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Coping with Drug Addiction and Anxiety

Did you know that if you’re addicted the brain sends a signal very similar to the one it would send if you were starving?
And they say that people with a drug addiction have no will power?! You try working in a restaurant being severely malnourished, actually starving, and not being allowed to eat any of the food.  If you or a loved one are caught in the grip of a drug addiction you’ll know the nightmare all too well.
Anyone addicted to alcohol or other drugs is consumed by a mental obsession and a physical compulsion to get and use and find ways and means to get and use more. And more. And more. We all need to eat. The actively drug addicted person will need a constant stream of drugs.
The addicted person will use drugs, no matter what the consequences may be.  This is actually one of the diagnostic criteria of drug addiction (other criteria include tolerance of drugs and the presence of withdrawal symptoms).  As a result of this lifestyle addicts can find themselves living with a high level of anxiety.
As drug addiction is a primary illness often when the detoxification and rehab are completed any abnormal anxiety has been effectively dealt with. Once the addiction to alcohol or other drugs is effectively treated we often find that many underlying problems, such as depression and anxiety, simply disappear.
It’s critical that you receive drug addiction treatment from a multidisciplinary team of addiction treatment consultants. These professionals will have the necessary skill to assess whether the anxiety you’re experiencing may be more than usual and provide the additional treatment and care.
Sometimes people have a dual diagnosis like 1. Drug addiction and 2. Anxiety. The anxiety could prevent you from attain contended sobriety or even getting into recovery. Contact us for a thorough addiction assessment of your needs.
Drug use is sometimes excused as a means of “coping” with stress, but of course in reality drug use simply postpones problems and so cannot diminish stress.  So how can one cope with drug addiction and anxiety at the same time?
Well for a start coming into drug rehab will help to eliminate many of life’s problems that drug addiction creates.  These problems are far reaching and exist in many spheres of life – physical, psychological, social, vocational, and spiritual.  Coming into drug addiction recovery will lead to these areas of life becoming more manageable, and hence less anxiety provoking.
Of course, recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction comes with its own anxieties.  Being in recovery does not exempt you from the problems of everyday living.  It’s important to learn how to cope with these stressors without relapsing into active drug addiction.  The 12 step program helps members to learn a new way of living, and part of this is about learning new coping skills.
The social support received in 12 step fellowships is vital in helping addicts cope with stress.  Sometimes just the idea that there are people to talk to is enough to convince somebody that they can cope with life.  The regular meetings provide an ideal place for people recovering from drug addiction to learn new skills and to share their problems.
So what are some of the ways to cope with drug addiction and anxiety?
For some people medication prescribed by a doctor who is experienced in addictions medicine may be a partial solution.  There are medications available that will help to “take the edge off” without sedating the patient or otherwise leading to a relapse into drug addiction.  So long as the prescribing doctor is skilled in dual diagnosis this should not be a threat to recovery.
Another way to deal with stress is to look at lifestyle.  By making certain healthy lifestyle changes it is possible to reduce stress naturally.  Exercise has long been shown to have a very positive effect on mood.  Eating a healthy and balanced diet is also linked to a healthier physical and mental condition.  These lifestyle changes could form part of a drug addiction recovery program.
Another positive way of coping with anxiety and drug addiction would be to use counselling sessions to speak about anxiety.  Talking about anxiety is a good way to process the issues causing it.  In a drug rehab patients are taught how to talk about their emotions.  This is a very positive step in beating drug addiction.  It may not be clear exactly how talking about a problem can help to make it better, but the experience of having somebody listen and show care is very cathartic.
Meditation is also a good way to cope with stress.  There are many different forms of meditation, sometimes it is best to find the technique that works best for you.  Meditation is an opportunity to distress the mind and body and can have effects that last beyond the actual meditation session.  Many people in recovery from drug addiction attest to its benefits.
If you are struggling with drug addiction and anxiety and want to learn new ways of coping please contact one of our treatment coordinators.  They will help you find the treatment option that will best suit your particular needs.

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