anxiety in addiction recovery

Dealing with Anxiety in Addiction Recovery

This entry was posted on by .

Anxiety in addiction recovery is much more common than people think. Being in a new environment, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, is enough to make anyone anxious. Dealing with anxiety in addiction can be one of the biggest hurdles people face when recovering from a substance use disorder. Learning how best to cope with feelings of anxiousness or stress is key to making your recovery journey as painless as possible. By arming yourself with knowledge and surrounding yourself with a proper system of support, you increase the likelihood of a successful, lasting recovery. 

What is Anxiety? 

By definition, anxiety is an intense, excessive, and persistent worry or fear about everyday situations. Anxiety affects us all in one way or another. It is completely natural to feel anxiety at times.

Statistically speaking, anxiety and anxiety disorder affect roughly half of all Americans. As a result, anxiety and anxiety disorder are nothing to be ashamed of. 

In order to cope with anxiety—especially in reference to addiction-related anxiety—you must face your emotions head on. You can accomplish this most effectively with a proper support system. Dealing with anxiety in addiction recovery is easier when surrounded by the right people. An appropriate support system can mean the difference between a successful recovery and tragedy.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of anxiety can help one better identify anxiety, both in themselves and in their loved ones. Once you identify an anxiety disorder, the healing and treatment process can begin. Signs and symptoms of anxiety include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping problems
  • Restlessness
  • Unexplained pains
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches

This list is not exhaustive. Also, it should be noted that not every person will express their anxiety the same way.

The Link Between Anxiety and Substance Abuse

In recent years, it’s been accepted that substance abuse of any kind can worsen the symptoms of anxiety. While all drugs have unique properties and effects, most of them share the outcome of increasing the level of anxiety in users. This is due to a variety of reasons. Drugs and alcohol affect the chemical makeup of both the body and the brain. When the chemical makeup of either the body or the brain is altered, it triggers the brain’s stress response, which results in increased anxiety.

Co-occurring anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorder are more common than many people think. The co-occurrence of these disorders can produce devastating effects, as the disorders often play off of one another. For example, a person with an anxiety disorder who uses marijuana as a means to quell their anxiety can become addicted. As a result, their anxiety worsens, producing the co-occurring disorders of anxiety and substance use disorder. When this happens, it’s time to consider dual diagnosis treatment.

Many people use drugs to help them cope with their anxiety. However, drug and alcohol abuse not only produce their own anxiety, they make any preexisting anxiety worse. What’s more, some people who were once totally free of anxiety develop a disorder after abusing drugs.

Coping Strategies for Anxiety in Addiction Recovery

When coping with anxiety in addiction recovery, there are some key factors to keep in mind. First, know you are not alone. Thousands of Americans share this burden and are actively working to deal with it. With a proper system of support, coping with anxiety is made easier. Having around you caring and compassionate people with your best interests at heart makes all the difference in the world. And researching your chosen method of recovery also helps put worries to rest, as knowledge about the process can make people feel more comfortable. 

Find Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction

Effective treatment can reduce and even eradicate much of the damage done by addiction. Treating your anxiety and/or addiction is a brave decision that will have lasting and positive impacts on your life. Choosing the proper system of support, as well as a licensed detox program, can make all the difference, since it is easier to go through recovery when supportive people have got your back. Meanwhile, solo withdrawal is not recommended, as it can be extremely dangerous, and more often than not leads back to relapse.

Seek Help for Anxiety and Addiction Recovery in Los Angeles

Here at Ocean Hills Recovery, we are ready to help you in your personal recovery journey. With locations throughout Orange County and Los Angeles, we are Southern California’s top addiction treatment center. Our professional and compassionate staff are waiting to give you the tools necessary to reclaim your independence from addiction. We provide a relaxing, family friendly environment conducive to healing and free of the triggers that can cause relapse. There has never been a better time to reclaim your freedom from dependency. Contact us today to take the first step in your individual recovery journey.

About the author: