Mindfulness for Approaching Anxiety after Addiction

Young female student sitting near a tree and studying.

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

For many individuals, addictive behaviors stem from or occur with underlying disorders. This might include mood disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders. For some people, an addiction may arise as a means of coping with a co-occurring mental illness that has not been addressed or treated.

As an example, a person who struggles with intense episodes of anxiety may turn to drugs to cope with the overwhelming feelings they may be experiencing. A person who has used anti-anxiety pills as a means of controlling anxiety may also develop an addiction to medication to cope with the feelings encountered on a regular basis.

Alternative Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety

Learning alternative and healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety is an essential component of recovering from an addiction. This can be done through a variety of approaches, many which can be taught through psychotherapy sessions.

Having the help and assistance of a qualified professional can be a valuable tool in learning how to cope with anxiety outside of an addiction. One method that might be used for this purpose is the practice of mindfulness.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be defined as the mental state achieved by focusing awareness on a present moment, including consciousness of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. The practice of mindfulness is a technique that can benefit both body and mind and effectively help a person cope with anxiety.

mountainMindfulness can also help a person react to situations more effectively, overcome difficult situations, and better manage a balance between emotions and reactions.

Identifying Situations that Cause Anxiety

For the person struggling with anxiety, mindfulness is a technique that can be integrated to help identify the sensations that may arise when anxiety levels are increasing. By practicing awareness of anxious symptoms and sensations rather than withdrawing or reacting to these feelings, a person can better manage what they are experiencing and more efficiently process negative thoughts and experiences.

The mindfulness technique is something that can be learned and integrated with guidance and practice. If you or someone you love is recovering from an addiction and desiring more effective ways to cope with anxiety, consider reaching out to a professional to learn the practice of mindfulness.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

How has mindfulness helped you or a loved one in your recovery journey from addiction?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 1st, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com