According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to hit people battling a substance use disorder (SUD) really hard. Those with an anxiety disorder or prone to using drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety symptoms may also wind up needing anxiety treatment during this time.

Meanwhile, widespread panic continues as more coronavirus cases and deaths are confirmed in the US. Hundreds of thousands of people are infected in countries like China and Italy. Italy alone reported 793 deaths from the disease in one day. These reports create fear and uncertainties and leave substance abusers on edge. 

Anxiety and Substance Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with preexisting mental health conditions, e.g., anxiety or depression, should pay attention to new or worsening symptoms. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may need some form of anxiety treatment. 

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress or fear, real or perceived. It can become chronic or turn into an anxiety disorder if the symptoms persist for weeks and interfere with daily activities. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health disorders that include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and panic attacks, and social anxiety disorder (SAD). Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

  • Extreme worry or fear
  • Panic, rapid breathing, or increased heart rate
  • Feeling on edge, nervous, or irritable 
  • Feeling a sense of impending danger or doom
  • Sweating or shaking
  • Trouble sleeping

Anxiety is both a cause and a side effect of drug and alcohol abuse. Those already battling addiction may feel vulnerable because of limited resources or having to remain isolated at home. The CDC recommends staying quarantined as a social distancing strategy to reduce the spread of the virus. However, isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of self-medicating with substances to cope, withdrawal anxiety, relapse, or overdose.

Anxiety Treatment for Substance Users

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, overcoming addiction should still remain a priority for people addicted to drugs or alcohol. Your mental health should also be a priority whether you try to cope at home or seek treatment at an addiction treatment center near you. Thus far, there’s no evidence that rehab facilities are more likely to be affected by the outbreak than any other place.

Westwind Recovery® makes sure new and incoming clients for residential addiction treatment continue to receive round-the-clock monitoring by medical staff in a safe and highly-structured environment. They can also receive mental health treatment which may involve anxiety treatment or treatment for another co-occurring disorder such as depression. Treatment for anxiety generally involves medication therapy and/or individual and group therapy.

Both anti-anxiety or anti-depressant drugs can be prescribed to restore chemical balance in the brain. This helps to minimize the symptoms and provide a sense of calm. During psychotherapy, you will earn how to manage stress and break thought patterns that trigger anxiety symptoms.

Managing Stress and Anxiety with Self Care

There are things you can do to combat anxiety as you wait for the COVID-19 crisis to be over. Here are a few tips that may help reduce stress, fear, and panic whether you are at home or at an anxiety treatment center. 

  • Try to get accurate information about the coronavirus and the risks involved.
  • Take breaks from watching the news and following social media updates. Repeatedly hearing about the outbreak can overwhelm you.
  • Eat well-balanced meals, practice living in the moment (mindfulness), and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise, relax, meditate and try different breathing techniques to calm and center yourself.
  • Let trusted family and loved ones know how you feel and lean on them for support.

So reach out to us today at 855.340.8832 if anxiety symptoms persist or start disrupting your daily activities for several days in a row.