Many people who struggle with addiction also struggle with anxiety. Addressing both substance use disorder (SUD) and anxiety simultaneously is imperative to recovery. Due to this, many people may wonder if they can take anxiety medication in recovery.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal part of life. It refers to feelings of worry, which many people experience from time to time. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “[A]nxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For people with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time.”
There are multiple types of anxiety disorders, each with their own symptoms. Common types of anxiety and their symptoms include the following:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on edge
- Easily tired
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Headaches, muscle aches, and unexplained pains
- Problems sleeping
- Panic disorder
- Pounding or racing heart
- Chest pain
- Feeling impending doom
- Social anxiety disorder
- Anxiety around social situations
- Blushing, sweating, or trembling
- Pounding or racing heart
- Difficulty making eye contact
- Feeling self-conscious or judged
- Phobia-related disorders
- Irrational or excessive worry about encountering a feared object or situation
- Experiencing immediate, intense anxiety upon encountering a feared object or situation
The Connection Between Anxiety and Addiction
When someone experiences addiction and an anxiety disorder, this is known as a co-occurring disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Co-occurring disorders may include any combination of two or more substance use disorders and mental disorders.”
When talking about co-occurring disorders, either disorder can precede the other. For example, someone who is struggling with addiction may develop anxiety as a result of their substance use. On the other hand, someone with an anxiety disorder may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to relieve their symptoms, leading to addiction.
Taking Anxiety Medication in Recovery
For people in recovery from addiction, the thought of taking medication can be scary. They may fear that medications will be addictive, leading them back down the path of addiction. However, general anxiety medication does not make a person high. Instead, ant-anxiety medications tackle symptoms to help make recovery more manageable.
Common anxiety medication prescribed to manage symptoms includes the following:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): Used to treat depression and anxiety by correcting brain chemical deficiencies
- Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): Similar to SSRIs, used for anxiety if SSRIs do not work
- Buspirone: Common treatment for GAD and does not have addictive properties
- Beta-blockers: Blocks the body chemicals that cause many physical anxiety symptoms like rapid heartbeat, jitters, and high blood pressure
Anxiety Medication That Can Be Addictive
While most anxiety medication can be taken in recovery without the fear of it becoming addictive, there are some anxiety medications that individuals should be wary of. These medications include benzodiazepines. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “Benzodiazepines are depressants that produce sedation and hypnosis, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and reduce seizures.” The most common benzodiazepines are Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin. While these medications are effective in treating anxiety, they can be highly addictive.
Overcoming Anxiety and Addiction With Lantana Recovery
According to NIMH, “Anxiety disorders are generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both.” At Lantana Recovery, we offer outpatient services that include psychiatric medication management and psychotherapy to help you overcome your anxiety and addiction. We are well-equipped to help clients with various medications.
We offer various treatment methods that can provide skills that can help you overcome both anxiety and addiction. Therapies such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and holistic treatment measures can treat anxiety and addiction at the root.
CBT is a form of talk or psychological therapy. It can help you alleviate stress through verbal expression and letting out your feelings. What you feel can hold and take up a physical weight that needs to be released. CBT allows you to process and let go of that weight.
DBT is another form of talk therapy, but it helps you to understand yourself in different ways. With this form of therapy, you can get to the core of whatever you experienced in life that caused you to disconnect. It helps you feel safe and stray away from harmful behavior.
Yoga, exercise, and breathwork are some forms of holistic therapy. This form of therapy allows you to work through your trauma, pain, and mental anguish from the inside out or the outside in. It shows you how to find peace and center yourself without the need for substances.
If you are struggling with addiction and anxiety, Lantana Recovery can help you treat both. Yes, you can still take your anxiety medication in recovery. Combined with our various treatment options, we believe you can overcome addiction and anxiety to live a happy, healthy life.
Anxiety and addiction go hand-in-hand for many people. While in recovery, you may fear that you cannot take anxiety medication. However, this is not the case. There are many medications available without addictive properties that can help you manage your anxiety in recovery. If you are struggling with anxiety and addiction, Lantana Recovery is here to help. At Lantana Recovery, we offer outpatient services to help you find freedom from co-occurring disorders. Through our various evidence-based and holistic treatment methods, we can empower you to live a life of recovery. For more information on Lantana Recovery, overcoming anxiety and addiction, and the programs we offer, call us today at (866) 997-2870.