If you or a loved one is prone to anxiety and in recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction, knowing how to manage symptoms can be concerning. The anxiety might have been the reason why you or a loved one began using drugs or alcohol in the first place.
Unfortunately, self-medication is never effective. As a matter of fact, it can make the anxiety worse by causing paranoia, confusion and a rapid heartbeat. Also, the thought of having to face anxiety without the drug can bring on more panic.
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Now that you have reached a point where help is being received, your care team might recommend managing the anxiety without pharmaceutical intervention. There are plenty of ways that you can manage anxiety or help your loved one manage theirs, so it’s important to keep an open mind.
If you find that these exercises are not effective, talk to your doctor about what you can do. Some cases of anxiety require medication. Always talk to your doctor before stopping or starting any treatment regimen.
1. Try Deep Breathing Exercises
Shallow breathing is one of the symptoms of an anxiety attack. It makes sense, considering that the way you breathe depends on the environment you’re in. If you’re scared, you might breathe fast and heavy. If you’re stressed, you might try to hold your breath in.
Controlling your breathing is an excellent way to manage your anxiety. When you begin to feel symptoms, take a deep breath. It sounds simple, but practicing this can stop your body from going into a fight-or-flight response and help your heart rate return to normal.
2. Exercise Every Day
During rehab, you learn the importance of a physically active lifestyle. You don’t have to do anything fancy to reap the benefits, either. Walking, riding bikes, lifting weights or swimming all offer the same emotional and physical benefits.
Exercise is also wonderful for controlling anxiety. Physical activity increases circulation, bringing more oxygen to the brain. It also stimulates feel-good chemicals and promotes positive feelings. All of this helps prevent and manage the feelings associated with anxiety.
3. Practice Meditation or Yoga
Meditation is an effective way to reduce anxiety and distance yourself from the stresses in your life. Meditation does take practice, so be patient if it doesn’t work right away. Over time, you’ll see that regular meditation eliminates negative thought patterns.
Yoga is another practice that can be highly effective at managing anxiety attacks. In fact, the proper yoga routine can deliver the benefits of both exercise and meditation. The stretching tones your body, improves circulation and releases feel-good chemicals in the brain. The deep breathing and long poses aid in meditative thinking.
These are just a few of the ways that you can combat anxiety without the use of medication. Many people manage their anxiety without the use of drugs, and you can, too!