Anxiety influences recovery greatly. There is no doubt about that whatsoever. Varying levels of anxiety are totally normal in the average human being. There is no major or impacting difference in normal anxiety levels in regular people or recovering addicts. It doesn’t really make a difference in the long run, as all humans everywhere always have a tendency to have some varying degrees of anxiety. Normal ranges of anxiety include a lot of different ranges, actually. Anxiety can be occurring in a person without them even really knowing it, as anxiety can appear on an incredibly low order of magnitude or on a pretty significant order of magnitude all while still being normal technically in normal ranges of anxiety.
When people achieve sobriety and abstinence from drug and alcohol addiction, whether they got to that point as a result of going through rehabilitation or detoxification or both, they may, in days, weeks, months, or years after that point, from time to time experience anxiety. This just happens. It comes with the territory of beating a drug or alcohol addiction and it is totally normal to feel anxious once one has obtained sobriety.
What is the Big Concern About Anxiety and Recovery?
Really, the biggest concern about anxiety as it pertains to recovery is that individuals might start to self-medicate with anti-anxiety drugs. If you have ever struggled with addiction before then you must not do this. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recovering addicts who take prescription drugs are eight times more likely to become addicted to those drugs than those who have never suffered from addiction before. Let’s take a look at some examples.
A really big substance abuse problem that has been affecting the nation lately has been with problems like the abuse of psychotropic, psychiatric, anti-anxiety, benzodiazepine and antidepressant medications. (The biggest issue with prescription drugs in this country has of course been with opiate pain relievers but other types of prescription drugs have also been causing lots of problems too). For example, more American soldiers die from suicide committed after their tour of duty as a result of being prescribed psychiatric and anti-anxiety medication than those soldiers who die on the field of battle! Furthermore, individuals who become addicted to psychiatric and anti-anxiety medications experience such a severely high level of mental addiction and chemical dependence that it is physically and mentally impossible to beat the habit without the help of a highly trained and highly skilled holistic drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation program. This is crazy because a lot of times such persons have already been to rehab!
Let’s take up another example. It is common knowledge that poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related mortality in the United States of America, with more than 40,000 deaths occurring annually. This is actually the highest that these numbers have ever been at in the history of the nation. Drugs account for no less than a full 90% of poisoning deaths, and the number of deaths from drug poisoning has increased substantially in recent years too. Sadly, a lot of these drugs that cause these poisonings are legal, supposedly safe, supposedly helpful prescription drugs like anti-anxiety medications! That’s pretty infuriating.
For more details on this point, for both the unintentional and the self-inflicted drug-poisoning types of emergency department visits, no less than one-half of visits resulted from poisoning by drugs in the categories of various analgesics, antipyretics, and anti-rheumatics or sedatives, hypnotics, tranquilizers, and other psychotropic agents. A lot of these types refer to different kinds of anti-anxiety drugs. What this means is that it is actually prescription drugs (drugs that are supposed to help us, not hurt us keep in mind) that cause the most visits to the emergency room.
It is clear that taking drugs for anxiety, even if a recovering addict feels they are on the verge of a relapse because they are suffering from anxiety, is not the answer. And it really never has been. Such persons must consider holistic options instead, as taking drugs for anxiety while in recovery simply is too risky.