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Anxiety Meditation: Does it Really Help?

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You can manage the various ways that anxiety can disrupt your life by practicing mindfulness and meditation for anxiety, which is an area of study that is expanding. Continue reading to learn more about meditation and mindfulness.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: January 18, 2023

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression – Anxiety Meditation

Anxiety and depression difference: The fact that one term denotes a single sickness while the other denotes a collection of ailments is a significant distinction between anxiety and depression.

In reality, depression is one illness. There are numerous distinct symptoms (see below). And different people may experience it very differently. However, the term “depression” only refers to one illness.

The word “anxiety” can indicate a number of different things. We all experience anxiety occasionally, and the word “anxiety” can be used to describe that feeling simply. However, when we use the word anxiety in a medical context, it actually refers to anxiety disorder.

Some less frequent conditions are included under anxiety. These include panic disorders and phobias. However, generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent (GAD). In the US, a generalized anxiety disorder may affect four to five out of every 100 persons. In this post, we’ll concentrate on generalized anxiety.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

According to The National Institute on Mental Health, periodic anxiety is a standard component of life. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial decision, you could experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders involve more than just passing apprehension or terror.

Anxiety and depression difference: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as possible since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can worsen over time. The symptoms might affect daily tasks like work performance, academic progress, and interpersonal connections. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders are only a few of the several types of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and depression difference: People with a generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive Anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about many things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. Fear and Anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work. 

What is Depression?

Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It produces severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, including sleeping, eating, and working. The signs of depression must last for at least two weeks before a diagnosis may be made.

Depression treatment is required when depressive symptoms are chronic and do not go away since some types of depression are slightly different or may arise in unusual situations.

Types of Depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia): is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major Depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic Depression: occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Bipolar disorder: is different from Depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major Depression (called “Bipolar Depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
  • Postpartum Depression: is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum Depression experience full-blown major Depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or their babies.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is characterized by the onset of Depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This Depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter Depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
  • SAD Seasonal Depression (Depressed SAD): A form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing of the seasons; it starts and ends about at the same periods each year. If you have SAD like the majority of people do, your symptoms begin in the fall and last through the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Typically, these symptoms go away in the spring and summer. SAD less frequently results in depression in the spring or early summer and clears up in the fall or winter. SAD treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, and light therapy (phototherapy).

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

A mental health condition marked by intense feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that interferes with daily activities. Panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are a few examples of anxiety disorders.
The inability to put aside worry, restlessness and stress that is out of proportion to the severity of the incident are among the symptoms.
Counseling or medicine, including antidepressants, are used as forms of treatment.

Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating

Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Meditation For Anxiety: How to Use a Guided Meditation For Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.
Anxiety meditations: Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.

Meditation Anxiety: How to Benefit From a Guided Meditation Anxiety

Anxiety Meditation: Our bodies use anxiety as a signal that we are under too much stress at once. Even the best of us experience this. However, it’s time to get help when the feeling of being “always on alert” becomes persistent background noise.

You can manage the various ways that anxiety can disrupt your life by practicing mindfulness and meditation for anxiety, which is an area of study that is expanding. This manual is only a collection of studies and techniques you can use as you start to help right your ship; it is not intended to be a diagnostic tool or a therapy pathway.

Mindfulness Meditation Anxiety – Anxiety Meditation

The ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not unduly reactive or overwhelmed by what is happening around us is known as mindfulness.

It is “consciousness that occurs from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” according to renowned expert Jon Kabat-Zinn, who also adds: “in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

You can access resources you may not have known were available to you all along when you become aware of the present moment, such as a quiet that resides deep inside you.

A constant awareness of the things you need and don’t need in your life Although you may not be able to change your current circumstances, mindfulness practice gives you the freedom to alter how you react to them.

The gold standard for mindfulness-based stress reduction, created by Kabat-Zinn, is called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). The 8-week MBSR program, which was created more than 40 years ago, includes supported teachings, mindfulness exercises, and movement routines that assist people in coping with life’s pressures.

