Treatment for anxiety falls into two categories: psychotherapy and medication. Meeting with a therapist or psychologist can help you learn tools to use and strategies to cope with anxiety when it occurs. Medications typically used to treat anxiety include antidepressants and sedatives. They work to balance brain chemistry, prevent episodes of anxiety, and ward off the most severe symptoms of the disorder. Stress and anxiety are two sides of the same coin. Stress is the result of demands on your brain or body. It can be caused by an event or activity that makes you nervous or worrisome. Anxiety is that same worry, fear, or unease. Anxiety can be a reaction to your stress, but it can also occur in people who have no obvious stressors. Both anxiety and stress cause physical and mental symptoms. Neither stress nor anxiety is always bad. Both can actually provide you with a bit of a boost or incentive to accomplish the task or challenge before you. However, if they become persistent, they can begin to interfere with your daily life. In that case, it’s important to seek treatment. If you’re anxious frequently, you may decide you’d like a drink to calm your nerves. After all, alcohol is a sedative. It can depress the activity of your central nervous system, which may help you feel more relaxed.
In a social setting, that may feel like just the answer you need to let down your guard. Ultimately, it may not be the best solution. Some people with anxiety disorders end up abusing alcohol or other drugs in an effort to feel better regularly. This can create dependency and addiction. It may be necessary to treat an alcohol or drug problem before the anxiety can be addressed. Chronic or long-term use can ultimately make the condition worse, too. Anxiety disorders can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.
Some people who have a mild anxiety disorder, or a fear of something they can easily avoid, decide to live with the condition and not seek treatment. It’s important to understand that anxiety disorders can be treated, even in severe cases. Although anxiety usually doesn’t go away, you can learn to manage it and live a happy, healthy life. Stress is one of the biggest triggers for substance abuse in early recovery. Many individuals in rehab have spent years coping with stress by drinking heavily, taking drugs, or engaging in compulsive behaviors. In treatment, they must learn how to replace these destructive actions with fulfilling activities that feed the soul while calming the body.
Learning to manage stress effectively takes time, patience, and professional guidance. In your new sober life, you may feel at loose ends, with too much unstructured time on your hands. Look at this time as an opportunity to pursue the goals and dreams that you neglected when you were caught in the trap of addiction.