Anxiety and Addiction Go Together. 10 Tips to Help
Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT
Anxiety and addiction are co-occurring conditions that many people suffer from. Anxiety, in and of itself, may not be a bad thing. It is the body’s response to real or imagined situations that could cause physical or emotional threats. That means it is normal for everyone to feel anxiety almost regularly, which can help navigate and respond to daily occurring events that may be stressful.
However, anxiety can pose an issue if it interferes with functioning properly at work, in relationships and in your everyday life. Whereas normal anxiety may create nervousness and potential loss of sleep, anxiety disorders can be more severe, leading to panic, excessive sweating, tremors, and severe sleep problems. Chronic anxiety may even lead to persistent health conditions such as gastrointestinal problems, sleep disorders, panic disorders, and a host of other issues.
Anxiety or Addiction - which comes first?
Many people self medicate when they suffer from anxiety, and sometimes they resort to addictive substances in order to calm themselves down. This could eventually lead to dependence on substances, and even substance use disorders.
On the flipside, anxiety may occur as a result of an individual becoming dependent on a substance, and experience anxiety as a withdrawal symptom when they try to quit. Substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and other inhalants and hallucinogens may induce anxiety. Prescription medications such as corticosteroids, thyroid medications, and many antidepressants and mood stabilizers are known to induce anxiety.
Each individual responds differently to different substances, but being aware of the risk factors is helpful in recognizing and avoiding them.
Managing Anxiety Without Substances
Managing anxiety without substances involves adopting healthy lifestyle practices, coping strategies, and mindset shifts. Here are ten strong tips to help you manage anxiety without relying on substances:
- Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, or yoga. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters and stress relievers.
Mindfulness and Meditation:
- Practice mindfulness and meditation to bring awareness to the present moment. Mindful breathing and meditation techniques can help calm the mind and reduce anxiety.
Healthy Sleep Habits:
- Prioritize a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine. Quality sleep is crucial for mental health and can significantly impact anxiety levels.
- Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. Avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and processed foods, as they can contribute to increased anxiety. Focus on whole foods that support overall well-being.
Stress Management Techniques:
- Learn and practice stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery. These techniques can help relax the body and mind.
- Set healthy boundaries in both personal and professional relationships. Learn to say no when necessary and prioritize self-care to prevent overwhelming stress.
- Incorporate positive affirmations into your daily routine. Replace negative thoughts with affirmations that promote self-confidence and a positive mindset.
- Keep a journal to express your thoughts and feelings. Writing can be a therapeutic outlet and a way to gain insight into patterns that may contribute to anxiety.
- Develop effective time management skills to reduce feelings of overwhelm. Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps and prioritize them based on importance.
- Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for support. Talking about your feelings and concerns can provide validation and helpful perspectives.
Remember that managing anxiety is a personalized journey, and it’s essential to explore what works best for you. Combining several of these strategies and consistently practicing them over time can contribute to better anxiety management without relying on substances. If anxiety persists or becomes overwhelming, consider seeking professional guidance for tailored support and coping strategies.
Treating Anxiety and Addiction
If you are suffering from severe anxiety and also addiction, seek a therapist who can provide dual diagnosis for co-occurring disorders. There are several kinds of anxiety disorders, and many types of substances that induce anxiety, so treating them together can help address the root causes for both. An experienced therapist can come up with an individualized treatment plan so that triggers can be identified, patterns can be monitored, goals can be tracked, with the end result that an individual can learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with both anxiety and addiction.
We specialize in dual diagnosis, addiction treatment and mental health treatment, so that we can help our clients recover for the long term, and be able to live a healthy life. We offer the latest evidence based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Enhancement and Interviewing and several others, as necessary. We also offer alternative treatment approaches such as adventure therapy and holistic practices. This range of treatment techniques allows people to take part in their own recovery and gives them a chance to process their physical and emotional changes in ways that can help them live a self-directed, confident life.
Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!
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If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390