Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines

Like a lot of drugs, there is room for abuse of benzodiazepines—which is commonly referred to as “benzos.” With drug seeking behavior often comes raiding the medicine cabinet or doctor shopping for drugs, because what treats one person’s condition can often give another person the euphoric feeling of ease and comfort. Next to opioids, benzodiazepine has become one of the most highly sought after prescription pills for abuse.

Definition Of Drug Abuse

As mentioned before, benzodiazepines are used in medicine to help treat anxiety and panic disorder by essentially slowing down brain activity. This drug can be helpful for someone who can’t stop feeling anxious or dismiss the feeling of impending doom, but some can people abuse benzos. Drug abuse is broadly defined as, “when people use illegal drugs or use legal drugs inappropriately… Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines 25 Different Benzos

This includes the repeated use of drugs to produce pleasure, alleviate stress, and/or alter or avoid reality. It also includes using prescription drugs in ways other than prescribed or using someone else’s prescription” (National Institute on Drug Abuse – NIDA).

List Of Most Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines

There are more than 25 different benzodiazepines on the market, but not all of them are as widely abused or even known about. Some are more potent than others, and therefore most likely to be abused. When a person starts abusing benzodiazepines, they might only use it a few times here and there. Over time they can build up a tolerance to the drug, and start seeking a more potent dosage. They can potentially experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug.

Maybe they’re self-medicating for a self-diagnosed panic disorder—which certainly could require medication, but self-medicating can be extremely dangerous and is illegal. Some of the most commonly abused benzodiazepines are Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, and Restoril.

Withdrawal Symptoms Of Benzodiazepines

Abusing benzodiazepines can often lead to dependence accompanied by serious withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop abusing them. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms related to benzodiazepine abuse and dependence are:

  • Sleep Disturbance and Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Increased Tension and Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Hand Tremor
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Dry Heaving and Nausea
  • Weight Loss
  • Palpitations
  • Headache
  • Muscular Pain and Stiffness
  • Perceptual Changes

Can I Overdose On Benzodiazepines?

Yes, especially when the drug is mixed with other substances like alcohol or opioids. From the Food and Drug Administration, overdose symptoms “include somnolence, confusion, impaired coordination, diminished reflexes and coma. Death has been reported in association with overdoses of alprazolam by itself, as it has with other benzodiazepines. In addition, fatalities have been reported in patients who have overdosed with a combination of a single benzodiazepine.”

Xanax Abuse

Abusing Xanax can be more than just buying it on the street, crushing it up and snorting it. Prescription drug abuse can be anything from using someone else’s prescription to continuing use of your own prescription after a doctor advises you to stop—which can be a result of dependence or addiction. Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines Withdrawal Symptoms Can Range

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “withdrawal symptoms similar in character to those noted with sedative/hypnotics and alcohol have occurred following discontinuance of benzodiazepines, including Xanax. The symptoms can range from mild dysphoria and insomnia to a major syndrome that may include abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, tremors and convulsions.”

Klonopin Abuse

From the drug’s description by the FDA, Klonopin can pass into breast milk and cause dependence. Dependence to Klonopin can end in withdrawals and further cravings, and furthermore “stopping Klonopin suddenly can cause seizures that do not stop, hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations), shaking, and stomach and muscle cramps.”

Valium Abuse

Valium is considered a schedule IV drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration, because of it’s lower potential abuse; however when mixed with opioids it can lead to sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. From the FDA’s description of Valium, “abuse and dependence of benzodiazepines (Valium) have been reported. Addiction-prone individuals should be under careful surveillance when receiving diazepam or other psychotropic agents because of the predisposition of such patients to habituation and dependence.”

Valium can be used to help treat acute alcoholism withdrawal symptoms, but on the other hand can lead to withdrawals of its own when dosage is increased or when the drug is abused.

Ativan Abuse

Like other benzodiazepines, Ativan can lead to dependence but it can also lead to worsening conditions of depression for someone who was previously diagnosed with a depression disorder; therefore it is highly discouraged to use Ativan if you suffer from depression or psychosis. Also similar to other benzodiazepines, “the risk of dependence increases with higher doses and longer term use and is further increased in patients with a history of alcoholism or drug abuse or in patients with significant personality disorders. The dependence potential is reduced when lorazepam (Ativan) is used at the appropriate dose for short-term treatment” (FDA).

Even in the realm of drug abuse, Ativan should be slowly tapered off of. According to the FDA, “withdrawal symptoms can appear following cessation of recommended doses after as little as one week of therapy. Abrupt discontinuation of product should be avoided and a gradual dosage-tapering schedule followed after extended therapy.”

Restoril Abuse

From Xanax to Restoril, benzodiazepines have a common theme, do not mix with opioids or alcohol—it’s dangerous and can lead to overdose and death. Some of the best ways to avoid these risks is to avoid mixing drugs; however avoiding the negative consequences of benzodiazepines can work on both sides of the pharmacy window, and from a professional aspect doctors must:

  • Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
  • Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required.
  • Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.

More About Benzodiazepine Dependence

As is true with most mood altering drugs, dependence to benzodiazepines is possible but not certain. From the Drug Enforcement Administration, “there is the potential for dependence on and abuse of benzodiazepines particularly by individuals with a history of multi-substance abuse.” So what exactly is the relationship between abuse, dependence, tolerance, and addiction? Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines From Xanax To RestorilThe FDA sums it up perfectly, “abuse is characterized by misuse of the drug for nonmedical purposes, often in combination with other psychoactive substances. Physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug and/or administration of an antagonist…Tolerance is a state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug induces changes that result in a diminution of one or more of the drug’s effects over time.”

“Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.” It can be hard to stop using drugs once you’ve become dependent or addicted, and sometimes the best way to start recovery is to ask for help.

