Mental Health and Addictions


Anxiety, worry and stress are all a part of people's life today.  But simply experiencing anxiety and stress does not mean you need to get professional help or you have an anxiety disorder.  In fact, anxiety is a necessary warning signal of a dangerous or difficult situation.  Without anxiety, we would have no way of anticipating difficulties ahead and preparing for them.  Anxiety becomes a disorder when the symptoms become chronic and interfere with our daily lives and ability to function.  People suffering from anxiety often report the following symptoms: muscle tension, physical weakness, poor memory, sweating hands, fear or confusion, inability to relax, constant worry, shortness of breath, palpitations, upset stomach, and poor concentration.


Common signs of addiction include hangovers, blackouts, poor health, tremors, mood swings, alienation from family and friends, and involvement with law enforcement.  Depending on the level of dependency, some addicts require detoxification and medical supervision.


When the dependence is on an activity or ritual, it is called an "habituation."  These include codependency, sexual and relationship "addictions," spending compulsions, binge eating, gambling and raging.  These rituals are integrated into one's lifestyle and are difficult to change.


Adapted from