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10 Ways to Combat Anxiety in Addiction Recovery

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By OTS Staff September 14, 2022

10 Ways to Combat Anxiety in Addiction Recovery

Due to the nature of the changes brought on by any kind of substance dependency, recovery from addiction could be quite a lot of work. For some, it might even be nothing less than an ordeal, requiring medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help deal with the stress and symptoms of withdrawal.

Even for those who won’t need medication-assisted treatment for their withdrawal symptoms, the stress of detox alone could create more than just anxiety in recovery. It could actually cause so much difficulty and stress that the patient might decide to quit trying to get back to sobriety. This is why it is essential to find ways to deal with the anxiety and stress that comes with detox and rehab during addiction recovery.

Thankfully, the therapy that comes with rehab incorporates some approaches that will teach patients to not only manage their stress so it doesn’t hinder their recovery but also recognize the sources of the stress they get. As part of the therapy, patients are also taught coping mechanisms to allow them to respond better to the triggers they had that pushed them to use substances.

10 Ways to Combat Anxiety in Addiction Recovery

Keep Healthy, Get Happy

Keeping fit is truly its own reward. It is a medical fact that more people who maintain a degree of health and fitness through exercise and clean living cope with stress much better than those who don’t. While they might also be exposed to anxiety-causing situations, they are not as prone as other people to the more detrimental effects of it. Exercise has long been recommended as a way to not only fight off depression, but also lessen and even inhibit it.

Meditate and Realize

Far more than just some new age approach, meditation is actually a very good way to assess one’s self and come to certain realizations. Meditation allows people to focus more on the self and block out the distractions of the outside world, even if only for a while. This moment of relative quiet is an excellent time for introspection and seeing if there are any potential habits, thoughts, and behaviors that could endanger their efforts to return to sobriety.

Seek Support

seek support for anxiety

Seeking help from others is not a sign of weakness, as many often see it that way. Seeking help is not just a sign of courage, but also of intelligence, as it shows that the person knows they could end up in trouble if they do not seek aid in dealing with their issues. This includes moments where the urge to use substances again is made much worse by temptations that might be nearby.

Be Mindful and Aware

Anxiety is often said to creep up when you least expect it and take you unawares. This is true for many people, as they might not really be aware of just how stressed out they are, or how much exposure they have had to whatever gives them anxiety. By being mindful of one’s current state, if they have had more than enough stress or are close to the tipping point because of unresolved anxiety, they could do something before it all gets out of hand. At the very least, they could do something to de-stress and get rid of the pent-up anxiety.

Sleep, Rest, and Relax More

Putting in more work or extra effort to reach a goal is just fantastic. The sense of accomplishment once the goal is reached gives a feeling that no substance could hope to match. The hard work and extra effort, however, also tends to lead to exhaustion and fatigue. If this happens a lot, then a build-up of anxiety and stress is not far behind.

Rest, relaxation and enough sleep will not only do the body well, but it will also improve a person’s perspective about adversities and difficulties along the way. A person who is able to get enough rest and sleep will be able to continue being the best they could be, while those who are weary and tired could either just give up, or resort to things and substances for a “boost”.

Give the Great Outdoors a Try

Communing with nature in the great outdoors is not some mystical method practiced by those in the esoteric arts. Being exposed to nature rejuvenates the mind and body through very scientific means. Getting fresh air will definitely do a person’s lungs much better than the stale air indoors or the polluted atmosphere where they usually are. Getting enough sunlight will initiate the production of Vitamin D in the body, which helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus for use in building bone.

Spend Time with Those Who Care

There are times when being with the right people makes recovery far easier than usual. People who show genuine care, and encouragement, and actually take the time to understand what the patients in rehab are going through are the ones who make the effort truly worth it. Considering that many who go through rehab are emotionally vulnerable, people who really care are actually essential to their well-being.

Set Boundaries

Being in rehab does not always mean building walls to keep the real world away. Real life does not come with walls that will safeguard against temptations to use substances again. This is where learning to set boundaries becomes important. Gatherings and events are normal and actually helpful to recovery. Partaking in things that would cause a relapse, such as alcohol, is not.

Stop Procrastinating

The stress of rehab could be so great on many who go through it that many adopt an “I’ve done enough for today” attitude. They try their best to limit the work they put in when they undergo therapy, thinking there will always be a time the following day to do the rest. These people fail to realize that the sooner they recover, the sooner they could go back to a normal life, instead of spending longer in rehab. There is a need to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

Remember Why the Rehab is Being Done

substance abuse disorder rehab

Perhaps one of the best ways to ease out anxiety in recovery is to remember why it is being done. Midway through rehabilitation, the patient’s mind is clear enough to realize how bad things were when they still had a substance abuse disorder. This also gives a great appreciation of where they currently are, and how close to the end they came. This realization will not only give a deep sense of joy that they decided to kick the habit but also a sense of accomplishment, as they survived detox and are now inching towards full recovery and sobriety.

These are just ten valid and evidence-based ways to combat anxiety in addiction recovery. There could easily be a hundred more reasons why rehab is a good idea, but the most important thing to think about is a patient’s personal reason why they went through detox and rehab. Plus how far along they have gone. Thinking about this gives a better perspective of the distance that still needs to be covered on the way to recovery, and an appreciation of the length already traveled towards it.

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