Disorder Rehabilitation | Anxiety
Anxiety is part of our body’s natural survival mechanism. Also known as the stress response, anxiety is our warning signal that something potentially threatening is occurring. It puts us on alert and makes us vigilant. It also prepares our bodies to take action if needed, beginning the ‘fight or flight’ response. Anxiety problems leave us living in that heightened stressful state even when there is no threat.
The brain adapts to constantly scanning for danger and being prepared to save our lives, thus keeping us in a constant state of hypervigilance. Hypervigilance is also accompanied by anxiety and ultimately exhaustion since no living organism is designed to live in perpetual stress. The brain does not differentiate between a real threat and a perceived threat. The limbic brain is part of the unconscious mind and therefore is not healed through rational thought. Very often a person is not even aware of the cause of the anxiety.
Pharmaceuticals do not address the cause of anxiety and only reduce the symptoms. Often these drugs are habit forming and have a rebound effect. Thus, a person’s condition is worse after taking these drugs than the original condition they were prescribed to treat. Simply managing this with comforting thoughts, medication or soothing activity doesn’t make lasting changes. Real change occurs when the brain adapts to different ‘brain habits’ and operates more normally.
The interaction of the addiction and anxiety is complex and for the person who has them, it can feel like an overwhelmingly hopeless situation. A vicious cycle develops in which symptoms of anxiety make addiction worse and symptoms of addiction make anxiety worse. These dynamics result in more substance use to seek relief. However, using more deepens anxiety and most people continue self-medicating, making the problem a chronic and progressive one. This vicious cycle interrupts daily life, progressively eroding the quality of life. It also plays a significant role in other problems that can develop such as depression, lost life opportunities, loneliness and isolation.
One of the most tragic results of co-occurring anxiety and addiction is the high risk of returning to substance use despite earnest efforts to stop using. This occurs if both conditions are not successfully resolved. Many addicted people with unresolved anxiety have suffered through addiction relapse after relapse despite arduous efforts to recover. It is difficult to maintain hope when trapped in the vicious cycle of anxiety and addiction constantly triggering one another.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the U.S. affecting about 40 million adults.1 Its pervasive burden is reflected in other statistics:
The good news is that we finally understand how anxiety works in the human brain. With that information, we now have effective, holistic techniques for its resolution. Discovering the brain’s neuroplasticity, or its natural ability to adapt and change, has made this possible. Some have said that the discovery of neuroplasticity is one of the most dramatic medical breakthroughs in the last few hundred years. Certainly, for those who suffer from anxiety and addiction, it has made the difference between ‘recovery failure’ and leading a sustainable and healthy life. People can now heal their anxiety rather than just manage it.
The Sanctuary’s Integrative Addiction Recoverysm program offers you a non 12 Step, holistic recovery program that addresses addiction and anxiety simultaneously. We work with you to heal the underlying causes of both conditions to improve the quality of your life through a full and sustainable recovery. We provide:
If you would like to talk with us more about our program or our methods, please contact us.
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