Last updated: 05/6/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Stress and anxiety are two of the leading causes of substance abuse and addiction. What most people do not realize is that both stress and anxiety can seriously impact your recovery as well. It order to understand how stress and anxiety can impact your addiction recovery, you first need to understand what causes it and then learn how to deal with both the stress and anxiety.
The Relationship Between Stress & Anxiety
According to the National Library of Medicine, stress and anxiety can cause both physical and mental harm. Both stress and anxiety have a corollary relationship. Anxiety causes stress and stress causes anxiety. It makes little difference which is the cause the end result is the same. As your stress and anxiety levels increase your desire to do something, anything, to make the stress stop also increases.
Causes of Stress and Anxiety During Recovery
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the stress hormone corticoserone is linked to relapse. When stress levels are high your body produces corticoserone. This hormone causes most stress reactions. Stress and anxiety cause cravings for your drug of choice because the addiction taught it to respond this way.
Some of the other causes of stress during recovery:
- exposure to triggers
- strained relationships between friends and family
- negative self perception
- failure to learn how to deal with stress without turning to the drugs
- changes in housing, marital or relationship status, job, and friendships
- job stress
- something as simple as bad traffic or frustration
Although recovery from substance abuse will eventually reduce the stress in your life, it actually can raise it in the short term. This is why having a solid treatment center and addiction treatment program is so important.
How you can Alleviate the Impact of Stress and Anxiety on your Recovery
Fortunately, there are many ways to help reduce your stress and anxiety during your recovery. Part of recovery is learning how to deal with your stress and anxiety using:
- adaptive coping skills
- trigger avoidance
- learning to deal with physical and social triggers
- learning how to build a support network you can rely on
- eating a healthy diet
- the different types of therapy such as group, individual, and 12 step therapies
- confronting internal forms of stress
- using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and guided relaxation
- making lifestyle changes
- seeking help when you feel as if you are going to relapse
All of these techniques are taught during a comprehensive recovery program. Most programs and therapists will warn that high stress or anxiety levels during recovery are a recipe for relapse and although not all stress is avoidable, you can deal with it without turning to drugs or alcohol.
Finding a Treatment Center that will Help
It is an unfortunate fact that most drug withdrawal causes some form of anxiety which in turn causes stress. This is where a good treatment facility can help. They can help you reduce your stress levels through therapy and sometimes reduce your anxiety levels through medication.