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Friday, January 25, 2019

The Link Between Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety is a short word fraught with heavy connotations, both for people who struggle with its symptoms and the people who care about them. While most people can easily grasp what anxiety entails, its ramifications can be surprising, particularly the connection between anxiety and substance misuse. For people who suffer from anxiety and addiction as co-occurring disorders, a vital part of recovery includes grasping the full scope of anxiety and what it means for people who have developed an addiction.

What Is Anxiety?

The dictionary definition of anxiety is a feeling of dread or worry about the future. Short-term anxiety is a normal and healthy response to stressful situations such as a job interview or an important exam. In medical terms, however, anxiety refers to excessive and prolonged episodes of fear and nervousness. Physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, nausea and elevated blood pressure may manifest on top of the emotional response.

Someone who often has recurring or intrusive periods of anxiety may have progressed into a fully fledged anxiety disorder, which can disrupt their daily life. Anxiety disorders become mental health conditions when the person experiences symptoms that are beyond their ability to prevent or control. In other words, people with anxiety disorders can never let go of their stress, and are powerless to stop the effects of their anxiety.

Anxiety disorders cause insomnia, as well as the inability to focus or relax. Even a minor problem can feel like an insurmountable hurdle to someone suffering from an anxiety disorder because their reactions to obstacles are disproportionate to the scope of the situation.

The Cycle of Drugs, Anxiety and Addiction

In stressful situations, people with anxiety disorders often turn to drug and alcohol use in a misguided attempt to self-medicate. The euphoric high drugs and alcohol can create can seem like a temporary respite from the high levels of stress, worry and fear that have become their constant companion. But these effects eventually wear off, leading the user to seek more of these dangerous substances to try to recapture the feeling.

Ironically, the same drugs that provide short-term relief can also deepen anxiety symptoms, since chemical substances can disrupt emotions that are already imbalanced. Anxiety also inhibits people’s judgment, making them less able to recognize when they are endangering themselves with their behavior, or that they have genuine mental health problem that requires professional treatment and therapy, not more drugs and alcohol to dampen their feelings.

Helping a Loved One Who Has Anxiety and Addiction

Helping someone with the co-occurring disorders of anxiety and drug addiction begins by leading them to accept the extent of their problem, and encouraging them to enter treatment and begin the recovery process. At Canyon Crossing, we are a qualified women-only recovery center in Prescott, AZ. If someone you care about is locked in the cycle of anxiety and addiction, contact us to learn more about seeking help. Achieving recovery and freedom from these burdens is possible with our caring, compassionate approach.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Learning to Let Go: Why Forgiveness Matters

People who enter addiction recovery programs often learn to make specific goals as part of their healing process. Setting goals can help you manage your progress as you work toward achieving each milestone. Learning to forgive is one of the most common goals for recovering addicts, but why is forgiving others so important?

Moving On

If you find yourself unable to reconcile unresolved feelings of anger and hurt in your life, you may be eroding your physical and emotional health. One study from experts at Johns Hopkins University suggests the act of forgiveness can calm stress levels and lower heart rate and blood pressure, among other benefits.

Some people are naturally more inclined toward forgiveness than others. However, the good news is that you can learn to become more forgiving. Just as with other life skills, you can make a conscious effort to hone your ability to forgive others and let go of past grudges.

Forgiveness in Recovery

Forgiveness is integral to the recovery process, especially when you consider how emotional burdens can weigh you down, causing self-destructive behaviors that may eventually contribute to a relapse. While it may take a significant amount of time, effort and even counseling on your part, letting go of past hurts and making amends are critical for long-term sobriety.

Abuse, trauma and harmful behavior from others can all make people more vulnerable to developing an addiction. Once you have identified the root causes of your addictive behaviors, you may understandably feel unwilling to forgive people who have caused you such significant pain and suffering. It’s critical to move on from these feelings in favor of greater well-being and acceptance in your life.

Many addicts also bear the burden of bad decisions that make them unwilling to forgive themselves. However, holding on to anger or frustration about your past actions can be even more toxic than begrudging others. The recovery journey will inevitably remind you of some of the lowest points of your addiction, which may raise emotions of guilt, anxiety or shame. Maintain a positive attitude and remind yourself of all the good reasons you decided to seek recovery in the first place.

