Emotional addiction – the toll of worrying and anxiety

Our emotions are part of the subtle fabric that makes us human. Emotions are often the reaction to events, but they also trigger new events. So what role does worry play in the consciousness? Is there a place for worry in our modern lives? And if we’re ready to change, how can we alter the behavior pattern that reinforces worry?

minute read

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, anxiety disorders are affect 18.1% of U.S. population, or roughly 40 million adults.  I am one of them.  Although I feel only mild anxiety, I can relate with people who are experience fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of change.  Fear of the future.

Fear and anxiety are a part of life.  The “flight or fight” response is hardwired into our collective chemistry in order that our species survive.  But what used to help man be alert and careful (mainly the need to live in hostile surroundings) is warped in the modern era.  Even though there is no longer threat around us, we remain on high-alert and our bodies mistakenly trigger the inner alarm system when there is no danger.  We experience persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things.  We cycle through worry, wearing out our immune systems and changing nothing.

So how can we change?

Doctors and therapists suggest that we identify, understand and change our wrong thinking.  For addicts, this is familiar territory and is the basis of the 12 Steps.  The following tips relate to generalized anxiety disorder, or mild anxiety.  More severe cases of anxiety may be related to an unconscious memory, to a side effect of a medicine or to an illness and should be investigated by your doctor.  Feel free to add to this list, or comment on what helps you manage your worries?


  • Accept what you cannot change
  • Ask for help if you need it
  • Avoid stimulants, such as allergy medications, caffeine, nicotine, and decongestants
  • Do not be dominated by one thing, such as work or relationships
  • Do not feel guilty when you have to say “no” to extra duties or tasks
  • Energize your body with regular exercise
    Fuel your body with healthy foods (avoid sugars and salts)
  • Practice relaxation and meditation
  • Reevaluate and rearrange your priorities
  • Schedule time for fun. Laughter dissolves tension
  • Seek professional help when you are overwhelmed
  • Stay on a regular sleep schedule
  • Take a few minutes of quiet time each day

Find an anxiety therapist

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. a lot of useful products and services out there can easily help you to overcome anxiety. you just got to look for them

  2. The Linden Method certainly stood up to my anticipation level and I certainly advise other people that are searching for alternatives for treating anxiety to consider it

  3. Excellant article on anxiety. Very helpful tips. Here is a few more if you do not mind.
    I do cognitive therapy training for individuals with an addiction. Anxiety, stress, is one of the major causes
    of addiction. A few brief things you can remember. Thoughts = Feelings= Behavior A person is what they think all day; Garbage in Garbage out When things start going crazy start writing out an agenda. It helps sort things out.

    Thanks for letting me help.


  4. hello, my name is Lee Lewis and im a 20 year old male. 2 or so months back i started having chest pains.. mainly on the left side, but i tried to ignore it and get on with my life. But the pain didnt go away. i told my mom about it and the next day she took me to a walk in clinic to get checked out. after i told the doctor what i was going through he wanted to do an EKG, and the results were normal. that night on the way home I started to feel like i couldnt breath and i started tingling all over, numbness through my body and my heart was beating very fast… it was terrible i had never been through anything like that before in my life and i was sure i was about to die. My mom called 911 and i was rushed to the emergency room. the doctors checked my blood pressure, blood sugar, urine, thyroid, did another EKG and also a chest X-ray, all results were 100 percent normal. I returned home from the hospital around 1 oclock that night. the next day i was so weak i didnt want to move, my heart fealt like it was beating harder than normal and i didnt want anything to eat. but more than anything i didnt want to be alone. since then ive only had one more attack like that, and both times i was in the back seat of a car(maybe that has somthing to do with it) and i make myself feel terrible because every little pain i get i make myself think somthing is very wrong and i start to freak out. Ive been back to the walk in clinic once more since then and after checking my nose and throat they tell me i have terrible allergies, my nose was almost swollen sut and i have cobblestones in the back of my throat. So that explains why i felt like i couldnt breath very well. since then ive regained my strength and i eat like i should. but i still have a chest pain every now and again, my heart feels like its still beating faster than normal, a nagging headache and shortness of breath sometimes and now when i feel an attack coming on i know how to control it. So, can you help me? is this anxiety? and am i the only one going through this?

  5. There is a new book by Peter D. Ladd called “Emotional Addictions” (June 2009) that I believe can help people understand the addictive characteristics of one’s emotions. I am thinking of using it in one of my courses on addiction. You can get information on it from Amazon.com click on emotional addictions.

    Kyke Blanchfield
    St. Lawrence University

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