Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder

Panic attacks produce a state of intense fear that is paralyzing for the sufferer. The individual may use substance abuse in an effort to control and/or avoid panic attacks. Dual diagnosis treatment with medication can help decrease panic symptoms and eliminate the need for self-medication.

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is an anxiety-related disorder that develops after someone has had several panic attacks over a long period of time. Panic attacks begin suddenly and will often peak after 10-20 minutes. Panic attacks qualify as a panic disorder based upon their frequency and duration of occurrence and their negative impact on social, occupational and educational functioning. A person with a panic disorder lives in fear of having another panic attack and will alter his or her life around avoidance of anxiety, a contributing factor to panic disorder.

In effort to avoid having panic attacks a person will:

  • Avoid certain behaviors
  • Avoid certain events
  • Avoid relationships
  • Use drugs or alcohol

Panic attacks can occur anytime or anywhere. If a panic attack is left untreated, an individual will develop a panic disorder. People who suffer from panic disorder have panic attacks, experiencing intense fear despite the absence of real danger. These attacks are also characterized by a fear of losing control. Not all people who suffer from periodic panic attacks develop a full panic disorder.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder:

Symptoms of panic disorder are overwhelming and feel involuntary. Panic disorder must meet symptoms for panic attacks with additional criteria including: recurrent unexpected panic attacks, persistent concern, worry about consequences of panic-related situations and significant change in behavior to avoid panic. Symptoms are not exclusive to drug and alcohol abuse or accounted for by another mental health issue.

Some symptoms of panic attacks are:

  • Palpitations
  • Trembling
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

(Source: DSM-IV-TR)

For some people who suffer from panic disorder, self-medication with drugs and alcohol become a viable alternative to treatment or prescription medication, although this actually worsens panic symptoms. A dual diagnosis treatment center  can help a person with panic disorder learn how to manage symptoms without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Medication Treatment for Panic Disorder:

In a dual diagnosis treatment center, an individual who has become dependent on drugs and alcohol to control panic symptoms will begin to learn alternative ways of managing anxiety and decreasing symptoms of panic. Some medications used in drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers for the dual diagnosis treatment of panic disorder and addiction are:

Looking For Treatment?

Using drug and alcohol to self medicate your panic attacks only works for a short time. Suddenly, your panic attacks are back and you find yourself taking more drugs or drinking more. You now suffer from a dual diagnosis, both a mental health disorder and addiction. Recovery Connection can help you get the help you need to gain control of your life. Call now 866.812.8231 and find out how quality dual diagnosis treatment can change your life.

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