Dealing With Anxiety if You Have the Double Whammy

2219484872_c27467076e_zDealing with anxiety and addiction recovery at the same time means learning several different mindsets. After being med-free for three years, I came to accept that I was dealing with anxiety. I had lost 23 pounds mainly by intermittent fasting throughout 2015. Then in November. 2015, I had such severe sleeplessness–I mean totally and completely awake–that I thought if I ate something during my fasting periods I might be able to sleep better. I gained 6 pounds by Christmas. And I was very anxious because I wasn’t getting much rest.

So, back to the doctor I went. I have a great doctor and have gotten some of my friends to go to him. So we enjoy the office visits. Medication is the only way to get me stabilized. I walk 1/2 hour every morning with a friend who is a neighbor. Love the exercise and being with her. But the medication is slowly getting me back to my real self. I always say that the medication only gives you the foundation to work on your mental health program. It doesn’t do the real work. I have to do that.

  1. From Dr. David Sack (one of my favorites): “3 Things You Should Know if You’re Struggling With Anxiety.”:

Mention your anxiety to your doctor and you are likely to leave his or her office with a prescription for a benzodiazepine such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium or Klonopin and told to “see how it goes.”

The problem is that these antianxiety medications are, at best, a short-term aid and shouldn’t be used for more than six or eight weeks. Yet far too many people end up relying on them long-term, sometimes for years, which research now makes clear is not only ineffective but also causes brain changes that can lead to tolerance and dependence. Stop the drug after extended use and the result will likely be distressing withdrawal symptoms such as rebound anxiety, insomnia and agitation.

As the chief medical officer of a network of addiction treatment centers, I can testify that this scenario, sadly, is all too common. We help many whose attempts to deal with their anxiety have led them to over reliance on benzodiazepines, which are now among the most commonly abused prescription drugs.

The lesson here is that if your doctor suggests an antianxiety medication, don’t just take the prescription and run. Make sure your use remains brief and your progress is monitored. You must also ask this vital question: What else can I do?

A number of nonmedical behavioral interventions have been shown to be effective in dealing with anxiety, including psychotherapy, biofeedback, neurofeedback, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation and breathing techniques, better nutrition, and all types of exercise, especially yoga, aerobic workouts and walking.

These interventions require time and effort before their effects are felt, of course. In the interim, antianxiety medication can act as a bridge, providing relief and reducing symptoms as you improve. Just don’t expect that prescription to be your sole solution.

Read more here.

2.  From Faigie Kobre: “How Using Your Hands Creatively Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety“:

According to the books, creative hand use, when done right, could relieve anxiety and stress in the following ways:

You gain more self-awareness.

Painting and doing art from imagination evokes thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that block us in normal day-to-day experience. It loosens up our thinking and leads to notice how we make decisions.

Do we hide from our mistakes or try to cover them up? Can we let go and be responsive to the moment or do we need stay in control? Are we scared of making a mess, looking silly, not being good enough? All of these things come into play as we create without preconceived ideas and embrace the results.

Once you have this new awareness, you can use it to make better choices and be more effective. This will help clear up your anxieties thus making you happier and less stressed.

You become more resilient.

As you create, you might find that sometimes you try something that doesn’t work out quite as you thought it would. You learn to accept this and simply continue with the process. You continue and try to make the best of what you’ve got. After a while, you’ll notice that when things in your life don’t go as planned or when you’ve made a mistake, you can more quickly recover and move on.

You become more confident in your decisions.

By valuing the process of what you are doing, you learn how you make decisions. Simple projects need many small decisions that lead to larger ones. As you make decisions and notice that you can deal with any of their outcomes, you begin to have less anxiety and more confidence in your decision-making.

You experience peace of mind, tranquility, and sense of well-being.

Certain types of creative work put you into a meditative state as you focus on what you are doing by being strictly in the moment. This will also give you all the benefits that meditation promises, like peace of mind, tranquility, and a sense of well-being that leads to a less stressful life

Read more here.

Photo credit.

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