Panic attacks can be disconcerting when they pop up. They might feel like a person is dying and cannot breathe. To get past this, it takes some positive thinking, strategy, and strong psychotherapy to support a person getting through the irrational thoughts that cause stress. The aim is to prevent excessive up-regulation where the sympathetic nervous system pushes a person into a state of panic. If fully activated, this system can override the sympathetic system and stop it from getting too panicked. Learn more about how to navigate panic attacks and find some support

Anxiety Disorders

Dysfunctional levels of anxiety or depression are common for many people. Just having dysfunctional levels of anxiety does not qualify as an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder is out of proportion to the danger involved. The duration of anxiety is often disproportionate to the actual danger involved. The person continues to experience issues with anxiety for at least six months. When they have trouble functioning at work or in their personal lives, this results in a challenge for them. There are different types of anxiety disorders, including phobias, social anxiety, and panic disorder. Find out why the panic disorder is so difficult for people and how to navigate healing.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder diagnosed with a person suffers repeated panic attacks and has certain responses to the anticipation of experiencing further panic attacks. The three components of anxiety mentioned before can cause a person to panic. The person will typically have dysfunctional behavior related to all three components of anxiety. People diagnosed with other disorders, like post-traumatic stress, will experience panic attacks, as well. This disorder may only be diagnosed in a person who exhibits certain responses to panic attacks considered out of proportion to the danger they’re in. while the core of panic disorder is recurrent panic attacks, the person may also demonstrate a set of responses to these attacks in order to be diagnosed with panic disorder. 

Substance Abuse

The American Psychiatric Association and other organizations aimed at identifying and treating mental health issues consistently report a high association between diagnosis of mental health issues and a propensity to engage in substance abuse. Panic disorders are no exception to the observation that a significant number of people diagnosed with panic disorder are also candidates for a diagnosis of substance use disorder. 

Treatment Approaches

A number of approaches to treating panic disorder exist. There are a number of self-help and alternative treatments that may be effective. The difference between normal anxiety and anxiety disorder is visualized as trying to compare an individual out for a walk with the speed of an Olympian walker. The intensity is different and needs two different approaches. Quite often, the following may help:

  • Antidepressant meds
  • BuSpar, an anti-anxiety medication for low-level anxiety and helps for physical dependence issues as it is lower than benzos or other meds
  • Valproic acid for bipolar disorder and other drugs can be used, including beta blockers
  • Continued psychotherapy with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques

Treatment for this can include substance use disorder as part of an overall treatment plan. An integrated approach of many things can be helpful for people who are struggling with panic disorder and subsequent addiction issues. The key is to find the right help so people can move from feeling panic and anxiety to finding hope and healing. 

A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We teach people how to live a sober life through programs, therapeutic support, and evidence-based therapies. Our recovery program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. To learn more about sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702