How To Find Treatment For Addiction And Substance Abuse

Benzodiazepine abuse isn’t always a death sentence, but there is no guarantee for a good life either. “More than 22,000 people die every year from prescription drug abuse, more than heroin and cocaine combined” (NIDA). If you are suffering with an addiction to prescription drugs, getting into treatment today can be one of the best things you can do for yourself. With a detoxification, behavioral therapy, peer and family support and more you will be back on your feet and on the road to recovery in no time.

Contact us today to speak to one of our addiction specialists about getting the treatment you deserve. Recovery starts with addiction treatment, and we can find it for you.

For more information, call now!

For More Information Related to “Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



Drug Enforcement Administration – Benzodiazepines
Food and Drug Administration – Ativan
Food and Drug Administration – Klonopin
Food and Drug Administration – Restoral
Food and Drug Administration – Valium
Food and Drug Administration – Xanax

Cocaine Use And Depression Cocaine And Depression_

Extended cocaine use affects neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The longer the usage, the more these essential neurotransmitters are repressed and impacted. Cocaine alters the brain’s natural reward system, leading to feelings of paranoia, depression, or anxiety. Whether depression came before or after cocaine use, treatment is highly needed to deal with any form of mental illness. Many who face depression turn to drug abuse, and many who suffer from drug abuse form signs of depression afterward. Cocaine And Depression_1 in 10 TeensDrug abuse has the potential to create numerous health effects, both physical and mental, within the lives of those who abuse. When a mental health disorder occurs with drug abuse, the two often worsen each other. Cocaine abuse, especially prolonged use, changes a person’s brain, affecting various chemical components, including certain important neurotransmitters which are critical within regulating a person’s mood. This effect may worsen existing depression or create new symptoms. Together, these disorders require effective substance abuse treatment.

Depression In America

Depression is a disease which is rampant across our country, and receiving the right information can help to greatly improve these conditions. This disorder can become debilitating, changing the way you think, feel, and carry out daily tasks.

In 2014:

  • 1 in 10 teens suffered a period of major depression.
  • 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health problem.
  • 1 in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or major depression.

In addition, over 41,000 Americans are lost every year because of suicide.

Two or more illnesses can co-occur with each other in the same individual, such as a cocaine use disorder and depression. These are called co-occurring disorders or a dual diagnosis. Whether it’s happening at the same time or one after the other, this comorbidity (presence of two or more illnesses) can impact each illness and make them both go down hill faster. A person’s normal desires and needs can be greatly impacted by addiction. Compulsive behaviors from drug abuse are comparable to those of mental conditions.

Cocaine’s Effects On The Brain Cocaine And Depression_1 in 25 AmericansWhen using cocaine, there are several things which transpire concerning different aspects of the brain. Various neurotransmitters are affected, including the release of dopamine. When it comes to a sense of well-being, dopamine is the chemical which is considered to bring forth all kinds of pleasure and happy feelings. Dopamine releases when related to pleasure or a feeling of reward when it comes to specific activities in life. If dopamine levels become too high in the brain, they are linked to hallucinations, aggressiveness, delusions, anger, as well as other psychotic symptoms.

Cocaine also increases norepinephrine and serotonin, which are other important neurotransmitters within the body. When it comes to norepinephrine, the body’s “fight-or-flight” mode gets activated, including an increase of heart rate and blood pressure and a person feeling alert. Keeping a balanced mood, sleep, appetite, as well as other behaviors, are all linked to serotonin.

Cocaine kicks these brain chemicals into an instant rush, and over a period of time, these essential neurotransmitters become low and depleted. This can lead to a host of different problems, including depression.

Cocaine And Depression Cocaine And Depression_WithdrawalAfter extreme abuse over a period of time, stopping the use of cocaine can lead to cravings and depression for months. In some cases, suicidal thoughts may also occur. As someone faces withdrawal, the cravings grow more intense, even though the pleasurable effects of cocaine dip way down, instead becoming replaced by paranoia. When someone is facing withdrawal, here are some of the symptoms that may occur:

  • Increased appetite
  • Agitation and restless behavior
  • Slowed activity
  • Fatigue
  • General feeling of discomfort
  • Depressed mood
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams

When cocaine is used chronically, it blocks normal neural functions. It starts to disrupt the brain’s chemical reward areas. The longer cocaine is used, the more neural depression starts to impact emotions, memories, and cognitive functions.

What Happens When You Use Cocaine For A Long Time?

Through tests, it has been found that cocaine, when abused over an extended period of time, creates a decline in neural activity within the motivational and pleasure areas of the brain. Quoted within a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publication on the subject, Dr. Porrino says, “Within the structure called the striatum, the blunting of activity spreads from the nucleus accumbens, a reward area, to the caudate-putamen, which controls behavior based on repetitive action.” Cocaine And Depression_MemoriesMemories and information-processes are highly restricted when someone uses cocaine over the long term. “The reduced activity of the temporal lobe indicates that this structure is somehow compromised,” says Dr. Nancy Pilotte of NIDA’s Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research. “Some of these regions mediate the ability to connect emotionally, and cocaine’s blunting of them may induce a flattened affect similar to depression symptoms that are common among chronic cocaine abusers.”

Does Cocaine Cause Depression?

When it comes to mental illnesses and drug abuse, the two are highly linked. Many people who abuse drugs are also diagnosed with a variety of mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety. When people who are facing troubles turn to cocaine, this drug abuse can also bring out the symptoms of a separate mental illness like depression. A mental disorder can create a need for an individual to self-medicate from the emotional or mental symptoms that they are coming up against. In this case, it could have been depression that caused the drug addiction, or in others, it could be that the drug addiction was the first to show up. It can be tricky to decipher which one occurred first. Regardless of whatever symptoms popped up first, it is important to bring about treatment to mental illnesses.

