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anxiety disorders

Why Do So Many Anxiety Sufferers Fail to Get Help?

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health issues in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, as many as 19.1 percent of people experienced some form of anxiety disorder within the past year. 

Unlike the healthy reactions most people have when they encounter stressful situations, people who live with clinical anxiety often struggle with persistent, intrusive fears that can prevent them from living life to its fullest. Since anxiety symptoms manifest in both psychological and physical ways, managing them successfully requires a multifaceted approach to treatment. Unfortunately, while the prevalence of anxiety disorders remains common, barriers to treatment such as stigma have prevented as many as 75 percent of sufferers from seeking the help they need to get better.

The Prevalence of Anxiety and Co-Occurring Addiction

People with anxiety disorders often begin misusing drugs or alcohol in a misguided attempt to self-medicate. Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates those who are living with anxiety are twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse as the general population. 

For many people, turning to drugs and alcohol to try to manage anxiety symptoms can often backfire by causing existing mood disorders like PTSD or panic attacks to intensify, reinforcing the need to use more of these substances to feel normal. The result is a tragic cycle of substance abuse that can lead to chemical dependence and addiction.

When to Stage an Intervention for Someone With Anxiety

Often, people with anxiety and co-occurring addictions have built layers of denial around themselves, which prevent them from seeking the life-changing treatment they need. You may hear them say things like, “I can get better on my own,” “People will judge me for getting help” or “Going to treatment is too complicated.” 

Like many other forms of mental illness, anxiety disorders can cause people to underestimate the severity of their symptoms or underestimate how their behavioral issues are adversely affecting others’ lives. Since anxiety can create feelings of worthlessness, the nature of the illness can make it even more difficult to get your message of love and hope across. An anxiety sufferer may also be afraid to seek help because they have uncertainties surrounding the unfamiliar people and situations they will encounter in a treatment facility. For many of these people, a formal intervention is the best way to lower their defenses and convince them that they deserve to live happy and healthy lives. 

Advantages to Working With a Professional Mental Health Interventionist

People with severe anxiety are often not in a position to seek help on their own. Professional mental health interventionists are:

  • Knowledgeable in the specific anxiety disorder your loved one is facing (e.g., PTSD, social anxiety disorder, phobias)
  • Experienced in addressing the issues of anxiety and co-occurring substance abuse disorders within the context of an orchestrated intervention
  • Prepared to help your family remain on track if emotions become heated
  • Able to run the intervention smoothly, even if the subject of the meeting reacts defensively or unresponsively

Addressing the Unique Needs of People Living With Anxiety Disorders

No one understands your loved one and the nature of their mental and behavioral health problems better than you do. Your active participation is crucial in planning and staging an intervention that helps someone you care about get help. 

If your family is going through a challenging time, taking advantage of the experience and knowledge of a professional interventionist at Whitman Recovery Service can significantly increase your chances of guiding your loved one into the treatment they need to make a full recovery. To inquire about an intervention, or to learn more about our process, contact our team today



Whitman Recovery Service is a Telehealth provider for addiction and mental health guidance. Please call (210) 291-0278
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