Many universal feelings and mental illnesses recur among many different addicts, such as depression, shame, guilt, and anger. Every addict experiences these struggles differently, however. For some, their feelings of depression trigger the addiction, while for others the addiction triggers depression. One of the most common emotions and mental disorders addicts experience is anxiety.
Anxiety comes in many different forms—General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), PTSD, social anxiety, panic disorders, OCD, and even various phobias. When individuals are dealing with an addiction, any of these forms of anxiety can take hold and begin to dominate an addict’s life. But why does there exist such a strong connection between anxiety and addiction, and why is it so widespread?
If you are an addict and struggle significantly with anxiety, know that you are far from alone. Not only is it universal to deal with anxiety, there exists a greater link between mental illnesses and substance abuse.
The Link of Anxiety and Addiction
The collective feeling of anxiety among addicts is not simply a coincidence, but in fact, has a scientific link. For the millions that battle with severe mental disorders, nearly 50 percent of them struggle with substance abuse disorder. This includes anxiety disorders, which every 1 in 13 people worldwide experience.
Anxiety is a crippling feeling that freezes many people in fear of the unknown and fills the mind with uncertainties. Because of this, it is understandable for addicts to be hesitant about recovery and its many methods in rehabilitation. Nevertheless, an anxious person’s outlook and viewpoint are what can make all the difference in recovery.
Coping with Anxiety
The core problem of anxiety is the intense focus on the unknown and lack of control in most situations. Therefore, rather than focusing on what cannot be controlled, apply a greater focus on a positive outlook. Many people begin to abuse drugs and alcohol because of various worries, such as being unable to pay bills, finding a job, or a home. Their substance abuse becomes an unhealthy outlet and means to cope by utilizing substances to shut out these worries.
Conversely, focus on seeing yourself successful as opposed to worrying about your failures. Instead, maintain a positive attitude and continue reassuring yourself that everything will work out.
Realistically, forcing positive thoughts does not work for everyone and takes practice to utilize in your everyday life. When positive mindsets struggle to benefit you, instead consider and seek a source of comfort. This can be an activity or a person you trust to help you cope and relax in particularly stressful moments. By adjusting and building a support system for yourself, you handle your anxieties and stress with substance abuse easier.
For people who struggle with both addiction and anxiety, it is crucial to seek dual diagnosis treatment. If addiction is treated but not anxiety, you leave the chance for relapse open. Moreover, consider seeking inpatient methods such as treatment programs with professionals, working with groups, or working with family.
Through seeking treatment and building support systems, you can not only treat your addiction but the anxiety feeding into it.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a 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.