to die, that something seriously bad is going to happen, they are losing their mind, or that they have a serious physical ailment.

The fear and distress they feel lead them to experience distressing physical symptoms such as palpitations, rapid, shallow breathing, holding their breath, shaking, nausea, upset stomach, dizziness and sweating and can even lead to them fainting. These physical symptoms are accompanied by intense feelings of terror and fear that are paralysing. The sufferer is likely to develop a pattern of avoidant behaviour of events; situations or people that they feel may trigger a panic attack.

They can become extremely isolated and depressed as a result. Many that experience panic attacks on a regular basis end up self-medicating to relieve the symptoms; benzodiazepines and alcohol are the most commonly abused with this disorder. This can result in a physical addiction and a worsening of the condition; they are merely temporarily masking the symptoms as opposed to learning how to manage them in a healthy and healing way

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalised anxiety disorder is the diagnosis given to the condition whereby individuals suffer from chronic feelings of anxiety without any particular cause or trigger. The root of the conditions lies in their thought processes, which they are unable to control or rationalise. It is common for an individual suffering from GAD to be plagued by obsessive and racing thought patterns that feel overwhelming and out of control.

Their life is deeply affected as they struggle to be present in the here and now and often project very negative thoughts about the future or the past. It can affect them to such an extent that they struggle to complete everyday tasks, even getting out of bed and facing the day ahead can seem like an impossible task.

Those with GAD worry excessively about things that others would not. They struggle to socialise, and it can impact on their ability to work and their relationships. They constantly feel on edge and struggle to relax and sleep due to the constant obsessive and uncontrollable worrying. GAD is the most common form of Anxiety Disorder and again can be accompanied by self-medicating to achieve respite from the symptoms

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a recognised mental health illness; it causes the individual to suffer from compulsive thought patterns, rituals and activities. Those with OCD may become obsessed with a particular thought that compels them to carry out a certain action. The obsessive thoughts can cause feelings of fear and anxiety of which the individual has no control over. OCD sufferers often carry out specific activities that they feel compelled to do; they have fostered the belief that by doing so, it will relieve the unpleasant feelings and obsessive thoughts.

For example, a person with OCD may obsessively think that they need to carry out an activity a certain number of times to avoid harm to themselves or their loved ones…this may manifest in checking locks or light switches a defined number of times before they can leave a room. Once the ritual has been completed the obsessive thought is temporarily lifted. To not carry out the activity causes them to suffer extreme discomfort and distress.

Another example is an individual who obsessively thinks about hygiene and germs; their belief is distorted and extreme. To relieve the obsession, they compulsively wash and clean, but again the relief is only temporary and without a drastic change in their belief system and thought processes, recovery is not possible. OCD is characterised by obsessive out of control thought patterns and ritualistic behaviours.

This needs to be treated with a combination of intense psychotherapy and sometimes medication. We have a great deal of experience in treating this condition successfully, although it can take time and intensive work the individual can live a life free from obsession and compulsion


A phobia is an irrational fear of something that poses absolutely no life-threatening danger. Phobias cause extreme feelings of fear and anxiety and even if there is no logic to the fear; the person affected has no control over their thoughts and subsequent emotions. Even just a picture of the object may bring up feelings of panic and fear. Common examples of phobias are heights, spiders, snakes, choking and vomiting. Like all illnesses, the symptoms can vary in frequency and severity.

Some individuals have phobias around certain foods or inanimate objects. Those suffering from a severe phobia may try to organise their life around avoiding the object of their fears and events where they fear there may be exposed to their phobia. Sufferers can develop a phobia towards almost anything from social phobia to parts of the human body, to cotton wool. Individuals with social phobia or fear of open spaces are likely to severely limit their life as they struggle to leave the house.

This can have a devastating effect, as they become a recluse in their own home. Phobias are treatable; usually, a combination of CBT and gradual exposure and reassurance therapy offers the best results. Those suffering from phobias are also likely to suffer from obsessive, irrational thought patterns and high levels of anxiety; this, in turn, can lead them to self-medicating their condition. Phobias are often learned behaviours, so again it takes time and intensive work with professionals to assist the individual in managing their condition and overcoming it.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

SAD can be a very self-limiting condition. The sufferer fears to interact with others and have intense fear and obsession of what others may think of them. This is more than just shyness or lack of confidence; someone suffering from SAD will avoid situations or events where they are required to be sociable and present themselves or speak with other people. They will obsess over conversations with others and suffer extreme levels of self-doubt.

