It’s not unusual for many addicts or alcoholics in recovery to feel anxiety. Anxiety is often described as a looming sense of dread that is not necessarily linked to any actual event. It’s different from feeling nervous about an exam or social event. Panic attacks can be paralysing and these heightened emotions and fear can often trigger a relapse.
Chronic anxiety is often associated with trauma and unresolved trauma is often the root of substance abuse disorders. So how do you cope with anxiety?
From the many patients Recovery Direct has treated, many present with co-morbid conditions in addition to problems with substances and alcohol. Treating only the destructive behaviour and habits associated with abuse does not always result in long-term recovery.
Many addicts will relapse; thus, a continuum of aftercare is vital to holistic treatment. Our trained staff and trauma counsellors are there to make sure help is always on hand. We offer on-going support through our outpatient and aftercare programme.
What causes or triggers anxiety?
A fear driven response is often caused by stressful events. This can be either environmental, stress in a personal relationship or death, illness, a financial crisis and the list goes on and on. Traumatic events such as abuse, death, exposure to violence or prolonged stress can cause just as much damage and it takes a trained psychiatric or trauma counsellor to assist in releasing these painful, frightening and overwhelming emotions.
So what can I do to minimise my anxiety?
Remember, each one of these tips will require practice and patience so don’t be to hard on yourself.
- Try mindful mediation.
Learn to recognise and identify your feelings. By learning to name them, you become more self-aware and better able to take action.
- Get active
Any form of physical activity will make you feel better. Choose an activity that you like. You don’t have to become a tri – athlete, a simple walk with the dog in a park will take your mind off your worries.
- Accept that you won’t always be able to control every situation
Wanting to be constantly in control and being a perfectionist is just one way of coping with fear of the unknown, which can trigger anxiety. Life happens, go with the flow.
- Social situations
If you are in recovery, associating with old friends and places can be daunting. It’s dangerous because it can trigger a relapse but the alternative of isolating oneself is equally negative. This is an opportunity to break the cycle and start new hobbies and meet other people.
- Give yourself enough time
Always give yourself just a little extra time to complete a task. Rushing from one task or activity to another is exhausting. Allow some time to savour just being and actively engaged.
Lastly, anxiety often goes hand in hand with depression. It’s important to speak to a trained professional who understands how to treat depression and anxiety in relation to substance abuse.