Anxiety is a normal emotion that almost everyone experiences occasionally—even those who are usually calm, relaxed, and collected know what it’s like to feel anxious, worried, fearful, nervous, or stressful regarding unpredictable situations that occur them out of their comfort zone. But for an estimated 40 million adults in the U.S., anxiety isn’t just a routine emotion. It’s a deep-seated, overpowering condition that causes significant distress and interferes with life.
Also, substance abuse is much more common among those with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. It is often used as a misguided form of self-medication when professional treatment is not sought or cannot be obtained.
At some time in their adult lives, nearly one-third (about 30 percent) of Americans experience anxiety that’s intense, persistent, and debilitating to the point that it qualifies as a disorder.
Anxiety is among the most common mental health disorder in the United States and globally, and living with debilitating anxiety makes many individuals withdraw socially and feel isolated and alone. Indeed, this is likely a primary reason why why it is estimated that fewer than two in five adults afflicted by anxiety disorders seek professional help.
But much of the time, these individuals needlessly suffer in silence, and they shouldn’t have to. Despite how overpowering anxiety and addiction can be, both conditions are treatable. Most who ask for help can relieve their symptoms on a long-term basis using one or more of the following strategies.
Psychotherapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Commonly referred to as talk therapy, this collaborative approach uses a wide variety of techniques that help individuals to identify, understand, and alter the underlying thought and behavior patterns that contribute to or are fueled by anxiety or addiction.
The most common form of psychotherapy is CBT helps you identify specific anxiety issues and gives individuals the tools they need to cope with those challenges and put an end to destructive thought patterns or negative behaviors.
Group counseling provides a safe, intimate, and nurturing environment for people with anxiety disorders to listen to one another and share their personal experiences, challenges, failures, and successes.
Those who have particularly severe anxiety may benefit most from a treatment plan that includes antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. In relieving the most debilitating symptoms, anxiety-reducing medication can bolster and support psychotherapy progress.
Engaging in Self-Care
Whether a person experiences generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, a panic disorder, or a specific phobia, taking time to take care of oneself can help manage symptoms and reduce the number of “bad” days one experiences. While there are a lot of effective self-care strategies to choose from, the following methods are proven to ease anxiety:
Engage in Regular Exercise – Getting regular exercise can help you take the edge off anxiety symptoms or prevent them from developing. Aerobic exercise is often beneficial for decreasing symptoms of mental health issues. Walking, running, swimming, cycling, or dancing for at least 20 minutes several days of the week can help reduce both state anxiety and trait anxiety, affecting how a person feels both moment-to-moment and regularly.
Improve Sleep – Anxiety itself can wreak havoc on a person’s ability to get adequate sleep, but doing this is critical to alleviating stress and anxiety itself. Designing an ideal sleep environment that is dark and quiet and improving sleep hygiene, such as maintaining a consistent sleep-wake cycle, will likely help.
Limit or Avoid Caffeine Intake – There’s a reason why people look forward to and even rely on coffee when awakening to help them prepare for the day. But besides enhancing wakefulness, caffeine also activates the autonomic nervous system and places the body’s “fight-or-flight” response on the ready. Caffeine can increase anxiety when used independently, and individuals with anxiety disorders tend to be more vulnerable to its effects.
Getting Help for Anxiety and Addiction
There is currently no magic pill to cure any anxiety or substance use disorder entirely. However, the right combination of solutions can still provide much-needed relief and foster long-lasting sobriety and wellness. In fact, by entering a professional, evidence-based treatment program, most people can help improve symptoms related to these conditions and ultimately regain full control over their daily lives.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery are committed to helping each individual we treat to achieve a full recovery from all manners of co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse and foster the happy and fulfilling lives they deserve!