They will obsessively worry over others and what they may be thinking of them. They often suffer from extremely low self-esteem and are scared to voice their thoughts and opinions. Those suffering from SAD experience feelings of panic, discomfort and fear in social situations on a regular basis and as a result tend to withdraw from society in general.

SAD is very treatable, but again it means the individual stepping outside of their comfort zone and facing their fears through gradual exposure and intensive professional therapy. Due to their isolation from society, those suffering from SAD often abuse alcohol and drugs as a way of coping with their condition.

Understanding Anxiety

The body’s natural response to anything that is perceived as life-threatening, it is referred to as the “fight or flight” response. In a life-threatening situation, this response can be life-saving. Medically it is referred to as “hyper-arousal” or “acute stress response”. An example of where this response would be rational is when an individual is under the threat of physical attack or harm.

Fight or flight is not just a psychological state, as it also a physical state. The thought processes that accompany the perceived threat trigger the brain into flooding the individual’s body with naturally occurring chemicals and hormones, so that the individual’s body and the mind become hyper-alert and vigilant in preparation for combat or to run.

For someone that suffers from an anxiety disorder, the fight or flight response is triggered by thought processes, which they are unable to control; this is the crux of the problem and what needs to be treated. Physically although there is no actual physical danger present, the individual perceives that there is, or that there is going to be. Their heart rate will increase, and their breathing becomes more rapid in anticipation.

They may also shake, sweat, feel nauseous and dizzy as various chemicals and hormones begin to flood their system. Self-calming will feel an impossible task as they struggle to apply logic to the way that they are feeling mentally and physically. For individual suffering with an anxiety disorder, life becomes a roller coaster of distressing emotions and racing thought processes, so much so, that each day is a battle of survival.

They are at very high risk of self-medicating to try and reduce their symptoms, through the abuse of alcohol, drugs, prescription medications and unhealthy compulsive behaviours. This only provides temporary and relief inevitably the symptoms return and can worsen. The correct way of treating anxiety disorder is through an intensive, personalised therapeutic programme. Sometimes medication is appropriate to help manage the symptoms initially until they can learn new and healthier ways of managing their condition


When dealing with someone suffering from anxiety disorder, it is important to remember that they are suffering from an illness and cannot “pull themselves together” or “face their fear”. There is no one singular cause of Anxiety Disorder, and it is important to remember that as an illness, the sufferer is not at fault for having it.

There are some reasons as to why an individual might be more predisposed to developing a form of this condition, including:

  • A family history of Anxiety Disorder
  • A traumatic experience or experiences
  • Everyday habits and lifestyle (working long hours, stress at home or work and not resting enough)
  • Poor diet (too much sugar or caffeine)
  • Overall physical and mental health
  • Side effects of medication being taken.
  • Abuse of alcohol and drugs

Rehab Treatment at Oasis

At Oasis Recovery Communities in Runcorn, we treat anxiety disorder and its common manifestations using a combination of medication, support and psychotherapy. We unearth the root causes of the individual’s illness and treat them accordingly, using some proven and effective psychotherapeutic techniques. For those with an alcohol or drug dependency, more often than not, once a medical detox has been completed, the symptoms of anxiety will diminish considerably or vanish altogether.

Our clinical team are very experienced and skilled in treating a variety of co-occurring illnesses, including anxiety disorder. We feel that it is vital that all presenting conditions are treated simultaneously for the best chance of a full and permanent recovery. Medication is only used in the most severe cases, or on a short-term basis; we aim to equip the individual with coping techniques and strategies so that they do not have to rely on medications or substances to alter the way that they feel in the present or the future.

Our treatment programmes are designed to reduce anxiety in an individual and help them to challenge and change their thought processes and their subsequent behaviours. This is vital to long-term recovery. Therapeutically we treat Anxiety Disorder using a variety of talking and holistic therapies. This would include CBT, Mindfulness, Psychotherapy, Counselling and elements of physical rehabilitation and fitness.

Like all illnesses, it is important to treat the individual as a whole, and not just one singular aspect. For more information on our treatment programmes or any other aspect of the rehabilitation process, contact us today directly.

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  • Oasis Runcorn
    38-40 Bridge St.
    Runcorn, Cheshire,
    WA7 1BY
    United Kingdom
  • Tel. 0203 131 5938
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