Anxiety is a normal part of the human condition, and it can be especially prevalent during times of stress or change.
For those in recovery from substance abuse, anxiety can be a common symptom as they adjust to life without drugs or alcohol.
While some anxious feelings are to be expected, there are things that can be done to help manage anxiety and keep it from becoming overwhelming.
This post will go over some of the best tips you can use if you’re dealing with anxiety while in recovery.
But First, What is the link between substance abuse and anxiety?
Substance-induced anxiety is anxiety that’s caused by using drugs or alcohol, or from withdrawal symptoms after quitting. It can also be caused by side effects from medication used to treat substance abuse.
Anxiety caused by substance use disorder is different from the everyday anxiety most people experience.
Substance-induced anxiety is often more severe and longer-lasting, and it can interfere with your ability to function in day-to-day life.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, it’s important to talk to your doctor or mental health professional to get help.
How Do You Know if You Have Substance Abuse Based Anxiety?
There are some key signs and symptoms that can help you determine if your anxiety is being caused by substance abuse.
If you’re experiencing any of the following, it’s important to reach out for help:
- Feeling anxious all the time, even when there’s nothing to worry about
- Drug or alcohol cravings
- Panic attacks
- Social anxiety disorder
- Random moments that make anxiety worse without an explanation
- Difficulty concentrating
- PTSD symptoms
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Nervousness or jitteriness
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle tension
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Trying to self medicate
These symptoms might appear whenever you try to stop using illicit drugs or try to stop substance abuse in general.
Substance abuse disorders run deeper than just the substance abuse, they can manifest in physical anxiety symptoms that may even cause functional impairments if they aren’t treated.
5 Key Tips for Dealing with Anxiety in Recovery
Although it might feel as if your anxiety has control over you and your recovery, there are many things you can do to lessen the anxious feelings. Below are the top 5 ways you can deal with anxiety while you’re in recovery.
1) Don’t try to treat your anxiety disorder
The first and most important thing to do when you’re feeling anxious is to reach out for help. Trying to deal with an anxiety disorder on your own can make it worse, so it’s important to have a support system in place.
Talk to your doctor or therapist about what you’re feeling and ask for help in developing a plan to manage your anxiety while you’re trying to get clean from a substance abuse disorder.
It can also be helpful to talk to friends or family members who are supportive and understanding.
Just knowing that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling can make a big difference.
Group therapy, family therapy, support groups, and other forms of support can make anxiety disorders feel a lot less severe.
2) Get regular exercise
Exercising is an excellent method to get rid of worry and anxiety. It helps to release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
Exercise can also help to improve sleep, which can be helpful in managing anxiety.
Even moderate exercise can make a big difference, so try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day if you can.
3) Eat a healthy diet
Your anxiety levels can also be influenced by what you consume. Eating a diet high in processed foods and sugar may exacerbate your condition.
Instead, focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Getting enough protein is also important, as it can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
4) Practice relaxation techniques to help anxiety disorders
There are several relaxation techniques that can be helpful in managing anxiety or mood disorder.
These include things like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation.
Practicing these techniques regularly can help to reduce stress and improve your overall sense of well-being.
5) Address Other Mental Disorders
If you have an anxiety disorder, it’s also important to address any other mental illness that might be present.
You may have mental disorders like panic disorder, general substance induced anxiety disorder, or other co occurring disorders that might get in the way of you getting better.
Things like depression and PTSD can make anxiety worse. With that, you will be able to get your treatment options narrowed down.
Someone with post traumatic stress disorder will need a completely different type of help than someone looking to just treat anxiety.
On the other hand, someone wanting to treat depression while seeking addiction treatment will need a separate type of treatment compared to those that are just dealing with one problem and can get better with exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy alone.
Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder — The Bottom Line
Dealing with an anxiety disorder in recovery can be difficult, but it’s important to seek out help if you’re struggling. There are many resources available to help you manage your anxiety and get on the path to recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse disorder and an anxiety disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out and seek treatment.
There are several healthcare providers like long beach sober living and many others all around the world that help people with anxiety problems. With the right care, you can get to a point where your physical health and mental health do as well as possible.