For many, anxiety is a real demon which lurks within the corners of each new day. And, for those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, handling anxiety may be a driving cause for the development of addiction. Because anxiety and addiction frequently go hand in hand, it’s important to work on ways to address and manage anxiety in treatment for addiction. This way, individuals don’t backslide in recovery when faced with anxiety.
Handling Anxiety May be a Relapse Trigger
A population study performed by the National Institutes of Health “examined lifetime exposure to stressors and the impact of cumulative adversity on addiction vulnerability after accounting for a number of control factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, prior drug abuse, prevalence of psychiatric disorders, family history of substance use, and behavioral and conduct problems”. Essentially, the goal of the study was to determine who would be more at risk for developing addiction based on experienced stress. According to the study, “the findings indicate that the cumulative number of stressful events was significantly predictive of alcohol and drug dependence in a dose-dependent manner, even after accounting for control factors”. So, it’s not uncommon that those who are handling anxiety may be more prone to developing an addiction based on self-management of said anxiety by potent substances.
Handling Anxiety in Recovery
An individual who has developed addiction because of self-medication of anxiety or stress will need to know a few ways to deal with stress in early recovery. High levels of anxiety or stress are triggers for these individuals. This means that they are prone to relapse when experiencing high stress levels in the days of early recovery. Fortunately, there are a few ways to deal with stress and anxiety in recovery so that relapse can be prevented and successful recovery can be maintained.
Ways of Handling Anxiety in Drug or Alcohol Recovery
Meditation: Holistic methods are often utilized throughout addiction treatment because they are helpful in reducing stress levels and working on acceptance. Meditation may be a simple exercise, but many truly experience freedom from anxiety and stress as a result of participating in this ancient practice.
Exercise: While it’s important for everyone to get their weekly exercise, it’s even more important for the recovering individuals who concurrently deal with high-stress levels and anxiety. Exercise is proven to help manage and improve mood because when we exercise, our bodies release endorphins and brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. All of these are proven to help us regulate emotion, manage moods, and decrease stress levels so that our minds can remain healthy. Remember, exercise doesn’t always have to mean running a marathon or lifting dead weights. It can be something as simple as walking around your neighborhood every evening!
Eating Right: Nourishment is severely overlooked by many when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. But, as the saying goes, we are what we eat. If you’re not putting nourishment into your body that can be used to convert into useful energy, what you’re putting into your body may cause negative reactions. These reactions can even include feelings of anxiety and stress. So, make sure to choose a diet high in nutrition your body can use for fuel like vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains, and natural fats.
Learn More about Handling Anxiety in Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Unfortunately, many individuals with generalized anxiety disorder or who have experienced high-stress or traumatic situations feel that they can never live without their drug of choice. But, there are other ways to manage trauma, stress, and anxiety without living in active addiction. If you’re ready to find other ways to handle your stress and live free from addiction, there is help available to you today at Simple Path Recovery. To speak with us about how we can help through our programs for addiction, give us a call today at 855-467-3625. Our compassionate staff will be more than willing to help you determine the best plan of action according to your own needs!