Is Anxiety Medication Addictive?

woman experiencing anxiety

Doctors prescribe many medications to help with mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders and PTSD. Some anxiety medications, however, are also highly addictive. People who become dependent on drugs like Xanax or Klonopin may develop a tolerance and need more medication to get the same effects. Some people who have taken these drugs long-term may end up abusing them.

Long-term use, and increased dosages, can create a physical dependence on the drug. A person with a substance use disorder may take larger amounts of the medication than prescribed. It's recommended that people with a substance use disorder steer clear of prescription anxiety medications that are also addictive.

Which Types of Prescription Anxiety Medications Are Addictive?

First of all, benzodiazepines, such as Xanax are highly addictive. Other drugs that are not prescribed as often for anxiety, such as sedatives like Valium, also have the potential for abuse or addiction. These classes of drugs, when taken in large amounts and stopped suddenly, can also cause withdrawal effects like fevers, shaking, or even seizures or heart palpitations.

Many people initially take the prescribed amount of a drug to get help with their anxiety. Drugs like benzos or sedatives can create peaceful or even euphoric feelings in the user. It’s not surprising that these effects can cause a person to take more than prescribed.

Anti-anxiety pills can help people cope with anxiety, but sometimes they become the only coping mechanism. They also stop working so well. Addiction to a drug can cause you to experience intense anxiety when you are in withdrawal. This can create a cycle of substance use that it feels hard to escape.

 

Alternative Methods For Coping With Anxiety

When a person quits using a benzo or sedative to help with their anxiety, there are other methods for treating their anxiety. Prescription drugs like Lexapro are helpful for anxiety and depression and do not cause any euphoric feelings. A psychiatrist is best qualified to help with medication changes. There are also therapy groups and methods such as mindfulness that can help you begin to work through anxiety.

Getting sober and no longer abusing substances will help you live with less anxiety. In treatment or 12-step groups, you’ll learn new coping skills. Therapy can help you learn more about your anxiety, cope with anxiety and begin to practice more healthy coping skills.

Stay Focused On Sober Living

Many people who want to stay sober find refuge in recovery communities like sober homes. In a sober living situation, you’ll be part of a group of peers on the recovery journey. Structure, camaraderie, and therapy can help you stay on course as you learn to live life substance-free.

Learn more about sober living by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Stress is a fact of life for so many people nowadays. It’s not limited to those in recovery. However, this time of year is especially stressful for people new to recovery and old-timers alike. How can you use stress in a way that helps you?

Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress happens, but avoiding it may seem impossible when you’re in its grip. For many people, feeling stressed and anxious can be a trigger for drinking or drugging. Stress is no reason to get high, but may not know what to do with an urgent-seeming emotion, or maybe you feel anxiety take over and have trouble taking action. Luckily there are ways to reduce the impact of stress in your life.

While you can’t eliminate stress from your life in recovery, there are ways that you can minimize it. For example, if you know that you have to do something that makes you feel stressed out, you can make plans for the aftermath.

For example, maybe you have a large family gathering that you’re planning to attend, and you’re not sure how you’ll cope with any questions. Talking to your sponsor and preparing your answers to challenging conversations can help you feel prepared. If your Aunt Sally wants to ask you about your recovery in front of people you’re not comfortable with, you can go ahead and tell her you’d love to catch up with her later. Or maybe you’re worried somebody will bring you a drink. If so, prepare to have a way of saying “no” that you’re comfortable.

Identifying your triggers and learning ways to react that are healthy is part of recovery. Nobody is perfect, and that’s true about others in your life, too. Learn to respond with empathy and kindness when possible, but don’t go out of your way to make others happy if something makes you feel uncomfortable.

Coping With Stress Through Self-Care

Self-care is a way that you can handle the stress that life throws at you. There’s no way to eliminate most types of stress that people experience, so coping skills are needed to help you get through your tough times. Many people in recovery use self-care to feel a little better.

Meditation, exercise, relaxation exercises, and even doing something as simple as reading or watching a television program all count as self-care. Take some time for yourself and do something that makes you feel better or re-rejuvenated. There are many types of self-care available, so choose what works for you and leave the rest.

Going to a 12-step meeting or calling your sponsor are essential types of self-care in recovery.

Sober Living By the Sea

Many people new to recovery benefit from living in a sober housing situation. In sober living, there are rules as well as recovery adventures. You’re surrounded by people who are sober, working their 12-step programs, and rebuilding their lives in recovery. To learn more about what our programs offer, call us at 760-216-2077.

Exercise is a powerful tool that anyone can use to help improve their lives. It can help improve your mood and regulate your blood pressure.

When you were using drugs, you may have gotten some exercise. Getting, finding and using drugs and alcohol sometimes means spending some time on your feet.

Once you’ve been clean and sober for a while, you’ll notice some subtle changes in your life. You may feel more confident or upbeat. Or, you may feel more depressive or anxious without the drugs you used to use when you wanted to self-medicate.

