Everyone is suffering from some level of anxiety right now. All over the world, people that do not typically experience anxiety are starting to feel extraordinarily worried. All of us need to manage our stress and keep it in check. But, how is this possible when trapped at home with no end in sight? First and foremost, it is important to distinguish between chronic and situational anxiety.
What is the Difference Between Chronic and Situational Anxiety?
The first thing that we need to know is that anxiety is a very normal reaction to stressors that we encounter in everyday life. Certainly, our current situation with the threat of COVID-19, and many of us experiencing unemployment and uncertain future finances are causes for a healthy amount of anxiety. Managing our stress without using drugs or alcohol is going to be critical for many of us returning to normalcy.
Unfortunately, managing anxiety and keeping up with anxiety treatment will be more difficult for those with chronic conditions. Often, people with generalized anxiety disorders experience a disproportionate amount of fear when encountering life’s regular stressors. In a situation like what we are facing today, people with chronic anxiety conditions can start to have frightening physical and emotional effects such as excessive sweating, racing thoughts, rapid heartbeat, headaches, nausea, and inability to connect or concentrate.
If you feel that you are suffering from anxiety that is beyond the current norms, you must seek anxiety treatment and avoid self-treating with drugs and alcohol.
How Do Drugs and Alcohol Affect Anxiety Treatment?
The problem with trying to manage anxiety with drugs or alcohol is that you will only experience temporary relief. More often than not, self-medicating as anxiety treatment will result in an unhealthy cycle of abuse. Furthermore, your regular anxiety treatment might include prescribed medications such as benzodiazepines. Alcohol and other sedatives can cause severe reactions or even death from overdose. Also, the abuse of other legal and non-legal drugs will render anxiety medications ineffective and can exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder.
If you are working with a therapist to get a handle on an anxiety disorder, it is imperative that you a forthcoming about any alcohol and drug use.
Anxiety Treatment in Times of Uncertainty
In response to the current epidemic and an overwhelming sense of fear permeating our society, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America published a list of suggestions about managing anxiety during the quarantine. If you aren’t under the care of a professional, or you are unable to get out to see a therapist, you may find some of the following helpful:
- Find out if your therapist is offering telehealth appointments. If not, there are many resources available to find a professional engaging in telehealth options.
- It is easy to get mired down in negative thoughts. Divert your attention away from the feelings of being trapped. Focus on productivity can help decrease anxiety. We all have projects at home that we have been putting off.
- Turn off the TV and unplug. Media paid to report on the virus continually; you don’t have to listen. While statistics may be changing hour to hour, what you need to know will not. You can stay informed without staying glued to the news and social media.
- Maintain a routine. Get up, get dressed, do your chores, feed your body and your mind.
- Start a new ritual. Write in a journal every morning, before bed, or both. Schedule a time to take a long walk outside or call someone special every day.
- Make sure that you are sticking to your anxiety meds if you have them and try to avoid self-medicating with drugs and alcohol
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Whether you are struggling with situational anxiety or a chronic condition, try to remember we are all in this together. If you are self-medicating, feel that you are abusing drugs or alcohol, there is still help available. We are here to help you find your way onto the path of recovery. Contact Serenity House Detox & Recovery today by calling 866.294.5306, and we will be here to help you break the chains of addiction.