You can simply acknowledge and accept any worried or anxious feelings you may be experiencing in your body and mind by engaging in MBSR activities. According to a 1992 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, MBSR can significantly lessen anxiety and panic symptoms even in those who have panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, or panic disorders combined with agoraphobia.

Other studies have shown that anxiety might lessen when you can put some distance between yourself and what you’re feeling. But if you become overly accustomed to that low rumble of stress, it can increase over time and become a “habit” that is harmful to your health and well-being. As a result, when we get into reactive habits, our lives become more stressful. This is why it’s crucial to distinguish clearly between behaving mindfully and reacting with ignorance.

Meditation For Anxiety And Depression Might Not Be For Everyone – Anxiety Meditation

Being mindful is a supplement to treatment, not a substitute for it. When someone has a complicated or extensive history of trauma or abuse, practicing meditation may bring those memories and feelings to the surface, which can occasionally feel overpowering, especially at first. Due to this, it’s advisable to engage with a therapist while learning about the practice of mindfulness if you have a history of this.

Although meditation doesn’t always seem to be more helpful than other measures you might take, it does appear to promote mental health. Early studies revealed that practicing mindfulness meditation significantly improved our mental health. However, as the number of studies has increased, so has the level of doubt among scientists regarding these original claims.

For instance, a 2014 meta-analysis of 47 randomized controlled trials of mindfulness meditation courses that involved 3,515 individuals was published in JAMA Internal Medicine. They discovered that meditation programs only slightly to moderately reduced anxiety and depressive symptoms.

According to Bob Stahl, Ph.D., a teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), founder of numerous MBSR programs, and co-author of numerous books on MBSR, “Practicing mindfulness is essentially a process of learning to trust and stay with feelings of discomfort rather than trying to escape from or analyze them.” This frequently results in a stunning change; repeatedly, your sentiments will reveal what you need to know about them as well as something important for your own well-being.

Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

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Anxiety Sleep Meditation: How Mindfulness Calms Anxious Feelings – Anxiety Meditation

  1. You can learn to stay with challenging emotions without analyzing, stifling, or encouraging them with the aid of mindfulness. Your anxieties, irritations, painful memories, and other challenging thoughts and emotions frequently go away when you give yourself permission to feel and acknowledge them.
  2. You can safely examine the root causes of your tension and concern with the help of mindfulness. Going with what’s happening rather than fighting it or running away from it gives you the chance to understand what’s motivating your worries.
  3. In order for your problems to stop consuming you, mindfulness might help you make space around them. Freedom and a feeling of spaciousness automatically appear when you start to comprehend the root causes of your anxiety.

How To Meditate For Anxiety?

  1. Bring your focus into the here and now. The invitation is to pay attention to our experience in a broader, more open way that isn’t really concerned with picking or choosing or evaluating but just holding—becoming a container for thoughts, feelings, or bodily sensations that are present and seeing if we can watch them from one second to the next.
  2. Observe your breathing. Let go of the widescreen and bring a focus that is much more focused and centered on breathing in a particular area of your body—the breath of the belly, the chest, or the nose, or anywhere else that the breath manifests itself—and maintain that more focused attention.
  3. Turn your focus to your body. Sitting with the entire body and the entire breath allows us to return to a wider and more roomy container of attention for our experience. Become conscious of your body’s overall sensations.

Can Meditation Help With Anxiety? The Science Behind Mindfulness Meditation For Anxiety

The 8-week program was developed in 1992 by Zindel Segal, John Teasdale, and Mark Williams using the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction approach (MBSR). MBSR’s creator, Jon Kabat-Zinn, had some initial reservations about the course because he worried that it wouldn’t highlight enough how crucial it is for instructors to have a close personal connection to mindfulness practice. He supported the program after getting to know the founders better. The three wrote a seminal book in 2002 titled Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse.

