When you’re recovering from drug or alcohol abuse, anxiety can quickly rear its ugly head. When it does, it can be challenging to know how to cope—especially when you’ve been conditioned for so long to rely on alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism.
Thankfully, with the right tools and some support from your counselors at Baystate Recovery Center, you can find new ways to cope with stressors in your life, including anxiety in recovery.
Why Does Anxiety Occur in Addiction and Recovery?
Addiction and mental health disorders like anxiety often occur together. Several studies in the United States over multiple decades indicated that alcohol use disorder and anxiety co-occurred as much as three times as often as just one of those conditions occurring alone.
While health research professionals have presented several theories, there’s no clear indication of why these conditions occur together so frequently. One thought is that those with anxiety tend to self-medicate, leading to addiction problems, while another is that substance abuse induces anxiety. Once you enter recovery and remove the alcohol or drug from your life, the anxiety tends to remain.
Regardless of why you’re feeling anxious in recovery, the tips below can help you manage it and come out of recovery feeling hopeful about the future.
Talk Through Your Anxiety
Uncovering the root cause of your fears is the first step in overcoming them. Discuss your anxiety with your counselor, who can help you determine if something specific triggers it, such as returning to social situations without drugs or alcohol, or if you might be battling a generalized anxiety disorder. In this case, ongoing treatment may be necessary.
Write in a Journal
Sometimes getting your thoughts down on paper can be the best way to sort them out. If you’re feeling anxious in recovery, find a quiet space and write down what you’re feeling and why you think you might be feeling it.
According to research published by Harvard Health, exercising has the potential to relieve feelings of anxiousness. It reduces muscle tension and heart rate, increasing the availability of neurochemicals that regulate mood.
Meditation has become widely accepted in treating anxiety and other mental health disorders. It helps calm your mind by drawing your focus to your breath, enabling you to reduce symptoms and feel more relaxed.
Getting Help for Addiction and Anxiety
At Baystate Recovery Center, we specialize in providing dual diagnosis treatment for anxiety that co-occurs alongside drug or alcohol addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and anxiety, reach out today to get help.