Anxiety and depression are two common illnesses that affect women with substance abuse and addiction problems. Neither illness causes the other, so we call these co-occurring or dual diagnosis disorders since they often occur side-by-side. According to a report published by the American Medical Association, thirty-seven percent of alcohol abusers and fifty-three percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness – including depression or anxiety.
Why is it important to treat both the substance abuse and mental illness?
It is very difficult to tell what the primary diagnosis is for a woman suffering from anxiety and depression and substance abuse, so it is important to treat the disorders simultaneously. Every woman is different and the cause of her substance abuse is unique to her. Some women use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, while for others an addiction to drugs and alcohol causes psychiatric problems. Treating both is vital to long term sobriety and success, but even after rehab there are steps a woman can take to deal with her anxiety and depression outside of a treatment setting.
How Can I Cope with Anxiety and Depression After Rehab?
For many women, life after rehab is exhilarating. Getting clean is a huge accomplishment and most women want to stay that way after rehab. Living a long and healthy life after rehab requires not only a commitment to sobriety, but a commitment to dealing with underlying anxiety and depression. Even after leaving a rehab facility, some women may find it helpful to continue mental health treatment as well as substance abuse counseling. Here are some techniques that we recommend for coping with anxiety and depression.
Teach yourself to relax: Read a good book either on a mobile device or an old-fashioned paperback. Alternately, you could listen to soothing music or a guided mediation to help lower blood pressure and bring calming thoughts.
Get moving: Lack of motivation can prevent you from going out and doing anything enjoyable. Take a walk or a bike ride in a familiar area. Go to the gym or work out in a home gym. If you have a physical activity or sport that you normally enjoy, push yourself to get active. The most important thing is to move your body in order to increase your endorphins!
Get Creative: Any hobby that involves a lot of thought such as scrapbooking, stamping, painting, sewing, pottery, or beading also requires a lot of patience. Anxiety and depression can zap energy levels and make simple tasks hard to focus on. By forcing your focus on a small project, your attention will be drawn to only that task.
Surround yourself with love and support: Both anxiety and depression can cause you to isolate yourself in your house or your work. This usually happens when trying to avoid additional conflict; however, positive people can make a marked change in your outlook. Call a friend that supports your sobriety. Focus on being a good friend by listening and sharing to help ease your own anxiety and depression.
If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, depression, addiction, or substance abuse problems, our community is supportive, welcoming and would love to help you. Please call us today. It is never a wrong time to seek treatment and to get back on the healthy, sober path. Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a full service drug and alcohol addiction and women’s health treatment facility in Florida for women who suffer from substance abuse and behavioral health issues.