Can Anxiety Lead to a Drug Relapse?
Once a person reclaims their lives from addiction, great things happen. They get jobs, buy new cars, build trust and relationships with their families, and can see that life is better without substances. However, life will bring downers and cause anxiety to occur; it cannot be 100% avoided- that’s life. However, to prevent anxiety from causing relapse and ruining the progress recovery has created, it is necessary to address anxiety seriously.
Understanding what anxiety is outright is essential in determining why a person may experience it at different times. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health, anxiety is a result of fear:
Anxiety may be defined as apprehension, tension, or uneasiness that stems from the anticipation of danger, which may be internal or external. (NCBI)
Anxiety is most certainly an emotional, mental, and physical response to something that is causing a person to experience fear, which can feel like worry, stress, nervousness, and even panic. For people in recovery, the list of what brings on anxiety for each individual is often quite long. Typical fears newly recovering addicts and alcoholics often have include feeling comfortable in social settings, finding and getting hired for a new job, financial stability/ability, family gatherings, being alone, or even going to their first AA or NA meeting. These situations can cause a person in recovery to feel an enormous amount of anxiety, and it can undoubtedly lead to a drug relapse if it is not acknowledged.
Anxiety and Addiction Relapse
The ways newly recovering individuals can acknowledge their anxiety about specific situations or experiences is to first label them as potentially dangerous. Everyone in recovery will respond to various facets of life differently. For one person, they may know to spend time with a particular parent or relative at the beginning of their recovery is not appropriate for them.
It may bring on too many poor emotions and cause them to feel anxious and uncomfortable. Another individual may need to go to all social events with a close friend for many years to be okay. Becoming aware of what causes anxiety when in recovery is vital to remaining clean and sober, it is a part of what it means to be in recovery.
The next step after a person has become aware of what triggers anxiety is to find ways to counter their stress and anxiety generally. Finding ways to reduce everyday stress and anxiety makes the more difficult anxiety-causing situations less powerful. It is amazing how many persons in recovery discover how great they feel when they routinely exercise. For them, it is a staple of their existence because they have become fully aware of how well it diminishes stress and boosts their mood.
Another method people in recovery use to combat daily stressors is to spend time meditating or connecting with their higher power. The number of rewards that regular exercise and spirituality bring to someone living a drug and alcohol-free life makes it so when really tough times arrive; they are already relatively stressed and anxiety-free, so the more heavy-hitting situations are less so.
Help Reduce Your Anxiety
Exercise and spirituality reduce anxiety and stress, but it is through giving and receiving support from others in recovery that cures anxiety. Forming connections to others in reliable recovery is the most valuable coping method for anxiety that there is. Anyone new to recovery must be involved with a supportive group such as AA or NA, or another recovery-focused group. All recovering addicts and alcoholics will explain that it is through the connections they have with others in recovery or who are supportive of their recoveries, such as a counselor or sponsor, that they can love life clean and sober.
One of the greatest gifts that recovery from addiction and or alcoholism gives is the numerous safe and rewarding ways to deal with stress, worry, and anxiety. Exercise and spiritual health and the connections that someone makes with others in recovery- to learn how they got through their anxiety-causing situation- is how recovering individuals remain drug and alcohol-free AND learn to have and keep peace of mind.