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Alternatives to Anxiety Medication

Everyone struggles with fear, especially in early recovery. We are trying to engage in our recovery program and find a sense of ease and comfort, but the familiar feelings of fear and anxiety seem to steadily creep back in. Many of us were using substances, especially benzodiazepines, as a means of providing immediate relief from our worries, but they inevitably compounded the problem. There are, however, many alternatives to treating anxiety without reliance upon drugs or alcohol.

A quick way to assess our anxiety is by using HALT. HALT is an acronym that many men and women in recovery rely on; it stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. We often find that our anxiety is either caused by or exacerbated by something as simple as being hungry. Dr. Drew Ramsey, in his book The Happiness Diet, explains that “almost universally, people get more anxious and irritable when they are hungry”, and “when you have and anxiety attack, it may mean your blood sugar is dropping. The best thing to do is to have a quick sustaining snack, like a handful of walnuts, or a piece of dark chocolate, along with a glass of water or a nice cup of hot tea.” Chamomile tea, especially, is well-known for its calming effects. Chamomile, along with other herbs such as passionflower and valerian root, have been proven in small clinical trials to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

Sometimes, our anxiety stems from very real external stressors in our lives. In these cases, the best ways to achieve relief and improve our mental state is by engaging in exercise and meditation. According to Dr. Harold A. Bloomfield, author of Healing Anxiety with Herbs: “Regular exercise, especially aerobics, can provide a powerful antidote to stress and anxiety. Research indicated that the happiest, healthiest people, at every age, are those who exercise regularly.” Meditation is another option for anxiety relief. When we meditate, our heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone production rates lower, providing a feeling of relaxation and serenity. Mediation brings us into a state that is the exact opposite of the “flight or flight” response that we find ourselves in when anxiety takes hold. We find that, with such an array of options that we can incorporate into our daily life, anxiety can be managed without the use of addictive mind and mood-altering chemicals.

Anxiety is a common experience for those living with addiction or those struggling to stay sober. If you are trying to manage anxiety and addiction, there is treatment available for you. Cultivating resilience for lasting wellness, Resilient House offers co-ed programs on a full continuum of care providing holistic and clinical expertise for recovery. Our 50,000 square foot facility in Shreveport provides the tranquility and serenity you need to heal your mind, body, and spirit. It’s time to live. Ready, set, go: 833-CHANGE1