Panic attack is a condition that suddenly occurs in the body, causing intense feelings of fear and anxiety, even when there may be no real danger or risk at the time. Panic attacks typically last for a few minutes, and may accompany physical symptoms as well as mental and psychological symptoms. Most individuals who experience panic attacks report fear of death or dying during the attack.
Some individuals turn to substance use to alleviate the symptoms of their panic attacks, thereby leading to dependence and addiction to those substances.
Repeated and frequent occurrences of panic attacks may be diagnosed as panic disorder. Panic attacks and panic disorders may be induced by substance use and addiction to substances. Trying to quit using substances often causes withdrawal symptoms, one of which may be panic attacks, which may lead some individuals back to using substances, so it can become a never ending cycle.
Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT
Traumatic events such as violence, abuse, witnessing death, experiencing an accident or natural disasters could induce panic attacks when remembering the event, especially if the event happened during childhood.
Excessive use and dependence on substances such as drugs, alcohol and even caffeine may induce panic attacks due to their intensely addictive properties.
Individuals diagnosed with a condition of panic disorder may experience panic attacks without any triggers, and may experience them frequently and more intensely.
Dual diagnosis of panic attacks and addiction can help specialists create treatment plans that include addiction treatment as well as anxiety treatment. Although results may not be immediate, successful treatment can help alleviate symptoms and overcome fear and anxiety.
Conventional talk therapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment for panic attacks and panic disorders by helping patients reprocess past traumatic experiences in a supportive safe space.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on negative thought patterns that are related to the patient’s memories of past traumatic events, and by replacing them with positive thoughts and beliefs.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy helps panic attack patients to learn how to manage overwhelming emotions by using techniques such as mindfulness practices and emotion regulation.
Specialists using EMDR therapy stimulate a dissociative disorder patient’s traumatic thoughts at the same time as physical actions such as focusing on eye movements. This process can help alleviate stress caused by painful thoughts and memories while helping the patients reprocess them.
Anxiety treatment medications such as antidepressants and sedatives may sometimes be prescribed to aid with treating symptoms of anxiety and panic.
Lifestyle changes, dietary changes, and relaxation techniques such as yoga and mindfulness practices can reduce the impact of panic episodes. It is possible to treat panic attacks and get back to a healthy life.
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