Reach Out For Treatment Today

If you or a loved one suffer from cocaine abuse and mental health issues, contact us now!

Whether the signs of depression have happened before or after cocaine use, reach out for the help you need today. If you are experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts, or other symptoms of mental illness, there is support for you. Getting the help you need will start your journey upward out of depression and cocaine abuse. Please contact us at


For More Information Related to “Cocaine Use And Depression” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From



National Institute on Drug Abuse — Long-Term Cocaine Self-Administration Depresses Brain Activity
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders

Substance Abuse and Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_

Substance abuse can lead to anxiety disorders, which are characterized by frequent and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden bouts of fear and increased heart rate, or a fear of impending doom. With anxiety disorders–that fear never goes away. Some substances, legal or illegal, can make a person more likely to experience the adverse symptoms of an anxiety disorder. There is treatment available for substance abuse disorders–you don’t have to be afraid anymore. Panic Attacks_20 minutesEvery little kid walks through a dark alley and gets the heebie jeebies, it’s just part of growing up. As they get older and recognize that there is no boogie man there to get them, they relinquish the fear and grow out of it. Some people go through life with that constant fear that something bad will happen. They very well could be suffering from a panic attack, which is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as a sudden attack of anxiety and overwhelming fear. Frequently, though many panic attacks are direct results of an anxiety disorder or panic disorder, in which that fear is constant. Certain drugs can trigger a panic attack in an individual.

Anxiety Disorder And Panic Attacks

As previously clarified, anxiety is a sudden feeling of fear. Anxiety can be a normal reaction to heart wrenching situations–driving a car for the first time, the first day of school, or the moment before a big game. A person suffering from an anxiety disorder can experience this feeling constantly, these bouts of fear are known as a panic attacks. Panic attacks can last for up to 20 minutes. A person with an anxiety disorder also is likely to experience some of these symptoms: (U.S. Library of Medicine):

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control or impending doom
  • Feeling of choking
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face
  • Palpitations, fast heart rate, or pounding heart
  • Sensation of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Sweating, chills, or hot flashes
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Substance Induced Anxiety Disorder Panic Attacks_39%Not every substance will cause a panic attack, however, there are certain drugs that can. Some people suffering from a substance abuse disorder (or better understand by their lack of ability to stop using a drug even when they want to) migh have a delusion that impending doom awaits them if they don’t “get their fix.” A person suffering from a heroin addiction might constantly think about the drug, but if there is none left? Well that’s when the fear of withdrawal, or fear that they won’t get high again might set in. In a study conducted by the U.S. Library of Medicine, “Of 97 individuals with panic, 39% had abused at least one substance.”

Substances That Can Cause Anxiety And Paranoia

The substances associated with panic attacks can vary, but generally, if a drug increases heart rate–it can also increase the risk of a panic attack. Some (but not all) of the different drugs that can lead to a panic attack are: Caffeine; Alcohol; Heroin and other Opioids; Cocaine; Marijuana; Sedatives; Nicotine; and Hallucinogens.

Caffeine Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_CaffeineCaffeine is not always associated with substance abuse; however, it’s still a drug. When caffeine is consumed in heavy quantities, or more than a healthy amount, that’s abuse. Caffeine is a stimulant, and after it’s ingested (whether it’s in a pill form or in a beverage) it raises the heart rate. According to the National Center for Biotechnology information, caffeine is associated with an increased number of panic attacks for people who are predisposed to them.

Alcohol Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_AlcoholAlcohol is a drug which is sometimes referred to as “liquid courage”, because it can cause a person to do things that they might not normally do. Alcohol can lead to mood swings and temper tantrums–a person who abuses alcohol may exhibit bouts of rage, anxiety, and increased danger to his or herself and others. Withdrawal from alcohol can also lead to symptoms such as anxiety and panic attacks, but it can also lead to insomnia, delirium tremens, sweating profusely, depression, delusions, nightmares, and seizures. According to NCBI, “Alcohol-induced deliriums after high-dose drinking are characterized by fluctuating mental status, confusion, and disorientation.”

Marijuana Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_MarijuanaMarijuana can be smoked, consumed, or “dabbed”–the highest dose of tetrahydrocannabinol THC which can be abused. THC is the primary compound found in marijuana, and it can have serious affects on the mind of a person using it. Abuse of marijuana can lead to lack of motivation, mood swings, anxiety, and panic attacks. The U.S. Library of Medicine found that a lifetime of marijuana is significantly related to a lifetime of panic disorder and panic attacks. Not only that, they found that people who abused marijuana in the past year, and currently use marijuana, are more likely to be diagnosed with lifetime panic disorder as well as current panic attacks.

Cocaine Abuse And Panic Attacks

Cocaine is a drug which can be snorted, injected, laced with other drugs, and more. It give a person a false feeling of power, and can lead to behaviors like violence and promiscuity, it can also cause paranoia. Cocaine is a stimulant, and can be extremely dangerous for the heart, it can also lead to severe anxiety and panic attacks. Cocaine abuse often leads to manic behavior and delirious speech. Overdose from cocaine killed approximately 7,000 people in 2015, and withdrawals (often referred to as “a crash”) can lead to depression and craving more of the substance. Panic Attacks_7,000

Heroin, Opioid Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_HeroinOpioids such as heroin are characterized by spurts of intense euphoria and well-being. Abusing drugs like heroin can lead to anxiety, severe depression, and insomnia. Even after a person stops using opioids, the withdrawals can start after a couple hours and last for several weeks–withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly dangerous and sometimes include paranoia, anxiety, panic, and seizures. With the prolonged withdrawals associated with opioids, relapse is more likely to occur to avoid further withdrawals.