The validity of MBCT is strongly based on continuous research. The basis was established by two randomized clinical trials, which showed that MBCT significantly lowers the rate of depression relapse in those who experience recurrent depression (by 50%; reported in 2000 and 2008 in The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology). Recent research showed that combining MBCT with medication tapering off is just as beneficial as continuing medication at a maintenance level, according to research published in The Lancet in 2015. Additional research has revealed that MBCT is a potentially successful treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.

Should I Choose MBSR or MBCT? Meditation For Sleep And Anxiety

According to the Centre for Mindfulness Studies, MBSR and MBCT are built on the principle of mindful awareness. Participants in all 8-week programs are led through a number of techniques that promote paying attention to events, thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Look at the variations between MBSR and MBCT before deciding which program to use.

Meditations For Anxiety: The Key Differences Between MBSR and MBCT

Does Meditation Help Anxiety? Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction:

  • Designed for all (particularly people who deal with chronic stress)
  • Investigates the benefits of mindfulness for reducing stress and the stress associated with having a chronic condition.
  • Shows many ways to deal with discomfort through mindfulness techniques
  • Encourages you to turn toward pain in order to modify how you feel about suffering.
  • Focuses on being mindful of what is
  • Recommendations for managing stress, improving overall psychological health, and treating anxiety symptoms

Does Meditation Help With Anxiety? Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy: 

  • Intended to stop relapses of depression
  • Investigates the benefits of mindfulness for people who are suffering from depression or anxiety.
  • Uses mindfulness techniques to provide an understanding of the negative mental states related to depression and anxiety
  • Attempts to alter how you feel about suffering by identifying cognitive and emotional patterns.
  • Emphasizes your ability to choose how to handle unfavorable mental states
  • As a supplemental therapy for unipolar depression and an intervention for anxiety symptoms

Meditation To Calm Anxiety: How Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Helps with Anxiety

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a skills-based approach, urges patients to consider, get comfortable with, and refocus the thinking patterns that are causing them problems (cognitive distortions, or what some people refer to as “negative self-talk” or “stinkin’ thinkin'”). To change these ingrained mental patterns, great attention and persistence are necessary. The goal of MBCT is to become more deeply and continuously aware of these ideas and patterns, not to alter or correct the substance of our problematic thoughts. The understanding itself lessens the power of ingrained, harmful thought patterns and narratives.

Similar to MBSR, MBCT is an eight-week program that consists of weekly two-hour classes and a day-long session in the middle. It mixes group conversations, various forms of inquiry and contemplation, take-home assignments, and guided meditations. Zindel Segal explains that repetition and reinforcement—going back to the same places repeatedly—are essential components of the program. “I hope individuals carry that over into daily life beyond the original MBCT program, in both good times and bad,” she adds.

Can Mindfulness Really Help Reduce Anxiety? Anxiety And Stress Meditation

According to a short study done at the University of Waterloo, even 10 minutes of mindfulness practice can help reduce ruminative thought patterns. 82 anxious participants in the study were given a computer assignment to complete, but they were frequently interrupted. They were then divided into two groups, with one listening to a guided meditation for ten minutes and the other to an audiobook. The interruptions continued as participants were then directed back to the computer.

The meditators fared better on the task because they were more successful at maintaining their concentration. Mengran Xu, the principal investigator, and a psychology Ph.D. candidate add, “That was astonishing to me. “Mindfulness meditation encouraged a shift in focus away from their internal thoughts and toward their surroundings. It made it easier for them to keep their attention on the present and avoid getting caught up in their fears.

This study adds to the expanding body of research showing that mindfulness may be a potent ally for those who battle the internal concentration and lingering thoughts associated with anxiety and despair. But, Xu continues, it’s still unclear exactly why it works. “We can make it more effective if we know how.”

He is curious to know. One upcoming study by Xu and colleagues, in which participants practiced mindfulness meditation, muscular relaxation, or listened to an audiobook, has already been completed. In a fictitious stressful circumstance, Xu and his team seek to observe “how each intervention would effect people’s scope of attention, cognition, and problem-solving abilities. Examining if mindfulness training broadens people’s perspectives is the goal.

