Early in the substance addiction recovery journey, individuals often feel profoundly stressed. While addiction to drugs or alcohol does often lead to mental health disturbances involving anxiety and depression, the recovery journey can also be fraught with mental health problems like anxiety. According to addiction specialists, anxiety in early recovery is commonplace, but knowing that other sufferers share this condition certainly doesn’t make it easier. Even so, with tips and coping techniques, recovering addiction sufferers can enhance their recovery process and help prevent negative emotions and mental health disturbances from derailing their commitment to sober living.
Why Is Early Recovery Linked to Anxiety?
Transitioning from chemical dependency to sobriety frequently produces anxiety just as many major life changes can produce. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for recovering addiction sufferers in the early stages of recovery to feel that their anxiety is nearly insurmountable. Aside from the upheaval that change can bring to an individual, addiction is particularly associated with anxiety and depression owing to the chemical changes that the drug or alcohol has wrought within the brain’s chemistry. In some cases, the sufferer may have dealt with anxiety before the addiction set in and tried to alleviate its symptoms by using drugs or alcohol. However, in the early recovery stages, an individual is especially susceptible to mental disturbances like anxiety and may need a wide array of tips and techniques for dealing with stress in anxiety.
Clinical anxiety is a treatable condition. Addiction specialists often evaluate and treat recovering addiction sufferers for anxiety and other conditions like depression. Like any mental illness, anxiety should be evaluated. Mild cases may not require medication, but serious cases can definitely be helped with anti-anxiety medications that are non-addictive and anti-depressants. It’s not a good idea for a recovering addiction sufferer to refrain from getting help. Early in the recovery process, the more support the better. Getting a medical evaluation is vital for helping any individual overcome or manage their anxiety. Early sobriety anxiety may be common, but it’s also common to see a healthcare provider for its treatment.
Other Tips for Dealing with Anxiety in Early Recovery
Medication isn’t the only way to manage anxiety; although, for some sufferers it may be the best way. Some individuals are able to cope with anxiety in early recovery without medications and some find that using medication and a variety of coping techniques is best for them. Exercise is one of the best natural methods for alleviating anxiety. During exercise, the brain releases feel-good endorphins that not only make you muscles feel good, but can enhance your mood too. Depending on your physical health level, you may want to simply ease into a walking routine. Find walking paths around your neighborhood or walk in a park. If your health permits, you might engage in other types of exercise that support your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Yoga is exercise but it is also an activity that supports mindfulness. By learning yoga techniques, anxiety sufferers can find new ways to cope with their negative thoughts or racing thoughts. Many people coping with anxiety in early recovery have turned to yoga with positive results. In fact, many addiction recovery centers include yoga as an alternative treatment for addiction sufferers.
If you are coping with anxiety in early recovery, be sure to discuss it with your counselor or healthcare provider. Mental illnesses and disturbances should not be ignored. Recovering addiction sufferers cannot afford to ignore them because their presence could lead to relapse. Early sobriety anxiety can be treated and can be overcome. Keep this tips in mind when you are dealing with stress in sobriety.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.