There are a number of common fears many patients feel when enrolling in recovery. Fear, shame, anger, and helplessness are just a few of the many emotions that drug addicts frequently feel. However, one of the most common and troubling feelings that patients struggle with is anxiety.
Anxiety places people in a stressful and hasty mindset with unbearable pressure to improve and perform better. Even worse, however, anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in America. Not only do over 40 million adults struggle with an anxiety disorder, but not even 50 percent of people seek treatment.
Many drug addicts deal with anxiety in some form and almost always address it in recovery. Scientific studies have shown that anxiety and addiction have common links, meaning treating both is crucial to attaining sobriety.
The Link Between Substance Abuse and Anxiety
Scientists have discovered that many people with anxiety disorders also have a tendency to abuse drugs and alcohol, but why? There are a number of different anxiety disorders, and addicts typically abuse these drugs to mitigate symptoms of anxiety.
For example, people who struggle with social anxiety may be more relaxed and casual under the influence of drugs. Victims with general anxiety disorders are able to shut out otherwise invasive or obsessive thoughts. Sometimes, anxiety can lead to more serious health problems such as insomnia which people use drugs to help self-medicate.
Due to this common link, rehabilitation serves not only to help break an addiction but also teach how to deal with anxiety on a daily basis. With therapy, addicts can express their worries vocally and openly as opposed to letting them fester in the mind.
Methods of Therapy
The most common and fundamental method of therapy among addicts is group therapy—working and discussing feelings with other addicts. With a willingness to open up to others and express feelings, this can relieve a lot of tension caused by anxiety. Additionally, addicts can feel some sense of relief knowing they are not alone in their struggles.
Other patients, however, might struggle to work with too many other people and require one-on-one work with a professional. With individual therapy, patients can focus on not only substance abuse but other personal issues including anxiety. Working personally with a therapist may also give an addict extra attention they need.
For those who fight both drug addiction and anxiety disorder however, one of the best options may be a dual-diagnosis treatment. This means a rehab center will focus on treating both addiction and mental illnesses simultaneously. Because the two closely relate, patients need to treat both conditions, with anxiety being the highest priority.
Medicating and Controlling Anxiety
Prescribing medication is tricky business with addicts, especially when not monitored properly. Former addicts are prone to becoming addicted to other drugs, meaning providing more medications so soon can be risky. Nevertheless, there are numerous medications that subdue anxiety, with many rehabilitation centers providing psychiatrists who specialize in prescribing them.
Anti-depressants are also known to reduce anxiety, as well as sleep aids—both natural and medicated. Throughout therapy, addicts will be taught and introduced practices that can help ease anxiety on their own. By nipping the bud with anxiety, patients can manage better control of their addictive tendencies in the future as well as improve their lifestyles overall.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact Discovery Place’s Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.