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Did you know anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 40 million Americans (18 percent of the population) have an anxiety disorder.1 People with anxiety are also twice as likely to suffer from substance use disorders than the general population, and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol can make symptoms of anxiety even worse.2
Although there are many types of treatments for substance abuse and anxiety disorders, anxiety can linger long after detox and rehab are over. Even after months of sobriety, symptoms of anxiety can continue to be a trigger for people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Medication, exercise, and meditation are all effective ways to treat anxiety, but if you’re in recovery, you may also want to consider the different ways micronutrient deficiencies can affect your mood, emotional regulation, and your risk factors for relapse.
Although researchers are still evaluating the full potential of vitamins and their effects on anxiety, recent studies have shown that supplementing with certain vitamins may help reduce symptoms of anxiety, especially in certain populations of people.3,4
What Vitamins Are Good for Anxiety?
If you are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction and you’re suffering from symptoms of anxiety, anti-anxiety medication may not be the only answer. While vitamins alone won’t cure your anxiety, they may complement your current treatment regimen nicely. Here are some of the best vitamins for anxiety, according to experts and scientific researchers.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is one of the three major antioxidant vitamins. It is typically found in colorful fruits and vegetables. During times of prominent anxiety and stress, your body uses more vitamin E, which can deplete your stores and lead to more intense anxiety symptoms. Supplementing with vitamin E can help your body restore its natural balance and provide some relief from anxiousness, stress, and depression.5
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another antioxidant that is associated with anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue, and mood regulation. Research shows that antioxidants like vitamin C can prevent oxidative damage to your nervous system. This protection against oxidative damage plays an important role in combating symptoms of anxiety and research studies support this claim. One 2015 study found that Vitamin C significantly reduced anxiety levels in those who took the supplement over a two-week period.6
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another antioxidant that has been shown to improve anxiety symptoms.5 A vitamin A deficiency (although rare) may be a contributing factor to your anxiety, but supplementing with vitamin A or expanding your diet may help reduce these symptoms. Common sources of vitamin A include:7
- Dairy products
- Fortified cereals
L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in black tea, green tea, and certain types of mushrooms. It’s also sold in drug stores in pill and tablet form. Research confirms that L-theanine promotes relaxation without producing any drowsiness.8 It also has other mental health benefits, including better sleep quality and mental focus.9
- B-Complex Vitamins
B-complex vitamins are nutritional supplements that contain all eight B vitamins, which help with mood regulation and stabilization. The B vitamins include:
- Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
- Folic acid
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Thiamine (vitamin B1)
Getting an ample supply of B-complex vitamins, whether from your diet or supplementation, can help lift and stabilize your mood and boost energy levels, according to a recent research study published in ISRN Psychiatry.10
Magnesium is an essential mineral for humans but if you don’t get enough of it, your anxiety symptoms may worsen. Magnesium affects a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which regulates glands that are responsible for your response to stress. Research studies show that supplementing with magnesium may improve brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety.11,12
- Fish oil
According to a report based on 19 different human studies, omega-3 fatty acid supplements may help ease anxiety symptoms in people diagnosed with a variety of physical and mental health problems, including substance use disorders.13 Although more test trials are needed before experts will recommend high doses of these supplements for treating anxiety, the studies suggest that a lack of omega-3 fatty acid may influence or contribute to the development of several psychiatric and behavioral disorders, such as drug and alcohol addiction.
If you’re in recovery, it’s best to make sure your diet is full of healthy, whole foods, but taking a good multivitamin regularly can also help treat anxiety, as it has all the basic vitamins and minerals your body needs to function well.
Months or years of substance abuse can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health, and for some, anxiety is a lasting consequence. Whether your anxiety was a contributing factor to your substance abuse or it developed later, supplementing your substance abuse treatment and anxiety treatment with the vitamins listed above may help you restore physical and emotional balance in your life.
Let Us Help You Establish a Healthy, Happy Sober Life
If you are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction and you’re struggling to manage triggers like anxiety or personal issues, you may be a good candidate for a sober living program. Eudaimonia Recovery Homes offers safe, supportive sober living homes for men and women in Texas and Colorado. Our structured programs and recovery support services are designed to help people thrive in recovery instead of just barely getting by or living miserably in sobriety.
Life in recovery doesn’t have to be miserable and a healthy, sustainable sober life shouldn’t be. Call (512) 363-5914 today to learn more about sober living homes and services at Eudaimonia Recovery Homes.