Start Your Recovery With Us Today

Remember, recovery is an opportunity to make a fresh start in your life, starting with your commitment to a sober lifestyle. If you truly want to start anew, forgiveness is key to reclaiming inner peace. Gaining back your self-confidence and rebuilding bridges with loved ones will take time, and fully forgiving others, as well as them forgiving you, will be an ongoing process. Be patient, take things one step at a time and accept that setbacks are a normal and natural part of life.

At Canyon Crossing, our Arizona treatment program is structured to teach accountability and responsibility to women in recovery. If you are seeking lifelong sobriety, contact us today to verify your insurance and take the first step toward a fulfilling drug-free life.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Physical vs. Psychological Addiction: What’s the Difference?

Though the damaging emotional and social consequences of addiction disorders are well-documented, no two addictions are alike. Some addictions affect a person physically, while some cause psychological symptoms. Others can become both physical and psychological. Identifying the best course of treatment requires understanding the difference.

What Is Physical Addiction?

Physical addiction to drugs or alcohol occurs when your body becomes dependent on continued use of the substance to feel normal. For example, if you regularly drink caffeinated coffee or soft drinks throughout the day, you’ll likely experience mild to severe headaches if you skip a day or decide to wean yourself off these beverages. These headaches are a symptom of caffeine withdrawal – a sign your body is craving the addictive substance.

The same effect occurs when a person who is physically addicted to drugs or alcohol cuts down on their use or tries to quit completely, though the symptoms are usually much more pronounced and unpleasant than merely having a headache – and, in some cases, they can even be life-threatening. Depending on the substance, withdrawal symptoms can emerge within only a few hours of not having it in your system. The most common symptoms include:
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Chills or tremors
  • Delirium
  • Mood changes, such as anger or irritability

What Is Psychological Addiction?

A psychological dependence occurs when you have repeated intrusive thoughts about using your drug of choice. Psychological addictions are typical with drugs such as marijuana, which do not create a chemical dependency. The same is also true of a behavioral disorder like a food or gambling addiction. The compulsion to keep pursuing the activity goes long past the point where it is fun or pleasurable; instead, your mind develops a strong craving for the euphoria you get from doing it.

Though psychological addictions are usually not as dangerous as physical addictions, they can still adversely affect your life. Going without a substance your brain associates with pleasurable sensations can cause you to experience symptoms such as:
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Insomnia
  • Flu-like illness
  • Increases or decreases in appetite
  • Extreme cravings
  • Mood swings

Treating Physical and Psychological Addiction

Treatment for physical addiction usually begins with medically supervised detox to help free the body and mind from harmful substances in a safe and comfortable setting that decreases dangerous withdrawal symptoms. The time frame of the detox treatment depends on the type and length of substance use.

Psychological treatment addresses the underlying reasons that caused the person to develop their drug dependency in the first place. However, it cannot begin until the detox process is complete and the substance has fully left the user’s body.

Since addictions are not created equal, every psychological treatment plan must be tailored to each person’s individual needs. Psychological treatment often includes therapies such as family addiction counseling and 12-step recovery, alongside education that helps people develop healthy life skills and learn how to prevent a relapse.

Life-Changing Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Choosing to enter treatment for physical and psychological addiction is the first step in rebuilding your life and rediscovering your full potential. At Canyon Crossing, we offer a range of women’s-only addiction programs to help our clients achieve freedom from substance abuse. Get the help you need today.

Monday, January 7, 2019

How to Recognize Toxic Relationships

There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Everyone has flaws, and accepting that fact is part of what makes us human. However, some relationships cross the line between merely problematic into full-fledged unhealthy status. For someone in recovery, toxic relationships can be especially challenging. What is a toxic relationship, and how can you learn to spot warning signs so you can steer clear of them?

Any Relationship Can Become Toxic

Though most of the horror stories we hear about unhealthy relationships are those that have formed between romantic partners, it’s important to realize any relationship can become harmful – those between co-workers, friends and even family members can spiral into toxicity and become both mentally and physically draining to maintain.

