What Treats Panic Disorder From Addiction

What Treats Panic Disorder From Addiction?


Individuals experiencing Substance Use Disorder often have co-occurring mental health conditions, with panic disorder being one of the most prevalent. What treats panic disorder from addiction? Well, various treatments can effectively address panic disorder, with medication-assisted therapies being the most common.

These approaches aid in symptom reduction and enhancing the quality of life for individuals facing co-occurring disorders. This article delves into understanding panic disorder, its impact on those grappling with substance abuse, and strategies for managing and overcoming it.

What Is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is an anxiety condition marked by panic attacks. Research from the National Institute Of Mental Health indicates that Americans with this disorder experience elevated stress levels compared to those without it. Typical triggers include:

  • A family history of generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
  • Exposure to traumatic events such as abuse, violence, or natural disasters.
  • Having another mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression.
  • Other conditions affecting mental health, such as social anxiety disorder.

Panic disorder and substance abuse often co-occur. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 50 percent of those with panic disorder also have a substance abuse problem, as well. This is not surprising, as people who have panic disorder often turn to substances like alcohol or drugs to try to cope with their condition. Common prescription medicines include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and central nervous system depressants.

The Link Between Substance Abuse And Panic Disorders

Individuals grappling with substance abuse are at a higher risk of encountering panic attacks for several reasons. Firstly, substances themselves can serve as triggers for such episodes. Secondly, individuals struggling with addiction often contend with co-occurring mental health issues like anxiety disorders or depression, which can further elevate the likelihood of experiencing panic attacks.

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Within the addicted community, those diagnosed with panic disorder frequently contend with a range of additional challenges, including:

  • A higher rate of substance abuse.
  • A higher rate of suicide attempts.
  • Difficulties in maintaining employment.
  • Difficulty in maintaining relationships.
  • Elevated chances of criminality.

While these symptoms in general could indicate a wide variety of mental illnesses, including Borderline Personality Disorder, recognizing and addressing symptoms of panic disorder is crucial, as effectively managing them can enhance your ability to adhere to your overall addiction treatment regimen. Early identification of co-occurring panic disorder can significantly bolster your journey to recovery.

Symptoms Of Panic Disorder

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has outlined the symptoms that are indicative of panic attacks. Formal panic attacks are characterized as a panic disorder when they have four or more of the symptoms listed below:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Chest pains
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Nausea or abdominal pain
  • Paresthesia (numbing or tingling sensations)
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • A constant fear or sensation that the individual is dying

Symptoms usually peak within 10 minutes, but may last for 30 minutes to an hour. Sometimes panic attacks are spontaneous but may arise when there is a specific situation or event (i.e. a “trigger”) which can make a person anxious.

Examining Statistics And Causes Of Panic Disorder

The typical age for experiencing panic attacks is around 24 years old. In the United States, approximately 2 percent of the population will experience a panic attack, with women being more susceptible to mental health disorders than men. While the exact cause of panic attacks is unknown, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Additionally, individuals with thyroid or cardiovascular issues may also experience episodes of extreme anxiety known as panic attacks.

What Treats Panic Disorder From Addiction?

Here are some expert tips to help you manage anxiety symptoms:

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  • Understand your triggers: Identify the situations or events that trigger your panic attacks. Once you know what triggers your attacks, you can then avoid these triggers, or at the very least will be more prepared in how to handle them.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: There are a number of different relaxation techniques that can help to reduce the symptoms of panic attacks. Some common techniques include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization.
  • Have a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet can help to improve your overall health and well-being.
  • Get regular exercise: Exercise can help to improve your mood and reduce the symptoms of panic disorder. Medical assistants working in the field of physical therapy can also be helpful in reducing symptoms of co-occurring disorders.
  • Seek support: There are a number of support groups available for people with panic disorders. These groups can provide you with information and support.
  • Seek professional help: If you are having difficulty managing your panic attacks, seek out professional help. A mental health professional can help you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
  • Follow your treatment plan: If you have a panic disorder, it is important to follow your treatment plan. This can help to reduce the frequency and severity of your attacks.

