Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Screening
The CAGE-AID questionnaire is a simple test that checks for signs of alcohol dependence. It can be a useful tool that only requires a minute or two of time.
Anxiety, OCD, and PTSD Treatment
It's normal to have some anxiety, but for a person with an anxiety disorder, the worry and fear does not go away. It interferes with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. Read below to see the different types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) worry consistently and excessively about everyday issues, events, and activities. These worries are difficult to control and often out of proportion with the situation. Other symptoms include feeling restless, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, and sleep problems.
GAD affects 3.1% of the U.S. population, and women are twice as likely to be diagnosed. The exact cause of GAD is not fully known, but stressful life experiences, family history, and brain chemistry all contribute to developing GAD.
A panic attack is an abrupt surge of intense fear or discomfort that reaches its peak within minutes. Symptoms include racing heartbeat, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fear of dying.
About 1 in 10 people will have a panic attack at some point in their life, but having an isolated incident does not mean that a person has panic disorder. Panic disorder occurs when someone experiences repeated and unexpected panic attacks with persistent fear of having additional attacks. Panic disorder affects 2.7% of the U.S. population.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a long-lasting disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions involve uncontrollable, recurring, often distressing thoughts that an individual tries to ignore or suppress. Compulsions involve repetitive behaviors like handwashing or mental acts like repeating specific words. Someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder feels the urge to perform these compulsions to relieve the stress caused by their obsessive thoughts.
OCD can cause significant disruption to one’s daily life, as these obsessions are typically intrusive and distracting. At the same time, their compulsive behaviors often interrupt daily activities at home, work, or in their social lives. Around 1.2% of the U.S. population has OCD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
When someone is exposed to a terrifying event (a physical attack, death of a loved one, car accident, etc.), they can develop PTSD. As a result, a person can become easily irritable and startled, have reoccurring nightmares, experience intense flashbacks, and lose interest in the things they used to enjoy. After going through a traumatic event, that person may have difficulty adjusting and coping, but with treatment, time, and self-care, symptoms can subside.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Also known as "social phobia," this condition causes irrational anxiety in social situations. People fear they will be judged, and can also have feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, or fear of offending others. These anxieties can cause physical symptoms and make the individual shy away from social settings.
A variety of medications can be prescribed to treat an anxiety disorder, and the right one will depend on an individual’s medical history and symptoms. Each medication comes with different benefits and risks, so it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor.
Benzodiazepines are used to treat acute anxiety and insomnia. They work quickly after taking a dose, so they are sometimes prescribed to help someone cope with specific situations that cause severe anxiety, like flying on a plane or undergoing a medical exam. Short-term use of benzodiazepines is relatively safe, but daily use can lead to physiological dependence. Due to the side effects, alcohol should be avoided entirely when using this type of medication.
Antidepressant medications called SSRIs are often prescribed to treat anxiety, as they are a safer option for long-term treatment of anxiety disorders. These medications need to be taken as prescribed for four to six weeks in order to achieve their full effect.
There are other types of medications that are effective in treating anxiety beyond benzodiazepines and SSRIs, so talk to your doctor about your options. You should only take your medication as directed, regardless of what you are prescribed. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed to do so by your doctor. Stopping your medication too quickly can cause serious side effects, including withdrawal symptoms that could require emergency care.
Evidence-based psychotherapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), has been shown to be as or more effective than medication for long-term treatment of many anxiety disorders, and should always be considered as a primary treatment for anxiety, with or without medication therapy.
Monitor your medications:
Substance abuse can affect anyone. For that reason, it’s important to keep close track of your prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs. Monitor your own medications and make sure they are used in the correct dosage by your prescribing doctor. You should also keep your medications in a safe place and refrain from sharing them with family or friends.
Track your medications using the inventory sheet below or download the Wellframe app to digitally log your medications and get daily reminders.