01 Sep How to Cope with Anxiety Without Using Drugs
It can be tempting to deal with anxiety by taking drugs, especially if you have a history with or are currently fighting drug addiction. Drugs can make the pain go away, you may think, at least for a while. But as a user or former user, it is even more crucial that you avoid using drugs to deal with anxiety.
Just this Once
You may think that there’s nothing wrong with using a drug once when you’re especially anxious. It may make the feelings go away, at least in the short term. However, the drugs will not address the root cause of the anxiety, and will likely only make it worse over time. This can lead to a cycle where users take drugs to calm themselves down, only to increase their anxiety. This then leads to more drugs and anxiety.
There Are Other Options Besides Drugs
Learning to develop coping skills is one of the most effective ways of combating anxiety, period. Although it takes time to develop them, they offer a way of reducing anxiety that is effective and poses no risk to you.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the most useful tools for fighting anxiety. It can help you identify and think about your cravings and anxiety, reducing the odds of you using in times of distress.
Meditation comes in many different forms, but one common technique is to sit down, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Though simple, with repeated practice it can be a useful tool to have to fight your anxiety.
This type of therapy is useful for individuals who have had past traumatic experiences that trigger anxiety and an urge to cope with drugs. By addressing these root causes of anxiety, a therapist can help you, little by little, to think about these feelings in a structured, productive way, instead of trying to hide them with drugs.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This therapy, like trauma therapy, can help individuals reduce anxiety. Here, it is done by exposing them, in a controlled setting, to triggers of anxiety. By being exposed, patients slowly learn how to cope with the negative feelings associated with triggers, rather than responding by taking drugs.
Attending NA meetings and participating in a drug recovery program offers a social and supportive environment where you can address your anxiety without taking drugs. You learn, with the help of others going through similar experiences, how to work through negative feelings and urges. Loneliness only serves to increase anxiety. By working with others on your anxiety, or even just having a conversation, you stand a better chance of avoiding drugs.
Anxiety Takes Work
There are many options to fight anxiety without drugs, but many of them take time and patience. That’s why it is important, as you continue your recovery, that you work on developing these tools so that when anxiety does come up, you have a healthy way to fight it.
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