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Symptoms and Treatment of Panic Disorder and Addiction

Anxiety is a normal part of life. People may experience anxiety throughout the day. People might feel anxious about something that will happen in the future. Stressful situations can also cause feelings of anxiety.

However, some people live with a panic disorder. People with a panic disorder experience recurring panic attacks. Panic attacks can be very distressing. Frequent panic attacks can decrease your quality of life and make it hard to function.

Panic disorder can negatively affect people’s lives in many ways. People with panic disorder and other types of anxiety disorders may have a greater risk of developing substance abuse disorders.

This article will detail the symptoms of panic disorder and addiction. You will also learn about how to find treatment for these conditions.

Reach out to the team at the Mandala Healing Center to learn about our holistic treatment programs. You may also schedule an intake evaluation.

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is a mental health condition. People with this mental health disorder experience panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden, unexplained panic reaction. While a stressful event may trigger a panic attack, people with panic disorder may have them without warning.

Symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • A sense of danger or doom
  • Feeling like you will lose control
  • Feeling you are going to die
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Feeling like things aren’t “real”

People who have panic attacks often worry that they will have another. They might avoid certain events or places where panic attacks have happened before.

Living with a panic disorder can be challenging. Without treating panic disorders, they are likely to get worse.

Panic disorders are just one type of anxiety disorder. Other anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Phobias
  • Separation anxiety

There are effective treatment options for people with anxiety disorders. Treatment plans may include talk therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and other forms of support.

The Connection Between Panic Disorder and Substance Abuse

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports a strong link between mental health conditions and substance abuse. According to the NIMH, about 20% of people with panic disorder have a substance use disorder.

People may use drugs or alcohol to mask the symptoms of a mental health disorder. Some people may believe that drug or alcohol abuse may keep them from feeling anxious or having panic attacks.

Using drugs or alcohol to cover up emotional pain is called “self-medication.” People who self-medicate may develop addiction.

Using addictive substances to cope with a mental health or medical condition keeps people from getting the help they need. It also can cause short and long-term damage to people’s health. Substance abuse can also worsen the symptoms of a mental illness.

There are effective treatments for panic disorders. People who live with panic disorder and addiction need treatment for both conditions.

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

Addiction can change people’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotional well-being. Recognizing addiction can help you find treatment to overcome it.

Some of the signs of substance abuse and addiction include:

  • Using drugs or alcohol more than before
  • Needing to use more of a substance to get the desired effects
  • Lying, hiding, or covering up substance use
  • Doing dangerous things while using drugs or alcohol, such as driving under the influence or having risky sex
  • New or worsening mental health symptoms
  • Legal or financial trouble because of substance use
  • Having withdrawal symptoms if you stop using drugs or alcohol
  • Experiencing cravings for addictive substances
  • Wanting to cut back or quit but feeling like you can’t do it on your own

There are effective treatments for addiction. Early treatment typically leads to better outcomes. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can regain control over your health and future.

Treatment for Panic Disorder and Addiction

People with panic disorder and addiction need specialized treatment. Treatment centers must provide holistic care for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.

Panic disorder and substance use disorders are complex conditions. It’s important to get help for both conditions at the same time. Treating one condition but not the other isn’t as effective as treating both.

There are several ways to treat panic disorder and addiction. Comprehensive treatment facilities provide nurturing care for a person’s body, mind, and spirit. Holistic care allows people to heal from the effects of substance abuse and learn to manage the symptoms of mental illness.

Holistic treatment for panic disorder and addiction includes:

  • Individual therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Medications, including antidepressants and benzodiazepines
  • Coping skills to reduce stress and increase resilience
  • Mental health treatment
  • Medical care
  • Regular screenings
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Group support
  • Family therapy
  • Aftercare planning

If you or someone in your life lives with panic disorder and addiction, you are not alone. Contact the Mandala Healing Center specialists now to learn about our holistic treatment plans.