There’s an existing correlation between anxiety and drug abuse, which can only be addressed through dual diagnosis treatment programs. Although it’s not often that hardcore addicts are able to beat their addiction on their own, there are cases of it happening. However, when you take into consideration anxiety disorder in addition to drug abuse, then close supervision by a medical doctor or a licensed therapist is necessary.
A Vicious Circle
People who suffer from panic disorders sometimes turn to drugs in order to help them cope with their condition. Certainly, it does help soften the edges for a bit. The problem is over time, substance abuse will only serve to aggravate the anxiety. Then suddenly, they find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle, something which would be impossible for them to extricate from without guidance from a certified therapist.
More Common Than You Think
Dual diagnosis is actually more common than you think. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration said that almost 60% of the people with dual disorders are not seeking treatment for either condition.
Many of these sufferers only get treatment for one condition—either the anxiety disorder or the drug abuse. In fact, less than 10% are enrolling in inpatient rehab programs for both problems. Also, the risk of people who have mental and behavioral problems turning to alcohol or drugs is double compared to the general public.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
Here are some of the symptoms of a panic attack.
- Irregular heartbeat
- Chest pains
- Difficulty breathing
- Uncontrolled tremors
- Nausea and vomiting
It’s easy to dismiss people who complain about panic attacks as just creating drama. It’s not uncommon for them to be accused of gross exaggeration. But you really can’t talk them down because of what you think is just irrational fear.
The problem is the phobia is so real that they cease to function. You might think for example that overcoming stage fright is a case of “mind over matter,” but it can trigger an anxiety attack for some people that collapsing out of fright is not uncommon.
So What to Do?
Now if my fears threaten to take over my life, and I find that drugs help me calm down, what do you think will happen? This is, of course, a Band-Aid solution that will only make the wound fester. Without addressing the root cause of the anxiety attacks, you are only going to make your situation worse.
Inpatient dual diagnosis treatment centers will only make sure that you flush out the toxins from your body, but also help you come to terms with your panic attacks. This can be done through therapy or controlled medication. The operative word here is controlled, as we don’t really want you to leave your drug of choice to get hooked on prescription medicines instead.
The stigma of being labeled as crazy is enough for these sufferers to self-medicate. You know how it is: a friend who has the same symptoms, but an entirely different situation will suddenly become an expert about anxiety or panic attacks.
It’s the same problem by the government and private dual diagnosis treatment programs, which fail to make people understand that this is not something that families must ignore or try to treat on their own, just because it can be a source of shame if the word about somebody in the family being “crazy” leaks out. Once they understand that this is a clinical problem that needs a clinical solution, then they can get past the initial reservation and actually seek help for anxiety disorder and drug abuse.