Does Anxiety Play a Role in Relapse?

Does Anxiety Play a Role in Relapse?

Relapse can be triggered by many things in recovery. A person can be simply out for a walk when a memory, thought, or sensation pops into their head and hijacks the brain. It makes it seem like everything they learned in recovery or thought they knew about themselves is at risk for one more drink or to use a substance just one more time. When anxiety or fear enters the picture, it can complicate recovery and make it more challenging to release expectations in recovery.

Stress Response

A common response to stress is that it happens to everyone and not to worry. In recovery, there is always reason to worry because it can lead to relapse over time. When stress is not dealt with properly, it can impact relationships and outlook on recovery. A person who has anxiety is likely to sleep less, not sleep as well, run thoughts over and over in the mind, feel on edge, and not be able to focus on many things for a period of time. Anxiety may also become a clinically diagnosed condition called generalized anxiety disorder (among others) which can last for months, even years. Panic disorder is a response to the body feeling stress and they believe something terrible will happen at any given moment. Those who suffer from this will have a difficult time interacting with others without feeling judged, criticized, or hurt.

Relapse Response

Panic disorder and anxiety can impact a person’s ability to function. Add substance abuse on top of this and it can feel unsustainable to just get out of bed every day to cope. The effects of one disorder can make the other worse (using substances to numb pain) or drinking and using drugs to make it through a difficult time. Drugs become a coping mechanism for the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Triggers are going to exist in the environment for both anxiety and substance use. The key is learning to cope with them properly. Relapse prevention looks different for everyone, which is why specialized dual diagnosis treatment is the most helpful in coping with symptoms of anxiety and substance use disorder.

Getting Rooted

When people think about addiction, they may not consider the root cause of mental health or physical health issues. The root causes of addiction are important to consider in the healing process. Mindfulness is one way to practice healing in recovery to prevent relapse. Those who received it showed a greater decrease in craving and increase in acceptance with awareness. Depression may also threaten a person’s sobriety and recovery, along with anxiety. Agitation tends to trigger cravings. Mindfulness therapy, or bringing awareness to the mind and body in the moment, can break things down and help them return to thinking through how to steer emotions, mood, and responses into healthier areas of the mind. Breaking away from old habits of thinking and feeling can support a person’s recovery more than most anything else can.

One reason Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Therapy

The Palmetto Center can help you get centered and focused on relapse strategies for dealing with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health diagnosis and addiction recovery. Our team of specialists and trained therapists can help you navigate addiction recovery with peace of mind. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.