Anxiety and addiction often go hand in hand. Some addictions are brought about by anxiety, and some anxiety symptoms are triggered by addiction. Anxiety is also a common experience during addiction treatment. If you are feeling anxious in the early stages of addiction recovery, know that you are not alone.
In this guide, we will explain why anxiety is common during anxiety treatment, and how you can manage anxiety symptoms along the way.
Stressing over the Unknown
Addiction treatment is a life transition, just like moving to a new city or starting a new relationship. In this case, you get to look forward to a life where you are in control of your addiction, rather than a new job or a larger home. Along the way, there will be unknown factors that can seem scary and overwhelming at times. This may bring about stress and anxiety because you cannot foresee the future.
We encourage you to focus on the positive outcomes, rather than the unknown. You will get through this, just like you have every other life transition. Your addiction therapist will be there to support you at every milestone.
Finding New Ways to Cope with Emotions
Up until now, your addiction may have been part of your coping strategies. If you felt stressed or upset, you may have turned to your substance of choice. Now that you’re changing your habits, you need to find new, healthy coping mechanisms.
Think back to when you were a child. You may have had a favorite stuffed animal or blanket that you used for comfort. One day, you moved away form that comfort source and found comfort in something new. You’re facing a similar transition now. Even though the change feels scary, it is something you can get through. Lean on your support system during this time, and explore coping techniques that promote healthy habits.
Changing Your Support System
Speaking of support systems, that is another area that may be changing in your life right now. As part of your addiction treatment, you may have distanced yourself from certain people and places. You may also be building trust with new members of your support system, such as your addiction therapist or mentor. It may take time to feel supported in this new environment, but in time, you will see just how strong your foundation really is.
How to Cope with Anxiety during Addiction Treatment
Now that you understand why you’re experiencing anxiety, you can find ways to overcome it. Your therapist can point out personalized anxiety relief strategies that will work specifically for you. As a general guideline though, you can review the tips in the next part of this guide: Dealing with Anxiety during Addiction Recovery.