Anxiety is a common feeling shared by all addicts and alcoholics. Anxiety can suck all the joy out of living. It can turn the world into a dark place where there are threats to our well-being around every corner. This feeling of apprehension can mean we feel alienated from those we love, and it can lead to depression, hopelessness, and despair. Some of us turned to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to deal with this discomfort, but this only made things worse.
At Hope Rehab we provide you with effective tools for managing anxiety, so you can start to experience what it is like to be joyous, happy, and free.
There is free-floating anxiety and reactive anxiety that both give rise to physical manifestations. The fight or flight, freeze, fidget, and faint responses are from the autonomic nervous system and go back to a time when people lived closer to natural threats such as predators. This response also causes the release of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, when under stress.
However, similar levels of alarm can cause unnecessary distress in daily life, often leading to self-medication. By focusing on the negative thoughts and learning how to challenge them, we can reduce the physical disturbance.
We strongly suggest that anyone self-medicating using alcohol read the following article – how drinking makes anxiety worse.
- Urge to run
Urge to use toilet
Nervous system activated
Anxiety is a natural response and can be a good thing
All humans experience at least some anxiety from time to time – it can be triggered by events such as sitting an exam, going to the doctor, or speaking in public.
This increased state of arousal can include symptoms such as elevated heart rate, sweating, nausea, diarrhoea, and palpitations. Anxiety is part of the normal ‘fight or flight’ response, and it can actually be a good thing. The problem is, some people experience anxiety to such an extent and so regularly that it starts to negatively impact their life.
The old-fashioned remedy for dealing with anxiety was to try to avoid stressful situations. This is an ineffective solution because stress is a normal part of everyday life. It’s also usually the case that those of us who suffer due to anxiety are always going to be able to find something to worry about.
People don’t get anxious because of stress, but because of their inability to deal with stress. This is why at Hope Rehab we are going to provide you with some tools for managing your anxiety.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for dealing with anxiety, and this claim is backed by scientific research into its efficacy (see resources below for further information).
It works by allowing you to become more objective towards your thoughts and feelings. Anxiety is triggered by stories you generate in your mind, but mindfulness allows you to see how these stories are usually illogical. Mindfulness teaches you to appreciate the present moment instead of constantly worrying about the future.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is another technique we use here at Hope Rehab for dealing with anxiety. It includes a set of tools for identifying, challenging, and replacing negative thinking patterns. You learn to recognise the symptoms of anxiety in your body, which means you can manage it before it becomes overwhelming. CBT can also involve relaxation techniques, systematic desensitisation, and exposure therapy.
If you have been using alcohol or drugs to help you manage your anxiety, it is vital that you have an effective coping strategy to replace this. Otherwise, there is going to be a temptation to relapse as soon as life becomes challenging. We are going to provide you with a selection of evidence-based tools for dealing with anxiety, so you will be able to face the future with confidence.