Anxiety is the most common type of mental health issue around the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty and anxiety have affected everyone. For people in recovery from addiction, it is crucial to observe your state of mind and stop anxiety in its tracks before it causes your recovery journey to backslide. When you feel overwhelmed by a craving to turn back to drugs and alcohol, your anxiety level might rise sharply. It is important to know how to detect these signs and get help from health professionals during treatment.
Symptoms of Severe Anxiety
If you have gone through early recovery by now, you have earned how to avoid relapse triggers, but anxiety disorders may be the most difficult trigger to deal with. Such disorders present differently from average feelings of worry and nervousness. Anxiety causes a kind of irrational fear even when you’re not in crisis which begets more stress and fear. The most intense instances are known as “anxiety attacks,” when your body physically experiences dramatic changes such as an accelerated heartbeat or shortness of breath. Severe anxiety disorders, if untreated, can become debilitating.
The National Institute on Mental Health describes seven key symptoms of general anxiety disorder: irritable mood, muscle tension, regular fatigue, restlessness, difficulty focusing, inability to control worries, and sleep issues. If you or your loved one has been experiencing these symptoms regularly for six months or more, that might be a sign of chronic anxiety disorder. For people in this situation, it can be very tempting to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of self-medicating. Beware, though: substance use will only make these symptoms worse. Acknowledge this risky mindset and seek professional help. Experienced therapists can teach you how to listen to your body and adjust accordingly to help avoid serious anxiety flare-ups.
Learn to Listen to Anxiety
When severe anxiety symptoms interfere with your recovery progress, take some time time to stop and listen rationally to those anxious thoughts. Know that you may need to work with a behavioral health expert to learn how to react to the anxiety symptoms of your body. These experts are experienced and licensed to diagnose the short- and long-term causes and effects of anxiety. Among many therapy plans, experts concur that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is effective in diagnosing and reducing anxiety disorders. If your anxiety disorder interferes with your life regularly, health professionals might prescribe medication to ease the symptoms.
There are also many tested therapies to give you relief from anxiety. Sensory therapy can help treat anxiety disorders that are rooted in trauma. Small group counseling (such as a 12-step group) can provide a safe and nurturing environment for you to speak with confidence and listen to others share similar experiences. Realizing that you are not alone and that help is around you can be a great relief. All these therapy methods will encourage you to practice effective self-care, an important part of your toolbox for long-term recovery.
Self-Care Is More Than Self-Doting
Although the term “self-care” has arguably been overused in mental health circles, many people still overlook it. Self-care is more than taking a long bath or treating yourself to something new. Self-care may look different for everyone because everyone emotionally recharges differently. Choose something you enjoy that also has healthy mood-boosting elements. For some, it may be visiting an art museum by oneself. Others might consider taking a break from work and go fishing for a day.
In addition to these things, you have been longing to do and enjoy, try exploring new and healthy self-care activities, such as mindful meditation. Perhaps you might download a free meditation app and give yourself a full 20 minutes. Taking the time to connect with yourself is nourishing to the body and the mind. During recovery, self-care is about learning to detect the warning signs of anxiety and shift gear to something uplifting.
While at your treatment center, try music or art therapy or yoga or mindfulness exercises. Staff and therapists there can walk alongside you to make sure that you learn how to build these practices into your long-term recovery plan. When your self-care strategies grow organically to meet your mental health needs, there is a greater chance that you can put anxiety to rest. Of course, there is no way to completely rid yourself of anxiety, because it can be clinical and can appear more heavily when you face difficult situations. The good news is, you can become experienced in recognizing anxieties, early warning signs and implementing self-care strategies.
Ready to put your anxiety disorder to rest? We are here to help. If you are looking to learn self-care strategies, we can confidently meet your need. Laguna Shores Recovery aims to improve the quality of life for people who struggle with substance use or mental health disorders such as anxiety. We know just how disruptive unchecked anxiety can be — it may steal your sense of control, undermine your confidence, and trigger your cravings. Luckily, we have programs to help you combat anxiety disorders. At Laguna Shores Recovery, we are known for our cognitive and behavioral therapies, family relationship programs, and 12-step groups. We believe in a holistic approach to sustainable recovery, and our staff is experienced in coaching and supporting you. Our facility is also a complete medical and pet-friendly treatment center. We would love to help you in your recovery process. Call us at (866) 229-9923, and our therapists will be happy to talk with you.