Hallucinogen Abuse And Panic Attacks Panic Attacks_HallucinogenHallucinogens can give the user visual and mental delusions–or hallucinations. A person who is abusing hallucinogens (such as LSD, Peyote, PCP, and Psilocybin Mushrooms (or Shrooms)) can become dangerously antisocial. They might experience bouts of laughter, which can be followed by unexplainable crying. A person using these kind of drugs can very quickly slip into a drug induced panic attack, or lapse into paranoia. Withdrawal from some hallucinogens can be feeling of emptiness, prolonged trip (or “permi-trip”), inability to eat, anxiety, and fatigue.

How To Tell If Someone Is Abusing Drugs

Someone who’s abusing drugs might not be easy to pick out in a crowd, drug abusers may have a lot of practice hiding their addiction. A person who is abusing drugs or hiding an addiction may:

  • Spend a lot of time alone
  • Lose interest in their favorite things
  • Get messy—for instance, not bathe, change clothes, or brush their teeth
  • Be really tired and sad
  • Be very energetic, talk fast, or say things that don’t make sense
  • Be nervous or cranky (in a bad mood)
  • Quickly change between feeling bad and feeling good
  • Sleep at strange hours
  • Miss important appointments
  • Have problems at work
  • Eat a lot more or a lot less than usual

(According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse)

What To Do For Treatment Of A Substance Abuse Disorder

Experts suggest the following tips for avoiding panic attacks: Abstaining from alcohol, a healthy diet, exercising often, getting enough sleep, or reducing (or avoiding) caffeine, certain cold medicines, and stimulants.

If you or a loved one suffer from substance abuse or anxiety, contact us now!

Though sometimes putting an end to substance abuse is more difficult–especially when trying to do it alone. The withdrawals from heavy use of drugs like alcohol can lead to death if not treated by a professional. You might be concerned about your substance abuse problem and panic attacks, if so, you can reach out to us at, or you can call to speak to a professional at 1-833-473-4227. All calls are confidential, and our main goal is to help you in your steps to recovery. You don’t have to be afraid anymore.


For More Information Related to “Substance Abuse and Panic Attacks” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From


National Institute on Drug Abuse – Signs of Drug Use and Addiction
National Institute on Drug Abuse – Overdose Death Rates
National Center for Biotechnology Information – 9 Substance-Induced Disorders
National Institute of Mental Health – Anxiety Disorders
U.S. Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health – Relationship Between Substance Abuse And Panic Attacks
U.S. National Library of Medicine – Panic Disorder
U.S. Library of Medicine – Marijuana Use and Panic Psychopathology Among a Representative Sample of Adults

Co-Occurring Disorders: Anxiety And Addiction

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety And Addiction: What You Need To Know

Though anxiety and addiction are not necessarily linked, having both can cause symptoms of each to worsen, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In particular, co-occurrence of substance abuse is common for those people affected by social anxiety. Mental illness may be caused by or may result from substance abuse, however, as new studies are finding. People who have mental illness may seek drugs as a way to cope with the illness, and conversely, people who are victims to substance abuse may develop mental illnesses. The following points highlight one of the most common dual diagnoses, social anxiety and alcohol abuse, how to diagnose these two disorders, and how to treat them.

Social Anxiety: A Catalyst For Alcohol Abuse

People with social anxiety tend to feel that the effects of alcohol help lessen their social anxiety. Unfortunately, in reality it tends to make their social anxiety worse, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In fact, alcohol abuse tends to follow the onset of social anxiety.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Social Anxiety

In America, approximately 15 million adults (accounting for 7 percent of the population) have social anxiety disorders each year. In trying to cope with this disorder and its symptoms, it is not unusual for people with this disorder to turn to alcohol; in numbers, about 20 percent of people who have anxiety disorder also are victims of alcohol abuse. Many seek alcohol because it provides temporary relief of social anxiety symptoms, but researchers have found alcohol tends to have the opposite effect, even if this effect takes place later. Some negative side effects which users with social anxiety may experience include:

Signs that someone may be abusing alcohol include the following, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

  • Drinking alcoholic beverages four or more times per week
  • Having five or more alcoholic drinks a day
  • Not being able to stop drinking after starting
  • Needing a drink to face the day
  • Feeling guilty, or remorseful, after drinking
  • Hearing someone close to you say he or she is concerned about you, or your drinking

Dual Diagnosis: Dealing With Two Disorders At Once

Comorbidity, or when two or more illnesses (including addiction) affect one person at the same time, is common for people who have mental disorders or people with substance abuse—one tends to contribute to development of the other. This is in part because drug addiction is a mental illness; addiction changes the way a person’s brain works, making it characteristic of many mental illnesses. In terms of numbers, in contrast to those who do not have a substance abuse disorder, people with addiction are twice as likely to also develop a mood or anxiety disorder. The first step in diagnosing is the careful identification of both addiction and anxiety disorders.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Mental Illness

Seeking Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders

Because there is such a high rate for co-occurring disorders, when treating two illnesses at once, it is imperative that treatment involves careful diagnosis and appropriate treatment for both disorders—not just one of them.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Substance Abuse

Although medications exist for treating single addictions to alcohol, opioids, and nicotine, no single drug has been developed specifically to treat addiction to two or more substances. However, there are some medications that may aid in the treatment of two disorders, such as bupropion, which can treat depression and nicotine addiction, and may also reduce cravings for methamphetamine, according to National Institute of Drug Abuse. Further research must be conducted in order to understand how medications can be used to treat people with comorbidities, but behavioral therapies are also available, and can be effective at treating people with comorbidities.

The Next Step: Finding Help For Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders can be disastrous when left untreated. In particular, having co-occurring disorders can mean that the victim never fully recovers from Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.either addiction. A person with social anxiety, in other words, may struggle with addiction his whole life. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, and also battling addiction, (or even if they are battling a different set of comorbidities) do not ignore the signs. Contact us today at to help get the proper diagnosis and treatment, and to get your life back on track.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America- Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Abuse
Anxiety and Depression Association of America- Substance Use Disorders
Genetic Science Learning Center- Mental Illness: The Challenge of Dual Diagnosis
National Institute of Drug Abuse- Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse

What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean And How Common Is It?

