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Dual Diagnosis: Panic Disorder

What Is a Panic Disorder?

For most people, anxiety is occasional, temporary, and manageable. For someone with a panic disorder (a severe type of anxiety disorder), the distress is so frequent and intense that it affects their ability to function and live a healthy, fulfilling life. Anxiety peaks and causes panic attacks, creating a cycle of worry about having one again.

Panic disorders often co-occur with substance use disorders and other mental health diagnoses (social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.). Dual diagnosis issues feed into one another, amplifying the symptoms of anxiety. For many, substance abuse begins as a method of temporarily easing the anxiety disorder distress.

anxiety disorder
Residential inpatient program

The Value of Professional Assessment and Tailored Treatment

Before a panic disorder can be addressed, it needs to be properly diagnosed. Our Los Angeles area residential inpatient program starts with a thorough physical and mental health assessment. Once we’ve identified a panic disorder, we can then tailor a dual-diagnosis treatment program to that person’s specific needs.

Our treatment for panic disorder in Agoura Hills uses evidence-based, clinically effective methods to tackle both substance abuse and mental illness. This provides not just temporary relief from anxiety symptoms, but the best chance of long-term success. Our compassionate dual diagnosis therapists understand the challenges of co-occurring addictions and panic disorders, and we know how to craft the right plan for each person’s recovery.

Common Triggers & Causes

It’s not entirely clear what causes panic disorders, but genetic factors, traumatic events, and health issues may play a role. The triggers that lead to anxiety and panic attacks vary, but there are some common elements across types of panic disorder.

Potential triggers include:

  • Co-occurring conditions
  • High levels of stress
  • Traumatic events (personal harm, loss of a loved one, etc.)
  • Medication side-effects
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Ecess caffeine
Symptoms of panic disorders
Symptoms of anxiety

Symptoms of Panic Disorders

Panic attacks look and feel different from the typical symptoms of anxiety. Even where anxiety symptoms overlap, they tend to be more severe in a panic attack.

Common symptoms of panic attacks include:

  • Sweating, hot and cold flashes
  • Tremors
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Shortness of breath, choking feeling
  • Heart pounding or palpitations
  • Chest pain or pressure (may feel like a heart attack)
  • Abdominal pains
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Dissociation or detachment
  • A fear of dying

Substance abuse can easily exacerbate various types of panic disorders and anxiety symptoms. For example, worsening social anxiety can lead to isolation that only furthers the cycle of addiction. Drug and alcohol use alters brain chemistry, often enhancing existing anxiety disorder symptoms and creating their own problems.

Unfortunately, addiction and panic are common co-occurring disorders. At Del Arroyo Recovery center in Agoura Hills, CA, we treat both drug abuse withdrawal and psychiatric disorders in a safe, supportive, and medically supervised environment.

Our Approach to Co-Occurring Panic Disorders and Addiction

In our professional Los Angeles area dual-diagnosis treatment programs, we take a well-rounded, evidence-based approach to addiction and panic disorder treatment.

We use various panic disorder therapies and techniques, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT)
  • Art and music therapy
  • Yoga and meditation
Panic disorders and addiction
Treatment for anxiety and addiction

What to Expect from Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction

Treatment in our Agoura Hills inpatient program starts with detox, purging the addictive substances from your body. Then, you’ll start exploring the roots of your drug or alcohol addiction and learning to manage symptoms of anxiety and mental illness through various therapies. If you have co-occurring PTSD and addiction, or if trauma has played a role, a trauma therapist can help you begin the healing process.

Toward the end of your residential treatment program, we’ll help arrange for things like employment and housing, including potential sober living placement. After treatment, you can continue receiving mental health and sobriety support through ongoing meetings and other aftercare resources.

Find Freedom from Panic Disorders and Addiction at Del Arroyo Recovery Center in Southern California

Panic attacks and drug or alcohol addiction don’t have to rule your life. In our Agoura Hills anxiety counseling and addiction programs, we’ll help you break the cycle of fear and overcome the substances that are holding you back. Contact us today to get started.

Del Arroyo Recovery Center in Southern California