Toxicity comes in all forms: demeaning language, physical abuse, deception and gossip, just to name a few. Toxic relationships can result in severe inner conflict that might eventually lead to mental health issues such as anger, depression or anxiety, which is why they can have such devastating effects on your life – especially if you are already struggling with the burdens of addiction.

Top Three Signs of Toxic Behavior

Anytime someone who claims to care about you routinely behaves in a way that doesn’t take your best interests into account, it can chip away at the foundation of your relationship. Here are three red flags of toxicity, though there are many more.

  1. Narcissism: Though a narcissist may not always act out of malicious intent, their self-centeredness can still take a severe toll on you. For narcissistic people, maintaining the worldview that they are superior requires them to see everyone else as being beneath them. Narcissism is characterized by a sense of entitlement and a tendency to exploit others, in addition to heightened sensitivity to criticism.
  2. Abuse: Physical abuse leaves an obvious mark, but verbal and psychological abuse – such as when someone constantly puts you down or makes you feel diminished – can be dangerous, too.
  3. Manipulative behavior: Manipulative individuals take advantage of you by convincing you to do things that only benefit them. They do not respect your boundaries or your opinions. Instead, they find and exploit your weaknesses.

When to Leave a Toxic Relationship

Some people remain in toxic relationships because they think they must. They worry about what the other person will say or do, or they tell themselves they can make the relationship work if they try harder. The truth is that cutting ties with toxic people – even if they are relatives – is often the most constructive thing you can do. Never feel guilty about loving yourself and taking the necessary steps to preserve your well-being and sobriety.

Sober Living at Canyon Crossing

Canyon Crossing provides a structured, women’s-only rehabilitation facility in Prescott, AZ, where our clients learn to live a fulfilling life without substance dependency. Contact our admissions specialists to learn more about the benefits of our unique programming.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Perfectionism in Early Recovery

Though a perfectionist attitude is often a hallmark of high achievers who push themselves to make great strides in their careers and other aspects of their lives, there is also a dark side of striving too hard. For a true perfectionist, anything even slightly less than what they see as “the best” will never be good enough. Because perfectionists beat themselves up over the slightest failure, perfectionist tendencies can make you your own worst enemy.

Addiction and Perfectionism Go Hand in Hand

There is a well-documented link between perfectionism and addiction. Perfectionists and addicts both have developed distorted worldviews that make them see themselves as “less than.” The struggle to attain perfection can also create mental burdens like alienation, anxiety and depression, which many addicts try to “self-medicate” by turning to drugs and alcohol.

Because perfectionists often believe asking for help indicates weakness, they may be the last to admit they have a problem and seek treatment for their addiction. Denial plays a role in many addicts’ lives, but for perfectionists, it can be even more significant. If you are a perfectionist, you may be unwilling to accept the degree to which you have lost control to an addiction. The fear of not achieving 100 percent success is enough to hold perfectionists with an active addiction back from entering recovery.

Overcoming Perfectionist Tendencies

Recovery can be an especially challenging time for someone with perfectionist qualities, because they are accustomed to holding themselves to an unrealistically high standard of success.

Here are some of the ways in which perfectionists might self-sabotage in recovery:
  • Believing they can never slip up. A perfectionist in the early stages of abstinence-based recovery might believe they should not face any roadblocks in their process. However, anyone who has committed to long-term recovery will tell you setbacks are a normal and acceptable part of life.
  • Setting too many goals. Perfectionists set an extremely high bar for themselves. They are used to making too many resolutions – especially around this time of year. However, having too many goals is a recipe for failure. Instead, set specific, attainable and measurable landmarks for yourself to make success more likely. Remember, recovery involves taking things one day at a time.
  • Believing they can go it alone. Instead of asking for help when they need it, most perfectionists will tell themselves they can get over an addiction on their own through sheer willpower. This attitude is not a healthy approach to managing an addiction. Attaining long-term recovery is much more likely with professional help from qualified specialists.

Start Your Recovery and Healing Today

At Canyon Crossing, we help women learn to live fulfilling and healthy lives without the burdens of drug and alcohol abuse. Contact us today to begin your recovery process and reclaim your potential.