Anxiety is the feeling of fear or apprehension over a perceived or possible danger or challenge. In other words, anxiety is the fear of something that is not real or not currently happening. It is a future oriented mood state.
Addicts often experience anxiety – before going into treatment and as part of the withdrawal process. It can be managed in many ways. Here are a few you can use at home.
- Ask yourself if this problem is real or imagined. Is there an armed man threatening you or are you making up that image to keep yourself from going to the store? If you can determine that your fear is imagined, you may be able to push through it.
- Put your feet on the floor. One tool that helps ground a person literally and figuratively is to put your feet on the floor. This will help remind you what is real and happening in the moment.
- Ask yourself how likely it is for your greatest fear to happen. You might be afraid of giving up drugs because you’ve never done it before or have tried on your own, but had terrible withdrawal symptoms and given up. What are you afraid will happen? Are you afraid you will die? Do you not know how to cope without your drug of choice? Once you have identified your fears, ask yourself whether or not they are true. If they are true – for example, quitting drinking after years of heavy alcohol intake puts you at risk for dangerous withdrawal symptoms — then you need to seek help in order to get through the problem you face. If your fear is not true (a meteor is not likely to land on you if you go for a walk) – then face your fear. By proving a fear false, you will gain confidence and your fear is less likely to surface as strongly the next time it arises.
Learning how to cope with depression is also important in early recovery.