“Stress is occasionally unavoidable, but it depends on how broad your outlook is. Relaxation and mindfulness meditation can both help people think more critically.

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Guided Meditation Sleep And Anxiety: Free Meditation For Anxiety

A Simple Mindful Meditation For Anxiety

According to Zindel Segal, becoming aware of the feelings that go along with challenging events opens the door to discovering new ways to respond to them at every given time.

The idea of acceptance as a strategy for coping with challenging emotions and mental states frequently escapes people’s grasp. This often comes up in the MBCT groups I’ve facilitated around the fourth or fifth session when members ask, “How can I tolerate this pain?” Alternatively, “I want to feel less of these challenging emotions, not more!”

These responses reveal underlying reasoning that, although resisting or pushing away unfavorable thoughts and emotions can be draining, the tactic has been successful in the past, so why take a chance on adopting a novel and untested tactic?

Instead of explicitly responding to this question in certain circumstances, I find it useful to remind myself of the following three points:

You could experience anxiety about commonplace occurrences like commuting to work or even going to sleep.
Meditation and anxiety: You could experience anxiety about commonplace occurrences like commuting to work or even going to sleep.

1. Meditation For Depression And Anxiety: Allowing negative emotions to exist in our lives—for the moment—does not mean that we’ve chosen not to take action.

The idea of acceptance, as it is used in MBCT, refers to the potential for changing one’s connection to experience. This relationship is characterized by accepting experience and letting it be. Enabling challenging emotions to be in awareness entails recognizing their presence before deciding how to handle them. It necessitates a sincere commitment and calls for a conscious shift in focus. It’s important to note that “allowing” is not the same as being defeated, complacent, or powerless.

2. Morning Meditation For Anxiety: Denying that a negative mindset is taking place is riskier for your mental health.

The alternative to enabling is actually pretty dangerous. Being unwilling to experience unfavorable ideas, feelings, or sensations is frequently the initial step in a mental process that might result in the establishment of automatic, repetitive, and critical thought patterns once again. This is evident when a person says things like, “I’m silly to think this,” or “I should be resilient enough to deal with that.”

On the other hand, this chain reaction of ingrained responses can be changed at the initial link by changing the fundamental attitude toward experience from one of “not wanting” to one of “opening.” “I should be strong enough” changes to “Ah, fear is here” or “Judgment is present” as a result.

3. Anxiety Disorder Meditation: Acceptance helps you work through each unpleasant experience. 

The third is that the MBCT techniques provide practical methods for developing an attitude of “allowing and letting be” when confronted with challenging circumstances. Although we frequently “know” intellectually that it could be beneficial to be more loving, caring, and accepting of ourselves and our feelings, we frequently have little knowledge of how to really carry out this advice. These abilities are unlikely to be created solely via willpower. Instead, they involve working through the body repeatedly over time to become aware of how emotions like worry may manifest as chest tightness or melancholy as shoulder weight.

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Youtube Meditation For Anxiety: Meditation For Anxiety And Sleep

10 Minute Meditation For Anxiety (Youtube Anxiety Meditation)

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5 Minute Meditation For Anxiety (Youtube Guided Meditation Anxiety)

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Anxiety Meditation Youtube

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Youtube Guided Meditation For Anxiety

Best Meditation For Anxiety: Guided Meditation For Stress And Anxiety

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Meditation For Stress And Anxiety

Guided Sleep Meditation Anxiety: Anxiety Meditation Guided

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Christian Anxiety Meditation: Free Guided Meditation For Anxiety

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Guided Meditation For Anxiety And Sleep

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A 30-Minute Meditation For Anxiety And Stress (Meditation Script For Anxiety)

Set aside around 30 minutes for this mindfulness exercise. This exercise can be performed while sitting, standing, or even while lying down. Pick a position that allows you to be relaxed and attentive.

