Obsessive Safety Thinking–Anxiety

Obsessive safety thinking is what the anxious mind is all about. Anxiety is our natural danger alarm, telling us to be careful and be alert because we are threatened somehow, but obsession is something else entirely. Obsession is a mental quirk, a repetition that keeps us bound in its process to no productive end. Obsessive thinking about safety doesn’t increase our well-being.  When we have excessive ‘alarms’ and an excessive need to be cautious and aware, we can’t discern real threat and danger from imagined threat and danger.  Obsessive worry is an ingredient of problematic anxiety that interferes with heatlhy functioning in everyday life. It can impact us across a range of negative effects and can even be severely debilitating.

Substance Use and Anxiety

Substance use is closely tied to anxiety. In fact, anxiety and substance use have high rates of co-occurrence. This is true among people who seek treatment and within the general population as well. Anxiety Disorders are considered the most common psychiatric issues in the U.S.

Substance use may play a role in the life of a clinically anxious person in various ways. People may attempt to self-medicate troublesome anxiety with substance use, for example. When things become stressful, it can be very easy to reach for a drink or to take a pill, for instance. In fact, psychiatric medications for anxiety are among the most prescribed medications in psychiatry. Also, another common correlation between substances and anxiety is that prolonged use of substances can cause anxiety. A vicious cycle can be established in which anxiety leads to self-medication, and self-medication causes more anxiety, leading to more self-medication…

The Clinical Symptoms of Anxiety

There are several types of Anxiety Disorders, but overall, they involve the following symptoms:

  • Excessive anxiety and worry that occurs more days than not for at least 6 months
  • The anxiety and worry are difficult to control and is experienced as problematic
  • 3 or more of the following are experienced most days over a 6 month period:
    • feeling on edge or ‘keyed up’
    • being easily fatigued
    • having difficulty concentrating
    • irritability
    • muscle tension
    • sleep disturbances

The above symptoms must cause significant distress or impairment in important life realms such as functioning at home, school, or work. Typically, problematic anxiety interferes with the fulfillment of obligations and roles such as household responsibilities and parenting. It can also interfere with full participation in family and social relationships as well as in community activities. Job-related or academic performance is likely to decline as well when anxiety becomes problematic.