The term “dual diagnosis” (also sometimes called “co-occurring disorders,” or “comorbidity”) may sound intimidating or even frightening. However, dual diagnosis simply means that a person has both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue at the same time.

A recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that over 18% adults report some kind of mental illness. In addition, more than 8% of adults report a substance use disorder. While not everyone with a mental illness also has a substance abuse problem or vice versa, in the United States altogether almost 8 million people over age 18 report having both a mental health issue and a problem with substance abuse. Including adolescents, millions more are effected. After depression, anxiety disorders collectively are the most common mental health issues among people with substance use disorders.

What Are Common Types Of Anxiety Disorders?

If you or a loved one is dealing with an anxiety disorder as well as substance abuse, you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people with anxiety disorders experience substance abuse or dependence at a rate almost two times higher than the general population. In addition, individuals struggling with substance abuse are also roughly two times more likely than average to be struggling with an anxiety disorder.

While any type of anxiety disorder can accompany substance abuse, research indicates that the three most common anxiety disorders in people with any kind of alcohol or drug use disorder are:

  • Specific phobias (extreme fear of a particular thing, place, or situation that is mostly harmless)
  • Social phobia (significant anxiety and self-consciousness around interactions with others)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (extreme worry about everyday activities)

Drug Induced Symptoms Or Dual Diagnosis? Understanding The Difference

Withdrawal symptoms vary from substance to substance and person to person, but may include nervousness and agitation, and other negative physical or emotional states. While these symptoms may look very much like anxiety, they are the result of a person stopping use of alcohol or drugs and do not necessarily mean that someone has an existing anxiety disorder.

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse Definition

In addition, the effects of coming off alcohol or certain substances can mimic some of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Assessment for anxiety disorders should occur only once a person is no longer actively using or going through withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Therefore, it is important for someone entering treatment to be properly monitored and evaluated by a skilled team of experts.

Which Comes First – Anxiety or Substance Abuse?

There are several ways by which someone may come to have a dual diagnosis of anxiety and a substance abuse disorder:

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse Which Came First

In the first example above, a person with an existing anxiety disorder then develops a substance abuse problem. For such people, substance abuse may grow out of an attempt to self-medicate or cope with their feelings of fear, worry, panic, or dread. Research consistently shows that three out of four individuals with a dual diagnosis of anxiety and a substance use disorder fall into this category.

The second example applies to a person who first has a substance abuse problem and then goes on to develop an anxiety disorder. In this situation as a person begins to experience the symptoms of an anxiety disorder as their use of alcohol or drugs escalates and impacts their physical, emotional, or cognitive functioning. According to results compiled from several large-scale national health studies, people with the most severe substance use disorders – who are only able to function normally when using the substance and who experience withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug – experience the highest rates of all anxiety disorders.

A third possibility is that a person develops both an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously. In such cases where the two issues develop together, it may be in response to external stressors, or as a result of unique individual characteristics. While less is known about this pattern of anxiety and substance abuse, people who have survived physical or emotional trauma may be particularly vulnerable.

Anxiety And Substance Abuse – A Self-Perpetuating Cycle

In all of the patterns described above, the symptoms of anxiety and the abuse of alcohol or drugs ultimately become intertwined. A person may use a substance to avoid the negative emotions they experience when feeling anxious. While substance abuse may temporarily numb those feelings, or even create feelings of euphoria, the negative emotions inevitably return.

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse Healthy Coping Skills

Without healthy coping skills, feelings of panic, anxiety, and dread can create a situation in which further substance abuse is likely, setting up a self-perpetuating cycle of anxiety and substance abuse. Regardless of the order in which someone develops an anxiety and substance abuse, it is important to understand that without appropriate intervention the two problems can maintain and reinforce each other.

Finding The Best Treatment Options

It can be a challenge to address either an anxiety disorder or a substance abuse issue on its own. When a person experiences the two together, however, it is even more important to take the time to educate yourself and learn about the treatment options available. Seeking the right kind of professional treatment for you or your loved one is key to successfully overcoming both anxiety and substance abuse.

In the past, traditional treatment methods focused first on addressing substance abuse before any mental health issues. However, research now shows that the most effective treatments for anxiety and substance abuse use cognitive behavioral therapies to treat both conditions at the same time. Such programs help the person struggling with both anxiety and substance abuse learn new ways of coping with their anxious feelings, helping to break the cycle of self-medication.

In addition, preliminary research into in “mindfulness” (meditation with a deep focus on the present without judgment) also shows promising results. By encouraging thoughtful awareness of one’s physical and emotional reactions, this kind of training may also help break the pattern of reacting to anxiety or emotional distress with substance use.

Some studies do indicate that for particular anxiety disorders co-occurring with substance abuse, certain medications can improve both the symptoms of anxiety and substance use outcomes. Medications to treat anxiety may be harmful, however, if an individual experiences a relapse of substance abuse while in treatment. Further, some anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, have a higher potential for being abused. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of other types of anti-anxiety medications with a trained medical professional.

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.At, we can guide you to the top-rated treatment centers with the right experience and expertise for you or your loved one. Please contact us today to learn more about your treatment options and get the help you need in overcoming anxiety and substance abuse.

How To Detox From Alcohol

How To Detox From Alcohol

When a person is recovering from alcohol addiction, one of the first steps, and possibly one of the most difficult, is detox. suddenly stops drinking, their body goes into withdrawal. Contrary to what some people may think, or what various misleading web forums suggest, detoxing at home without medical guidance can be highly risky. We strongly recommend that a person be medically supervised during this time.