  1. Sleep Meditation For Anxiety: Take a moment to thank yourself for being here—for taking this time to be present, to go inside, into your own life.
  2. Meditation To Relieve Stress And Anxiety: Connect with your mind and body with a mindful check-in: Feeling any sensations, any holdings, any tightness in the body as well as feeling into your mood, feeling into your emotions, and just acknowledging whatever’s being felt and letting be.
  3. Short Meditation For Anxiety: Now very gently, withdrawing the awareness from the mindful check-in, let’s bring our attention to the breath: Being mindful of the breath in the abdomen, expanding on inhalation, and falling on an exhalation. Breathing in and breathing out with awareness.
  4. Sleep Anxiety Meditation: Now gently withdrawing the awareness from breathing, we’ll shift our focus to a body scan. Feeling into this body, into the world of sensations, thoughts, and emotions, and acknowledging whatever is being experienced. Whatever arises in the body, or perhaps at times even in the mind and emotions, acknowledging and letting be.
  5. Best Guided Meditation For Anxiety: Anxiety Guided Meditation: Breath into your whole body. We may notice from time to time tensions, tightness, and achiness, and if we can allow any of these areas to soften, by all means, let that happen. It’s also important to know that if we are unable to soften, our practice informs us to let be. Let whatever sensations ripple and resonate wherever they need to go—the same applies even to our thoughts and emotions, letting them be.
  6. Guided Meditation For Anxiety And Depression: Be kind to any anxious thoughts that arise with a mindful inquiry. As we’re feeling into this body and mind, we may at times continue to experience some anxious thoughts, worries, and fears, and there are times when we can use the practice of mindfulness, inquiry, of investigation to discover potentially the underlying causes of our fears. If it appears that even after practicing the body scan and mindful breathing we’re persisting with some anxious feelings, bringing attention to those feelings themselves now to acknowledge what’s being felt, feeling into the fear.
  7. Guided Meditation Script For Anxiety: Wade into your feelings with compassion and gentleness. Just as we sometimes put our toes into the water to acclimate to the water temperature slowly, part by part. We should very gently dip our toes into feeling fear, just acknowledging what’s there, feeling into the fear with awareness—there’s no need to try to analyze or figure things out, just feeling into the experience of feeling anxious, fearful, worried, and letting be. And whatever arises, equally acknowledging and letting it be, this is how we feel into the heart of fear. Just listening with such compassion. No need to push ourselves more than we can handle but just work with the edges, feeling into the anxiety and acknowledging it. As we learn to be with things as they are, we may discover the underlying causes of our fear and pain.
  8. Meditation For Anxiety And Fear: And now gently withdrawing from the mindful inquiry practice, come back to the breath again. Breathe in and out, feeling in the abdomen and the belly expanding on the inhalation and falling on the exhalation. Breathing in and breathing out, with awareness. Just staying present to each breath, in and out.
  9. Meditation For Social Anxiety: Take a moment to watch your thoughts. Just like we’re watching the breath coming and going, we can even begin watching the very thoughts we think as though we’re watching the clouds flying by in the sky, like sitting at the edge of a river just watching whatever is floating downstream. Beginning to observe the mind and even the thoughts of fear is nothing but passing mental phenomena, like clouds, observing any fearful, anxious thoughts as just mental events that come and go. Observing the mind, thoughts, noticing the ever-changing nature of thoughts, just coming and going. As we become aware of our thoughts and the traps we find ourselves in, we can become free.
  10. Meditation Techniques For Anxiety: And now gently coming back to the breath. Just be mindful, breathing in and breathing out. Now as we begin to end this meditation on working with anxiety let’s take a moment to remember all those that are being challenged with these feelings, all those living with fear, and worry—let us extend our well-wishes of healing, of peace, to all those living in fear. May we take these moments now to thank ourselves for proactively turning into our fears and working with them. As we acclimate ourselves to our fears, may we not be so challenged by them. May all beings, wherever they are, may they be free from fear, and may all beings be at peace.

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The definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

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