If you find that you’re having a hard time in your recovery, perhaps exploring any underlying psychological concerns might be useful. It’s very common for anxiety and depression to exist for someone and the illness to go entirely untreated. It’s also very common for recovering addicts to experience anxiety and depression without really knowing it. They may be so used to feeling discomfort or stress that they may believe it’s a part of everyday life.
Symptoms of Anxiety
It’s only when recovering addicts begin to receive services from a mental health provider that symptoms might be pointed out to them. One of the more common psychological disorders, along with depression, is anxiety. In fact, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a diagnosis given to those who experience excessive and irrational worry for at least six months. Excessive and irrational worry is not the kind of stress you might feel before a deadline at work or the tension you might feel when going on a date with someone new. Instead, excessive anxiety is often persistent and seems to come on without an associated trigger. Its symptoms, such as a racing heart, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, shaking, sweating palms, and feeling hot, might suddenly come out of nowhere. As you can imagine, an anxiety disorder can interfere with the ability to function at work, have healthy friendships, and usually consists of extreme worry even for everyday matters.
Of course, anxiety can also disrupt the progress you’re making in recovery. You might have disturbing thoughts. You might have such an excess of anxiety that you begin to think about using again. In the past, you might have used drugs or alcohol as a means for managing your anxiety. So, if you’re still struggling with anxiety, then cravings for using again might certainly show up! This is precisely what can lead to relapses and really never overcoming an addiction.
Anxiety Is Treatable
However, you should know that anxiety is treatable! The first step would be to contact a mental health provider. He or she can assess you for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or other disorders related to anxiety. These might include Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Phobias.
Once a therapist, psychologist or counselor makes the determination that you have an anxiety-related psychological illness, then he or she can begin to treat the illness. Typically, anxiety is treated with some form of medication to relieve you of the symptoms as well as therapy to address the underlying issues. Types of medication for anxiety include anti-anxiety medication, such as benzodiazepines. They include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin. The risk with Benzodiazepines, however, is that they are highly addictive and have severe withdrawal symptoms. Of course, those who take psychotropic medication, whether anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, should be closely monitored especially at the beginning of treatment. Another form of medication used to treat teen anxiety is antidepressants. These drugs can be used to treat both depression, as well as anxiety disorders.
It’s important to know that anxiety does not need to interfere with the progress you may be making in your recovery! If you’re already sober and if you successfully moved through detox and now attempting to stay sober, anxiety should not have to get in the way of that.
With therapy and medication, anxiety can be treated and then you can move on to focusing on what’s just as important – your sobriety, well-being, and psychological health!