Unsupervised Withdrawal Can Be Very Dangerous

Many people who have fallen victim to alcohol addiction have tried to detox from alcohol at home without any guidance or medical support, and invariably, countless fail. Detoxing from alcohol is not as easy as some may assume. Withdrawal is an uncomfortable, dangerous, and even life-threatening process with numerous health risks. If you suffer from an alcohol addiction, detoxing from alcohol is necessary to get your life back on track.

The first few days of detoxing from alcohol can be both mentally and physically taxing. At this time, symptoms of withdrawal will be at their worst, and it may seem easier to begin drinking again as a means to avoid going down this uncomfortable path. Please, do not do this—this is yet another reason to seek help—a medical support team can assist you in working through this period, so that you do not turn back to alcohol.

What Happens When You Seek Help During This Time?

Prior to detox, the medical support staff, whether it be at a hospital or rehab facility, are going to do a health assessment and exam. It is very important that you answer all of their questions as honestly as possible, and strive to tell them detailed information about your health, medical, and addiction history. They will attempt to determine the severity of your alcohol withdrawal. According to American Family Physician, the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar) is a commonly utilized tool to discover this.

At this point, they will do a toxicology screen, and other blood or urine tests. They will monitor your vital signs, including your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, because in serious cases, a person may experience cardiac or respiratory arrest. They will also do tests to check and see if you have any chemical imbalances that may be indicative of a greater concern, or any diseases that may have resulted from your alcohol addiction.

Understanding The Detoxification Process

How To Detox From Alcohol Detox Process

What you will experience during withdrawal cannot fully be predicted down to the last symptom. How your body reacts to this process will depend on how long you have been addicted to alcohol and how much alcohol you consumed during this time. A greater intensity of alcohol consumption will likely lead to more severe reactions during the withdrawal process. When you begin the detox process you can expect symptoms of withdrawal to start within eight hours of your last drink, though for some, it may take a couple of days.

It is important to understand that each person’s body handles withdrawal differently, however, there are certain symptoms that are consistent with alcohol withdrawal. Understanding these are an important part of the detoxification process, and will also help you to better comprehend why you should seek help during this time. Here we explain some of the greatest concerns.


It is very likely that you will experience intense cravings for alcohol even a few hours after you have had your last sip. Cravings may be the first symptom you experience, and may also last the longest after you have decided to detox. This is one of the top reasons to make sure you get professional help with detox, as well as throughout the rest of your recovery process.

Having support to help you fight your cravings can be key to a successful recovery. Although some people are very strong-willed and determined, it goes beyond this—detox is a trying time when your body and mind are turning against you, and trying to trick you into having another drink.

When you experience a craving, your brain will likely fixate on thoughts of alcohol, for this reason it is important to find ways to distract yourself. A health professional can assist you in finding other things to do with your time while you are experiencing alcohol cravings. Whether it be a puzzle, a counseling session, group therapy or a new hobby, professionals who specialize in alcohol detox are trained to handle intense cravings, and to help you successfully get through them.

Physical And Mental Issues

When you take alcohol away from your body, it may react in a way that is uncomfortable because it is trying flush the toxins out of its system, while attempting to relearn how to function without the alcohol that it is so accustomed to.

You may feel nauseous or flu-like within the first day or so of detoxing. You may experience headaches, dehydration, excessive sweating or clammy skin, a loss of appetite, pale skin, or vomiting. You also might suffer from high blood pressure, tachycardia (increased heart rate), insomnia or nightmares, and become irritable, confused, fatigued, or jumpy.

Alcohol dehydrates you and can severely imbalance your body’s chemistry. For this reason you may receive an IV to help balance your fluids, electrolytes, and other important nutrients, including glucose, thiamine, or folic acid.

Increased Depression And Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can skyrocket when you are detoxing from alcohol. Your support team may administer medications to help you combat some of these feelings. In addition, they can offer guidance and support through therapy that will make your recovery process go smoother, and help you to foster a more positive outlook.

Body Tremors

As your body continues to detox, you may experience tremors or shaking. These symptoms are quite common among victims of alcohol addiction. The intensity will depend on your body, and again, the severity of the addiction.

Seizures And Delirium Tremens

If your brain and body have become dependent on alcohol, detoxing from it can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. According to a publication from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, seizures present in up to 25% of withdrawal cases. The threat of seizure during detox is usually highest within the first 48 hours of withdrawal, but they may continue after that.

How To Detox From Alcohol Seizures

Delirium tremens (DTs) is a severe form of withdrawal that not everyone will experience. It is more common in individuals that have a history of withdrawal and/or that have drank heavily for ten years or more. It can lead to seizures, deep and long lasting periods of sleep, impaired cognitive functioning, hallucinations, delirium, and even cardiac arrest, among others. This condition warrants immediate medical attention, as it can be life-threatening.

The severity of seizures and of delirium tremens is one of the most crucial reasons why you should not try to detox from alcohol on your own.

Medications For Detox

How To Detox From Alcohol MedicationRemember, your addiction has changed both your body and mind, due to this you might need additional support. Your specific case will be assessed by a professional, which will help determine what path of detox will work best for you.

Your addiction support team may use medications to help reduce your cravings. Some people may struggle with this notion of replacing one drug with another, but it is important to remember the end goal—getting sober. Naltrexone can help you to work through your cravings in way that allows you to move to the next steps of your treatment process, and closer to a successful and long-term recovery.

Your team may also administer sedatives, specifically benzodiazepines, to help control some of the symptoms we outlined above. According to Medscape, beta-blockers, clonidine, phenothiazines, and anticonvulsants have all shown a measure of success in treating symptoms of withdrawal. If a person’s blood pressure spikes to a dangerous range, medications for blood pressure may also be used.

