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Stages of Anxiety Recovery in Young Adults

Young Adult Anxiety

You know that feeling. Everyone has experienced it once or twice in their life. The creeping feeling of unease, apprehension, uncertainty, or dread. It’s anxiety and it’s a universal human experience. But did you know that there are stages to anxiety and that some people experience these stages to a greater degree than others? For some young adults it can completely derail their life. 


The Stages of Anxiety


1. Initial Stress & Worry


Life is full of stress and worry; it’s normal. For most people, these everyday anxieties are expected and easily dealt with. For young adults they may come in the form of academic pressure, changing social dynamics, and the worry of their academic and professional futures. While some level of worry is natural and can even be motivating, persistent and excessive worry may signal the onset of an anxiety disorder. 


2. Increased Anxiety Symptoms


As mild anxiety progresses into the moderate stage, symptoms become more pronounced. Young adults may experience physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, and gastrointestinal issues. Emotionally, feelings of restlessness, irritability, or being constantly on edge become more enhanced. Cognitively, they may start to experience difficulty concentrating, constant worry, and intrusive thoughts. 


3. Avoidance & Behavioral Changes


From moderate to severe is when the behavior of someone suffering from an anxiety disorder becomes more noticeable. To cope with their anxiety, young adults might start avoiding situations that trigger their symptoms. When they do experience severe anxiety, they may appear detached, dazed, or confused. Symptoms of their stress response intensify and may include hyperventilation, a pounding heart, insomnia, and a sense of impending doom.


4. Impact on Daily Life


When anxiety reaches this stage, it significantly impacts the individual's daily life. Panic attacks result in dysregulated behavior and the individual becomes unable to process information from their immediate surroundings. When a young adult is suffering from panic attacks, their overall quality of life diminishes and their ability to carry out academic studies or maintain relationships falls by the wayside. You will notice a decrease across the board in their ability to maintain a normal, healthy routine. Clinical intervention may be necessary. 


The Impact of Anxiety on Young Adults


Anxiety can have far-reaching effects, especially on young adults. Academically, it can hinder performance, making it difficult to concentrate, complete assignments, or even attend classes. Socially, anxiety can lead to isolation, making it nearly impossible to maintain relationships. It can also affect physical health, leading to headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and weakened immune systems.


Emotionally, anxiety leads to feelings of hopelessness and depression. The fear and worry associated with anxiety can become overwhelming, making it difficult to enjoy life. This emotional toll can be particularly challenging for young adults, who are in a critical stage of developing their identity and independence.


The Importance of Seeking Treatment


Recognizing the stages of anxiety and its impact underscores the importance of seeking treatment. Early intervention can prevent anxiety from worsening and help young adults develop healthy coping mechanisms. Treatment options may include therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and support groups.


Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help young adults understand their anxiety, identify triggers, and develop strategies to manage symptoms. Medication, prescribed by a healthcare professional, can also be effective in managing severe symptoms. Additionally, lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and mindfulness practices, can support positive mental health.


Dual-Diagnosis Treatment at Momentum


Anxiety is a common but serious condition that can significantly impact young adults. It is also a commonly occurring issue that appears alongside those suffering from substance abuse. With appropriate treatment and support, young adults can learn to manage their anxiety, find sobriety, and lead fulfilling lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety and/or addiction, reach out for help. Dual-diagnosis treatment can make a world of difference and we’re here to help.