I have found many different forms of anxiety are exposed in early stages of recovery. Some are of course intense anxiety disorders that require the help of a psychiatrist.
The symptoms of these disorders show themselves in many ways.
The most common of these are:
Shortness of breath or a feeling of being smothered.
Heart palpitations or accelerated heart rate.
Dizziness, unsteadiness or faintness.
Trembling or shaking.
Feeling of choking.
Nausea or abdominal distress.
Feeling of unreality – feeling “not here”.
Numbness or tingling in hands or feet.
Hot and cold flashes.
As you can see, many signs of anxiety disorders are also symptoms of withdrawal.
The problem amplifies because many addicts/alcoholics have a low tolerance for
discomfort. They will focus on the fact that they are “Anxious”.
Many alcoholics and/or addicts have spent so many years self medicating this
Discomfort will seem unbearable.
Some of the “common” discomforts associated with early recovery that I see include:
Restlessness- feeling keyed up.
Being fatigued, never feeling rested.
Difficulties with sleep.
If a person is struggling with the concept that addiction is a disease, I have found that
they will be quick to find a Doctor that will prescribe Zanax or equivalent, so they can
feel comfortable. I have found it to be true that when a person just stops the drug of
choice (puts the plug in the jug); the untreated condition can best be described as irritable,
restless and discontent.
There is a great value of not allowing oneself to be overly deprived of rest, sleep, fellowship and food as it is an important part of managing your life.
Depending on the level of Anxiety one experiences will determine the nature of treatment.
Great care needs to be taken if medications such as Zanax are prescribed.
Your Doctor should have a full history of your addictions and he should also be
experienced in treating persons in recovery.
There are however, many different ways in which we can approach treating anxiety after an appropriate diagnosis has been made.
The first valuable tool we can learn is relaxation.
One side note here is that I have noticed that many people with anxiety problems also
have a tendency toward being obsessive.
Whether the obsession is gambling, pornography or cleaning, it is still an obsession.
The irrational thinking that appears is that while the person is in their “obsession”, they
are not thinking about anything else. While they are focused on gambling,
they are not thinking about everyday problems they may be having at home or work,
therefore, they believe they are not “stressing”.
I find this to be a faulty belief because when a person is acting within their obsession,
they are in fact in a highly stressed physical condition.
This condition highly resembles Darwin’s fight or flight theory.
So we must have good insight toward our motives and choices. So to work on removing anxiety and controlling stress along with relaxation, we can use many forms of exercise. If we have deep and intense fears r phobias, we can learn desensitization techniques.
We can overcome negative self talk and change mistaken beliefs. Through meditation and visualization, we can learn positive thinking and how to appropriately express our feelings. To overcome our fears, we can learn to be appropriately assertive. To raise our self esteem, we must DO acts that promote esteem.