Freedom From Addiction Starts With Detox

Whatever your specific case is, a professional will help you to get on the right track to keep you as safe and healthy as possible during detox. Once you have successfully completed detox, you will be able to take the next steps in your rehabilitation process to get your life back on the track towards wellness.

Deciding to go through detox to overcome your alcohol addiction is a big step. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.addiction, do not hesitate to contact us. At we strive to put people on a successful path to recovery, and can connect you to a facility that employs a compassionate staff and evidence-based treatments. You are not alone in your struggle, we are standing by to help you begin your journey today.

MedLine Plus — Alcohol withdrawal
MedLine Plus — Delirium Tremens
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal
American Family Physician — Outpatient Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

Dual Diagnosis: PTSD And Substance Abuse

PTSD And Substance Abuse

When you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you experience a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Unfortunately, these problems often push a person to begin using drugs or alcohol in excessive amounts which can lead to an addiction. The common occurrence is a result of the complexity of the situation, as PTSD is a very individualized problem and one that affects people in different ways. Drug addiction is also complex, and when it’s paired with the negativity of PTSD, it creates a thick web that can be hard to escape. If you or someone you love suffers from dual diagnosis, you need to understand as much about it as possible in order to beat it.

In this in-depth look at dual diagnosis, PTSD, and substance abuse, we are going to delve deeply into the causes of these problems and how they interact with each other. We will take a look at research study data and teach you how to pin-point the moment when your PTSD started and how it led to addiction. When you finish reading, you will also understand how to best take care of your dual diagnosis and the effectiveness of its treatment methods.

What Is PTSD?

Before going deeper into this subject, let’s take a moment to fully understand PTSD. This is important because you may be uncertain if you have this problem or may be suffering from an undiagnosed case. While this information is not designed to be a medical diagnosis, it can help you get a better idea of whether you have it. Use this information with your personal doctor to come with a proper diagnosis.

The mental health advocacy group, Mental Health America, defined post-traumatic stress disorder in the following way: “Posttraumatic [sic] Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.”

When a person experiences these situations, they develop symptoms that make their life more difficult, such as:

  • Thinking constantly about the traumatic moment, including having nightmares about it
  • Being on high alert or trying to feel overly protected from danger, even when it does not exist
  • Being easily startled and often irritable about nothing in particular
  • Staying away from friends, family members, or even locations related to the trauma
  • Sudden increase in panic or anxiety, causing additional side effects like nausea, dizziness, and even blackouts
  • Severe headaches, cramps, stomach pain, muscle cramps, and even lower back pains
  • Difficulty trusting others and having personal and professional problems
  • Suicidal thoughts that are fueled by the trauma and difficult to face
  • Depression related to the trauma and an increased sense of hopelessness
  • The development of other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia

With this increased understanding of PTSD, you can better understand how it may be influencing your drug addiction.

Where Dual Diagnoses Might Originate

There are a variety of different influences on dual diagnosis and it is valuable to gain an understanding of how they may begin. A few of the most common are:

  • Biology – People who suffer from mental health disorders are often genetically predisposed to these conditions. This may include “super sensitivity,” a problem that may lead to a higher occurrence of PTSD. It also includes increased sensitivity to dopamine and other chemicals.
  • Occurrence caused by triggers – This is a situation caused by a substance triggering a latent disorder. For example, someone who has a predisposition towards bipolar disorder may trigger it by using substances. The same is true of disorders that may lead to PTSD.
  • Inability to cope with life – Stress and anxiety often strip away a person’s patience and coping abilities. If they suffered from PTSD, coping abilities might be even more affected. In this situation, people often turn to substance abuse to alleviate their symptoms and feel more stable.
  • Environmental triggers – Even a person with no mental health problems can develop one based on environment. This can result from a traumatic situation, such as losing both parents at a young age or perhaps losing a job and being threatened with bankruptcy.
  • Poor diagnosis – Mental health disorders often have overlapping symptoms that can cause improper diagnosis. For this reason, a person who has a serious problem, like schizophrenia, may not get the medical attention that they need which may lead to self-medication with substance abuse.

As you can see, any of these situations might also be a contributor to PTSD. That problem occurs when a person experiences a traumatic situation that leaves them feeling drained, depressed, and defeated. Suddenly developing a mental health disorder could cause PTSD, especially if it shows itself in a dramatic manner. Struggling to cope with life and environmental triggers may also cause PTSD, creating an even higher chance of developing an addiction.

Mental Health Problems That Cause PTSD And Dual Diagnosis

Mental health disorders come in a wide range and they each cause a great degree of personal struggle and difficulty. Many of these problems have the potential to cause PTSD and lead to dual diagnosis. While having one of the following mental health problems doesn’t necessarily mean someone will develop a dual diagnosis, it does increase the risk:

  • Mood Disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Panic Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Personality Disorders
  • Schizophrenia

The increased risk of addiction that comes with each disorder varies. For example, people who suffer from antisocial personality disorder have a 15.5 percent increased risk of developing an addiction, those with mania have a 14.5 percent increase, and those with schizophrenia have a 10.1 percent increased risk. This elevated risk is caused by disease symptoms and their possibility of creating PTSD.

For example, a person with schizophrenia may develop their symptoms suddenly and experience a traumatic break from reality. This can cause PTSD symptoms to occur alongside their schizophrenia, further increasing the risk of addiction. However, PTSD and depression are heavily linked, just like depression is with many other disorders, and understanding where depression begins and how it influences PTSD is crucial to further assessing your dual diagnosis situation.

Breakdown Of The Various Theories Of Depression

Depression, like PTSD and other mental health disorders, develops in a variety of ways. Fully grasping these points of development can be important in treating your dual diagnosis and eliminating the negative influence of PTSD and addiction from your life. One of the most common causes of depression is chemical, a problem that Richard H. Hall of Missouri S&T University delves into in his short paper “Theories of Depression.”

