The more we learn about ourselves and our addictions, the more we discover how interconnected our addictions and mental health issues are. One of the most common mental illnesses so many of us struggle with is anxiety. Anxiety and addiction are often related, and for many people they fuel each other, making each of them worse and more difficult to manage.
Many of us are desperate to seek relief from our anxiety because it can be extremely distressing, even debilitating. Our daily lives are impacted by our anxiety levels. We can find it hard to function, to keep up with our responsibilities and obligations. Sometimes just getting out of bed can feel like an insurmountable challenge. When it comes to what we feel anxious about, it can vary and can be as unique as we are as individuals. What is anxiety-provoking to one person might be meaningless to another. We might be desperately anxious about leaving the house, or having to be in public. We might fear public speaking, or driving. We might have anxiety-filled phobias, complexes and neuroses that keep us from living our lives fully and uninhibited. We might be filled with dread and panic. For many of us, our most painful life experiences and memories stay with us long afterwards in the form of anxiety.
We often feel misunderstood by people around us who can’t comprehend why we would experience so much anxiety about something they perceive to be harmless. Our anxiety can cause us to feel isolated and alone. We can feel desperate to want to escape our thoughts. More than anything we don’t want to feel the pain of our anxious thoughts anymore. Many of us turn to addiction to try to numb the pain and make us forget. When we are zoned out, or feel elevated, the severity of the thoughts can be reduced. We feel some relief. We’re provided with a temporary escape.
Our anxiety is a major factor in why we become so dependent on our addictions. It’s our anxiety we’re running from and trying to avoid. When we come down from our high and are inundated with our anxious thoughts all over again, we want nothing more than to get back to that numb place of avoidance. We feel desperation, despair and hopelessness. We haven’t learned healthy coping strategies for our anxiety, so we convince ourselves that our addictions are the only way we can manage them and give ourselves some relief.
We treat substance abuse problems as well as the co-occurring disorders that often accompany them. If you struggle with both anxiety and addiction, Bayview Recovery can provide you with the care you need to regain your health. Call 888-570-7154 for more information.