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Coping With Anxiety In Recovery – Part One

Coping with Anxiety

This is part one in a three-part series about coping with anxiety in recovery.

If You Have Anxiety – You Are Not Alone

If you suffer from the debilitating effects of anxiety, you are not alone. Anxiety is a worldwide phenomenon that impacts people of every age, gender, culture, religion, and socioeconomic background. Those who are in recovery from drug addiction, alcoholism, or a behavioral addiction are especially prone to anxiety.

According to a study conducted by the University of Queensland in Australia and published in the Psychological Medicine, anxiety—the most common of all mental disorders—currently affects about one in thirteen people or 7.3 percent of the worldwide population. More specifically, clinical anxiety affects around 10 percent of people in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Because anxiety can cause people to isolate, those who struggle with an anxiety disorder often feel very much alone. Anxiety can make someone feel as if no one understands or relates to their situation. This is simply not true. If you have anxiety, we want you to know that many people around the world do understand you and know what you are going through. We also want you to know that anxiety is treatable and there are things you can do to lessen the severity of anxiety so you can manage it.

What Is Anxiety?

The dictionary defines anxiety as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” Feeling anxiety is part of the human experience. There are certain situations where it is appropriate to feel anxious because it is a natural, healthy response to life.

For example, if you have to give an important presentation at work, you might feel some anxiety about your performance. Or, you might feel anxious when meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. You may experience anxiety when you start a new job. In these circumstances, the anxiety usually passes rather quickly and it is completely manageable for the person who experiences it.

For those who have an anxiety disorder like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Social Anxiety Disorder, or Panic Disorder; anxiety presents itself unnecessarily for no apparent reason. It can consume a person to the degree that they cannot function effectively or perform necessary tasks. An anxiety disorder can impair someone’s ability to cope and leave them feeling paralyzed.

Diagnosing An Anxiety Disorder Can Be Tricky

Many people have clinical anxiety issues and don’t realize it. Because anxiety affects the individual so profoundly, someone can have an anxiety disorder and convince themselves that their symptoms are just a part of their personality. They may think they are just a “worry wart” or believe that what they experience is normal and that everybody responds to life the way they do.

On the flip side, many people who have an anxiety disorder know that something is terribly wrong with them. They just don’t know what it is. They may feel as if they are going crazy and tell themselves that they must be insane. They know that they are somehow different from others, but they just can’t put their finger on the problem.

Quite often, those who have an anxiety disorder will live with their condition and suffer through it for years before they become willing to seek help. Do you have a problem with anxiety? If so, you may need to visit a mental health specialist to get a proper diagnosis. Check out part-two in this three-part series about coping with anxiety in recovery to learn the signs and symptoms of clinical anxiety.

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