If you have started residential addiction treatment after detox, anxiety has likely become an unwanted but unshakeable companion. You may have hoped that early sobriety would bring more peace and stability. Instead, you feel more anxious, restless, and edgy. When you feel this way, pause and breathe. Know that you are not alone since anxiety is a common problem for people recovering from substance use disorder (SUD).
Where Does Anxiety Come From?
Even among the general population, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the U.S. Anxiety involves feelings of dread, stress, and exhaustion. You may even develop physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, headaches, and insomnia.
For people with a dependency on substances, early sobriety may bring on withdrawal symptoms and an increase in anxiety. This is mainly because your body and mind are adjusting to a biological environment without substances. Every recovering individual must go through this before they arrive at relatively stable sobriety.
How to Manage Anxiety in Recovery
In residential treatment, health professionals will guide and coach you through rebuilding a healthy routine, including techniques to cope with anxiety. For example, deep breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation can help you center yourself and relax. When you are taught to observe each breath and physical sensations, you establish a strong mind-body connection that can be healing.
Yoga works the same way in anxiety relief. By concentrating on healing and using focused breathing to harness relaxation, you can gradually take a more calm and steady state of mind into your day. The key is to find regular time to perform the routine of these relaxation techniques.
Staying Active to Release Anxiety
Especially if you are an active person, you can rely on physical exercises to distract you from anxious thoughts. Getting active helps your brain produce endorphins to help reset it and regulate emotions.
For physical exercises, the key is to take one step at a time so that your body can adjust to the new workload. You shouldn’t put in two hours of jogging today thinking you need to start strong and become so exhausted that you quit running for a week. Stick to a moderate regimen that allows you to get active every day.
Services in Residential Treatment That Help Manage Anxiety
Since anxiety is so common among people in addiction treatment, many residential facilities offer therapy sessions for this exact purpose. Take cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for example. A trained therapist will teach you how to identify triggers that make you anxious. These may include loneliness, meeting new people, or physical conditions such as insomnia. Perhaps your trigger is caffeine intake, which can over-stimulate your sympathetic nervous system. After figuring out your anxiety triggers, your therapist can help you design coping strategies.
You can also find relief from anxiety by attending 12-Step group meetings. Sharing difficult emotions with people in similar situations can be empowering. Verbalizing your emotions and anxious thoughts help release them. Avoiding group sessions may reinforce your negative self-talk patterns which trigger anxiety.
Some facilities offer family therapy which helps resolve dysfunctional communication patterns in a family system. As you rebuild communication with family and friends, your anxiety can become more manageable. You will be able to think more clearly, communicate more effectively, and make better decisions.
Diet and Anxiety Relief
In residential treatment centers, you are provided with a more healthy and balanced diet. Believe it or not, what you eat highly affects your mental health. When it comes to anxiety, eating a nutritious diet can restore the chemical balances in your brain which reduces anxious symptoms. Eating healthy is crucial for your long-term recovery journey.
Many people fail in diet modification after completing residential treatment. They revert to old habits of consuming too much caffeine, processed food, sugary foods, and foods with high trans fat. Given time, these can make your anxiety worse. Long-term healing and anxiety relief come when you eat fresh produce, whole grains, plenty of water, and enough protein-rich foods.
What Should I Do if I Have a Dual Diagnosis?
People who struggle with the dual condition of addiction and anxiety disorders need a higher level of care during residential treatment. If you have a dual diagnosis, find a residential treatment center that provides recovery services to people with co-occurring disorders. There you will follow a highly-personalized treatment plan.
For dual diagnosis treatment to be effective, both your substance addiction and anxiety disorders must be treated simultaneously. Health professionals may use many behavioral therapies and medicines to help you find relief. Dual diagnosis treatment tends to take longer because you need more intensive care when multiple conditions are present. After completing treatment, you should join an aftercare program to continue making progress.
Anxiety is a common experience for people receiving addiction treatment. It is also a risk factor for relapses. This risk occurs mainly because your body and mind must readjust to a biological environment with no substances. Every recovering individual has to work through anxiety before they can achieve long-lasting recovery. It helps if you have extra support from recovery and mental health experts. The professionals at Laguna Shores Recovery provide many tools for managing anxiety, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, and creative therapies. At Laguna Shores, our experienced mental health professionals can coach and support you in managing anxious thought patterns. We even provide help for family members so they can be the best support system possible for your ongoing recovery. Call us today to discover how we can help you overcome anxiety disorders during recovery. For more information, call (954) 329-1118.
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