Woman with anxiety

Anxiety can be difficult to manage during addiction recovery, especially if it stems from an underlying mental illness that’s co-occurring with substance use disorder, or SUD. Whether your anxiety was present before addiction began, or it was developed during, treating the root problem is the only way to overcome it.

Proper addiction treatment will help with a dual-diagnosis where anxiety is present alongside addiction, tackling both issues at their source. Typically, those with an anxiety condition start using drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. Over time, their substance abuse creates dependencies that come with potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if consumption is stopped.

What’s worse is that ending substance use also makes anxiety worse compared to before substance abuse began. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of ways you can manage anxiety on your own without drugs or alcohol.

It’s All About Taking Care of Yourself

Therapy is truly the best tool for relieving anxiety, but not everyone has the same access to a mental health professional or they may need a little extra help outside of office hours. In order to tackle your own anxiety, you need to understand that what you’re feeling is involuntary. It’s not a matter of will power, but instead a matter of knowing what mechanisms to deploy in order to relax your body.

Start With Deep Breaths

You’ve likely heard this before, and it’s for a good reason! Anxiety or panic attacks come with increased heart rate even if you’re sitting or standing completely still. As the brain starts to get more and more anxious, your body responds in a similar manner.

When you take slow, deep breaths, you’re actually calming your mind through the parasympathetic nervous system which cancels out the panic response initially felt. It only takes a few minutes of mindful breathing to start winding down a bout of anxiety.

Stay Present in the Moment

Also referred to as being grounded, being present is all about maintaining awareness of your current situation. It’s extremely easy to spiral into a hole of intrusive and destructive thoughts when your anxiety spikes. One way to do this is to have a small item that you can hold and focus on when you start feeling overwhelmed.

Another option is to take a minute and examine your surroundings. What do you see, smell, hear, feel, and taste? This practice helps you stay present and gives you a better sense of what’s going on around you, ultimately making you feel more comfortable wherever you are.

Go Out and Exercise

If you’ve struggled with anxiety or ADHD, then you understand how important it is to exhaust both the mind and body. Too much unspent energy can quickly feed into anxiety attacks that make it impossible to enjoy your regular hobbies and social groups.

You don’t have to start a new fitness journey or join a gym, simply start with a walk each day and increase how far you go as you can. A healthy diet and proper sleep schedule is key to maximizing exercise’s benefits so stay away from the sugar and try to get around 8 hours of sleep in a dark, quiet room each night.

Get Help With Your Recovery

Tackling addiction is rarely done alone, and starting recovery without medical supervision can cause even more damage. To bring the right support to those who need it, America’s Rehab Campus offers individualized treatment at our world-class facility. To get started, you can verify your insurance online to see what treatment would cost or simply reach out to our intake specialists instead. No matter what your needs are, ARC is here to help.