30% of the American adult population lives with some kind of an anxiety disorder. Only a small percentage of those struggling will ever seek treatment. Problematically, many of them are not aware that they have an anxiety disorder which needs to be treated. Instead, they live with labels of being fearful, being sensitive, being afraid, or worrying too much.
Coping with anxiety can be done in healthy ways or unhealthy ways. Many people who live with anxiety find themselves developing mechanisms for coping which work best for them, even if they aren’t healthy ones. When someone creates a coping mechanism, no matter how unhealthy, they stick to that routine because it has a benefit of some sort which works for them. Abusing mind altering substances like drugs and alcohol is one of these coping mechanisms. Co-occurring anxiety and addiction is common. Though the drugs and alcohol pose equally as significant a problem as the anxiety, the payoff of the effects of the substances is enough. Drugs and alcohol can either depress the system to reduce the tense feelings of worry or they can excite the system to create a kind of tension that feels more in control. Unfortunately with substance abuse, especially when co-occurring with anxiety, control does not last long. As chemical dependency full develops, the coping mechanism of substance abuse becomes a more serious manner of survival.
Avoiding the combination of anxiety and substance abuse is possible. Here are 5 ways you can reduce your risk or watch over a loved one living with anxiety
10 Minutes Of Exercise
Exercise is one of the ways that the Anxiety And Depression Association Of America recommends coping with anxiety. As little as ten minutes of exercise can clear up anxiety and produce hormones which focus the brain in a different direction.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Incorporating mindfulness into the home at an early age can help children learn how to manage their stress as well as their emotions. Mindfulness meditation practices reduce the heart rate and concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Balanced Diet And Nutrition
The brain needs essential fatty amino acids to function. Low sugar and low processed food diets help keep mood swings and emotional excitement to a minimum. Creating healthy meals as a process can be good for managing anxiety around food.
Avalon Malibu is one of southern California’s leading dual diagnosis treatment centers providing primary care for both mental health conditions and substance use disorders. For a confidential assessment and more information on our trusted programs, call 1 888-958-7511.