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Anxiety and substance abuse

One of the incredible things people start to realize during rehab is the roots of their addictions. Most people are not even aware of why they are making the choices they are making. This can contribute to increased feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Understanding why you make the choices you make can help you get a grip on your choices and emotions. Many rehab patients find that anxiety is playing a big part in their substance use and abuse over the years. Let’s take a look at how anxiety can affect decision-making and what role it plays in substance abuse. 

Symptoms of Anxiety 

The tricky thing about anxiety is that a lot of people who have anxiety are not even aware that they have it. They just know that they feel like something is wrong. They know they are worried. They know that they do not feel comfortable. Most people simply chalk this up to being “weird” or “different.” Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways. Some of the most common ways anxiety can manifest includes:

  • Rage/ Anger
  • OCD behavior
  • Perfectionism 
  • Isolation 
  • Extreme Self Consciousness 
  • Others 


One of the most significant links between anxiety and substance abuse is the tendency of anxiety sufferers to self-medicate using substances. If an individual does not know what is wrong with them, if they think they are just weird or different, then they will not be inclined to view their problems as a mental health condition that needs treatment. The individual still wants to feel better, though. One quick way to feel better regardless of what is making you feel bad, is to use drugs or alcohol. When the individual realizes that they feel better when using drugs and alcohol, a cycle of substance abuse can quickly develop. If the substance use goes on long enough, the body will become physically dependent on the substance which causes addiction. 

In order to get to the root of the problem, a good rehab program will help you unravel why you did not feel okay in the first place. If it is determined that anxiety played a role in this, then your rehab and recovery team can help get treatment for your anxiety in a healthy way. 

Anxiety Treatments

Some anxiety treatments include medications, but not all. A good rehab team will first seek to find therapy and treatment options that do not include medications. If your issues can be resolved or treated successfully without medication, no medication will be prescribed. Some methods of dealing with anxiety can include meditation, therapy, journaling, and others. It is important that you work with your team to address your anxiety issues during rehab. Getting over this hurdle could be vital to your overall success in rehab. 

What You Can Do Right Now

Even if you have not started anxiety treatment or therapy yet, there are small steps you can do today to help deal with anxiety. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to make sure you are getting enough rest. Sleep deprivation can make all anxiety disorders worse. When you are not well-rested everything seems intensified and overwhelming. Get a good bedtime routine established so that you can develop healthy sleep patterns. 

You can also start an exercise routine. Exercise releases endorphins into your bloodstream. This can elevate your mood naturally and help you feel more in control of your life. 

Meditation is also very helpful when dealing with anxiety. Use meditation videos or apps to help you get started. 

Helpful Resources 

The Palms Recovery

Florida Health

The Palm Beach Institute 

Health Recovery Support

Florida Politics

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay 

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