Anxiety and worry are typical feelings experienced at different stages of life. However, when anxiety and worry become excessive, it can hinder your life quality, even interfering with daily life activities. This type of anxiety disorder is known as generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, and it varies from different feelings of anxiousness. Additionally, these worries might become out of your control, and you might find yourself worrying about certain things multiple times a day for months on end, even when there is no reason to be worried.
Alternatively, you might worry or become anxious without knowing the source, and therefore cannot calm yourself. This worry can reach unrealistic heights and become damaging to your health and relationships. As a result, you could develop a disorder such as using alcohol to cope. While alcohol can make you feel less anxious immediately, long-term use could develop into a severe problem that will worsen your health and create negative thoughts and behaviors. Treating your generalized anxiety disorder will help you manage your substance use disorder. Treatment aims to help you cope with anxious situations without turning to drugs and other substances.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is regular therapy sessions with a mental health professional and a primary therapy to treat GAD and SUDs. This therapy’s structure is to work with you to help change your thinking and behaviors to create permanent change. Additionally, CBT offers a range of techniques that could help you overcome and manage these disorders.
CBT will help you to identify negative thoughts and thinking patterns. While this can be difficult, especially if you struggle with introspection, it is essential to understand how your negative thoughts and beliefs affect your emotional and behavioral states. Such practice can lead to self-discovery, insights crucial to the treatment process, and help sustain longevity in your recovery.
Practice New Skills
It is essential that while in early treatment, you understand that you are preparing for a world outside of treatment. This thought alone could often trigger anxiety and, in turn, the impulse to drink or use drugs. It is imperative to practice skills and create tools to manage real-world pressures. You can start by learning a new coping skill to help you deal with situations that might trigger a relapse. Additionally, you will work with your mental health specialist and rehearse such cases to help you further identify how and why you feel a certain way. Such coping skills could include mindfulness, meditation, therapy, exercise, and hobbies.
Setting goals is another essential element for longevity in recovery. The CBT process will help you learn how to set reasonable goals and manage your expectations while doing so. These goals help you make changes to your health and lifestyle. Your therapist can help you identify your goals and distinguish between short and long-term goals. You will also develop the patience to focus just as much on the process as the outcome. The model used to set these goals is called the SMART model, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Limited. Having goals will help motivate and hold you accountable in your recovery. Because your anxiety can hinder your progress, using the SMART model will help you move at a pace that reaffirms the use of rational and logical thinking to set your goals not to feel overwhelmed.
Learning how to problem-solve will further support your progress in meeting your goals. It will allow you to identify situations that perpetuate stress and anxiety and reduce their negative impact. The CBT model will often involve five steps to solving a problem:
- Identifying a problem
- Making a list of solutions
- Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each solution
- Choosing a solution
- Implementing this solution
Practicing these skills will only help strengthen your patience and resilience to stressful situations. They also support rational and logical thinking, so over time the impulse to have a drink won’t be what your brain defaults to.
When you finish treatment, it is up to you to monitor your behaviors that come from life’s challenges. While you always have the support of a therapist and friends and family, you are still the first line of defense to identifying and managing a challenging situation. It is vital to continue to track your progress, including behaviors and symptoms you might experience after a triggering problem.
Anxiety and substance abuse disorders can quickly become triggered. You want to remind yourself of the tools you have to combat these triggers before acting, such as what you learn from CBT. Remember, you can’t ever absolve yourself of your disorder – anxiety and stress are part of life. At New Hope Ranch, our effort is to provide treatment relevant to your needs and promote long-lasting recovery. We also understand how difficult managing recovery can be at times, which is why we are always here to help. When you find it challenging to manage your recovery or feel as though you are in the grips of addiction because of anxiety, it is time to seek help. To learn more, call us today at (737) 600-8565.