Exploring the Difference Between Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks

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Addiction is a challenge that countless people face. However, it’s important to note that many people struggling with substance use simultaneously struggle with other mental health issues. Often, these disorders are what perpetuate the addiction, as substances can be used to self-medicate their symptoms. Unfortunately, when mental illness goes undiagnosed, the sufferer can find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of drug and alcohol abuse that they may feel hopeless of ever overcoming. 

Co-Occurring Anxiety Disorders

Co-occurring disorders refer to the experience of both substance use disorder as well as an additional mental health disorder. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders to co-occur with substance use. Left untreated, anxiety can spin out of control, creating chaos and unmanageability in daily life, ultimately hindering recovery from addiction. 

Panic Attacks vs. Panic Disorder

Two forms of anxiety that often co-occur with substance use disorders are panic attacks and panic disorder. While they are different, these experiences are both equally frightening. When symptoms aren’t properly treated, many return to drug and/or alcohol use for relief. Clarity on what you may be going through will allow you to seek the appropriate treatment and support. 

Panic Attacks 

Panic attacks come on suddenly and can be quite alarming, as they often feel similar to what one might imagine a heart attack to feel like. Symptoms of a panic attack include chest pain, feelings of terror, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms last for about 10 minutes at their peak. While panic attacks may seem impossible to deal with, there are many coping skills and management techniques available that have proven to be successful treatment options. Seeking therapeutic support can greatly reduce symptoms, often eliminating them.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder involves having multiple panic attacks unexpectedly and without cause. Attacks can come at any time and can be incredibly debilitating for the sufferer.  Millions of people across the United States experience panic disorder. The best form of treatment for this often includes some form of consistent therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), along with other holistic and traditional modes of treatment. Recovery from panic disorder is possible and you don’t have to do it alone. Whether you’ve been battling with panic attacks or panic disorder specifically, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu to determine the next best step for your recovery. Call us today for a consultation, at 844-857-5992.

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