To manage anxiety disorders, the key is getting to know yourself and take good care of your body. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Substance Use Disorder with panic attacks as a co-occurring disorder, seeking addiction treatment as soon as possible is the best thing to do. With proper treatment, symptoms can be reduced and quality of life can be improved.

Treatment For Panic Disorder Caused By Addiction

How is panic disorder treated alongside addiction? There are various effective methods for treating panic disorder. One prevalent approach is medication-assisted therapy, which utilizes medications to alleviate symptoms of both disorders.

What Treats Panic Disorder From Addiction

How Do Medication-Assisted Therapies Reduce Symptoms Of Co-Occurring Disorders?

In many instances of addiction, individuals also contend with concurrent physical or mental health issues such as generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or withdrawal symptoms, which may necessitate prescription medications. Addressing drug or alcohol abuse alone may not suffice in such scenarios. Medication-assisted therapies are beneficial in alleviating symptoms of both disorders, facilitating better management.

Some common medications that are used in this type of therapy include:

  • Antidepressants: These medications can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are commonly prescribed.
  • Anti-anxiety medications: These medications can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Central nervous system depressants are commonly prescribed.
  • Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers are commonly prescribed for heart conditions, but they can also be effective in treating anxiety disorders.
  • Mood stabilizers: These medications can help to stabilize mood and reduce the symptoms of both disorders. This is more common for Substance Use Disorder clients who are also experiencing bipolar disorder.

These medications are typically prescribed to address panic disorder in individuals struggling with addiction. However, it is important to consult with a doctor before taking any of these medications. Self-medication can have adverse effects and is not recommended.

What Are The Kinds Of Therapy For Panic Attacks?

When answering what treats panic disorder from addiction, it should not be limited to prescription medications. Treatment for it must always be accompanied by psychosocial and behavioral therapy to address concurrent drug abuse.

There are a number of different types of therapy that can be effective in treating co-occurring disorders. Some common types of therapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This type of therapy can help in changing the way you think and respond to triggers. This can help to reduce the frequency and severity of panic attacks.
  • Exposure therapy: This type of therapy can help you to desensitize yourself to the things that trigger your anxiety. This can be done through gradual exposure to the triggers.
  • Therapeutic communities: This type of therapy can provide you with support and structure. This can help you to recover from substance abuse and improve your mental health.
  • Relaxation techniques: These techniques can help you to relax and reduce the symptoms of both disorders.

These are only some of the therapies available to treat generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks as a symptom. It is important to speak with a mental health professional to find the best treatment for you.

What To Do When Having A Panic Attack From Substance Use?

When someone suddenly experiences a panic attack, there are standard procedures that you can do to remove yourself from this heightened state. First, you need to identify the source of the panic. If it is coming from a physical threat, then you need to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.

If the attack is not directive from a physical source, then you can try to relax your body and slow down your breathing. You can also try to focus on something else, such as a positive memory or your favorite song. If the attack persists, then you should seek professional help.

Finally, you can try to focus on your 5 senses. Start by looking around the room and identify 5 things that you can see. Then identify 4 things that you can touch, 3 things that you can smell, 2 things that you can hear, and 1 thing that you can taste. This will help to distract your mind from the panic attack and focus on something else.

If you still feel anxiety symptoms, call someone you trust and tell him or her about the situation. You may also seek out medical intervention immediately, especially when also dealing with substance abuse symptoms, as the two combined can be fatal.

The Bottomline

When it comes to what treats panic disorder from addiction, there are many options available. Medication-assisted therapies can be effective in reducing the symptoms of co-occurring disorders. Prescription medications, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, to treat panic disorder must be accompanied with psychosocial support to ensure long-term outcomes and recovery from substance use.

Since cases of panic disorders resulting from drug abuse differ from one person to another, it is important to speak with a mental health professional to find the best treatment plan well-suited for your mental health and social condition.

If you or someone you know suffer from substance use, seek help as soon as possible. Call your local mental health crisis hotline or visit the nearest emergency room near you.

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