Exercise and Depression

Studies show that exercise is a powerful tool for people that suffer from depressive symptoms. For some people who are moderately depressed, exercise is enough to help alleviate their symptoms.

Many people with depression either have trouble sleeping or sleep too much. Exercise can help you sleep more soundly at night and even help you with a boost of energy. People who suffer from severe depression usually require medication and talk therapy. Exercise can be a form of self-care when you’re feeling up to it. Joining a walking group, going surfing, going for a hike or bike ride are all ways to make exercise a part of your regular life.

Exercise and Anxiety

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that nearly 40% of Americans have anxiety disorders. Many people in recovery have experienced trauma or have been diagnosed with mental health disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Exercise can help with anxiety in a few ways. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone that the body makes naturally. Walking is a way to practice mindfulness or deep breathing. Surfing may make you feel closer to your spiritual side. These are all benefits of exercise in recovery.

If you’re angry, anxious, or depressed, please try a walk. Just 15 minutes a day can make a difference in your health and your mood. Give yourself a chance to use this powerful recovery tool.

Looking for Sober Housing?

We can help. By the Sea Recovery homes are supervised, structured environment that help men who are recovering from addiction transition to the next phase of their recovery journey. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about our housing.

Do you ever have butterflies in your stomach or feel your pulse quicken when you think of something you’re scared to do? Many people in recovery experience anxiety in recovery, but it may be difficult for you to deal with in your first few years. Let’s take a look at what anxiety is and how you can cope with it in a healthy way.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion that’s perfectly normal, even for people who don’t have a substance use disorder. When you’re feeling afraid of an event or situation, it causes your body to flood with adrenaline. You may shake, feel your face flushing or your stomach tighten, or even feel like you’re breathing too fast or can’t breath enough air. (This last symptom is considered to be an anxiety attack.)

Anxiety is the body’s reaction to what it deciphers as immenent danger. The way the body responds to the fear of this danger is to initiate what is called a “fight of flight” response. This response dates back to our ancestors, who often had to make split-second decisions to survive the many dangers of the world. The body gave them two decisions; fight or flight. This adrenaline rush helped them when they decided between these two things.

Today, your body may activate the fight or flight response even if there isn’t imminen danger. Your mind may then feel like the danger is greater than it is, which can cause a lot of fear even if you’re not in any physical danger.

Managing Anxiety

A lot of people find that their anxiety is less when they share it with others, such as a therapist, sponsor or good friend. If you’re having anxiety attacks, you may want to seek professional help to get your anxiety under control. When anxiety causes you to miss out on things in life, it’s time to get help to get it under control.

Anxiety that doesn’t cause panic attacks can be managed more easily. You may want to role-play situations that make you anxious with a trusted friend or therapist. When you feel anxious, a brisk walk or a long bath may calm your nerves. Getting regular exercise and going to 12-step meetings can help you, too. Find something you love to do and do it when you’re feeling stressed. Often, self-care can be the answer to feeling anxious.

Self-care such as meditation, journaling, exercise or just reading a book can help you stay calm in your daily life. Remember that if you’re anxious, this too shall pass. Using self-care to help this feeling pass more quickly.

Sober Living Can help

A lot of people in sobriety have fears about returning to the “real world” after treatment. Living with other people who have the same goals can help quell your anxiety and gain confidence when you’re new to recovery. Learn more about your sober living options and how we can help by calling us at 760-216-2077.

The first few months of recovery can be a bumpy road if you’re not prepared. New feelings, friendships, and a new way of life take adjusting to. You may also still be experiencing withdrawal after years of using substances. If you don’t know it already, it’s important to be aware that this too shall pass. Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you hold on while you’re waiting for negative emotions to pass.

What is Mindfulness?

According to Wikipedia, “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? Actually, mindfulness is pretty much the opposite of work. When you take the time to slow down during a busy day, close your eyes and live in the moment, you’re doing a form of meditation that focuses on your breathing. For a moment, all you can do is be.

Learning Mindfulness

The simplest way to learn mindfulness is to practice being aware of the world outside yourself. Take a mindfulness walk, where you only focus on the squirrels, trees, and the sounds around you. Don’t use your phone or listen to music. Take a nice, slow walk and just be.

There are also breathing exercises you can use when you’re stressed. Practice mindfulness by closing your eyes and taking a deep breath through your nose. Exhale through your mouth and pay attention to the sound and feeling of your body as you do this. Keep your eyes closed and mentally count backward from ten for each breath. As you breathe, pay attention to the sounds around you and the sensations of your body.

You can also learn mindfulness on various websites dedicated to the topic and video websites such as Youtube or Vimeo. Do what works for you and leave the rest. Mindfulness is a great way to relax on a stressful day. It’s also a tool you can use when you feel triggered to use or do something self-destructive.

Sober Living Can Help, Too

Not everyone finishes treatment feeling safe and prepared for the real world, and that’s okay. There are many options available for people who want to live with others in recovery for added stability and understanding. We have some fantastic sober housing options for you to check out. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.

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