Hall states that people with chemical depression often have an underactive production of monoamines, which are chemicals that help promote happiness and stability. He found that people who had low levels of this chemical suffered from severe depression.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Sleep

Another theory he posits includes the effect of poor circadian rhythm in your sleep cycle. The idea is that an unhealthy sleep cycle may lead to increased risks of depression. This is particularly true of people who suffer from low instances of REM or dream-state sleep. His studies found that those who were sleep deprived in a laboratory setting often developed depression symptoms which were not there before.

Beyond these concepts is the behaviorist theory which is the idea that our environment and its influence on us is what leads to depression. Depression is, in this belief, nothing but the result of negative behavior patterns that resulted from learned behaviors in specific situations. For example, if a person who is overweight was teased for it as a young child, they may associate being heavy with negativity. This may cause them to fall into depression if they struggle with their weight.

This theory is also related to the idea of “learned helplessness” or the idea that people with depression learn how to be “helpless” and depressed at a young age. This might have occurred when a child learned to cry to get what they wanted or to claim an inability to perform a simple act, such as tying their shoes. Later in life, they may struggle to break this helplessness and feel that escaping from negative situations on their own is beyond them, further fueling their depression.

What is interesting about the latter idea is how it relates to PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD may experience a state of helplessness in the moment of their traumatic experience. As a result, they may fall into a state of learned helplessness which is new to them and which is hard for them to manage.

The Connections Between PTSD, Depression, And Co-Occurring Disorders

The connections that link these disorders are very complex, but not impossible to understand. As mentioned before, PTSD is heavily linked to depression and other mental health disorders. People who suffer from these problems may not even realize they are and may try to continue going on with their life as normal. This might include drinking alcohol or occasionally engaging in drug use.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Mental Health Problems

Unfortunately for the nearly eight million Americans who have PTSD, this may lead to an increased risk of turning to drugs as a way of self-medicating the negative effects of depression, PTSD, and other mental health disorders. As PTSD often exacerbates these mental health disorders, it can create an even tighter and more difficult to escape dual diagnosis. This idea was tested in a study entitled “Cognitive Distortions In The Dual Diagnosis Of PTSD And Substance Use Disorder,” particularly the way that cognitive ideas caused by PTSD led to dual diagnosis.

The study sampled 102 women with PTSD and a substance use disorder and 27 women who just had PTSD. They found that PTSD led to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. Thankfully, they also found that many of the treatment methods applicable for both cases were effective in eliminating many of the problems associated with the dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction.

Why do PTSD and substance use disorders mesh together so well in such a negative way? There are a variety of influences. For example, a person with PTSD may have troubles sleeping and may turn to alcohol or other calming drugs to fall asleep. Or they may have the opposite problem and feel numb and without energy. Stimulants, such as cocaine or meth, may give them the energy they need to face the concerns of day-to-day life.

Even worse is the way that PTSD can fuel thoughts of depression and avoidance. Drinking alcohol and taking drugs may distract the mind from its depression and further fuel the avoidance of the negative memories associated with trauma. Sadly, these effects won’t last for long, which will cause a person to turn to increasing doses of substances in order to stay stable, happy, and comfortable.

The Connection Has Been Studied

The study of the influence of these two disorders was focused on in “Posttraumatic (sic) Stress Disorder And Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders: Advances In Assessment And Treatment,” a paper published by the National Center For Biotechnology Information. In it, the researchers came to a sad, but important to understand conclusion:

PTSD And Substance Abuse Influences“The comorbid presentation of PTSD and SUDs is remarkably common, and in comparison to patients presenting with either PTSD or SUD alone, PTSD/SUD patients often report greater functional impairment and experience poorer treatment outcomes –including treatment failure and dropout. Several mechanisms have been posited to explain the co-occurrence of PTSD and SUDs, including the self-medication hypothesis, the high-risk hypothesis, the susceptibility hypothesis. The majority of research to date supports the self-medication hypothesis.”

What this indicates is clear: people with PTSD most often use substances to self-medicate the negative influence of their disorder. This causes an increase in usage and even addiction, which is only fueled by the continued occurrence of these disorders. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to treat them, as this can help you break a negative feedback cycle and learn how to live a healthy life.

Eliminating PTSD

PTSD has become such a major problem that a variety of treatment methods have been created to help treat its negative symptoms. The most common of these are various methods of psychotherapy, including talk therapy, individual assessment, group therapy, and family counseling. Often people who suffer from PTSD interact well with others who have experienced a similar trauma, as they can relate and better understand each other.

Psychotherapy can also include methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you identify the negative thought and behavior patterns in your life. By identifying these negative patterns with a skilled therapist you can replace them with positive ones. For example, if your PTSD has you on edge and nervous about another occurrence of trauma, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to substitute those reactions with positive and relaxing ones.

Exposure therapy is also often used to treat PTSD and it is exactly what it sounds like: you are exposed to the situation which caused your trauma. Obviously this is done in a safe environment and it is designed to help you face your fear and beat it. New virtual reality treatments are often available for this therapy, completely eliminating any danger from the real situation.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Eliminate PTSD

Another interesting treatment is eye movement desensitization. This method works with exposure therapy to track your eye movements in order to understand how you are processing your traumatic memories. By teaching you new guided eye movements, you will learn how to better handle your traumatic memories and avoid letting them pull you back into addiction.

Beyond these psychotherapy methods are a variety of medications that treat the depression and anxiety symptoms that come with PTSD. These include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, prazosin (a drug that helps suppress nightmares associated with PTSD), and more. The idea here is to carefully guide you through these negative emotions, balance your emotional health, and give you the strength you need to fight the negative influences of PTSD.

Why Treating Both At The Same Time Is Most Effective

While it is possible to treat PTSD separately from your addiction, it’s fair to say that it’s best to treat both at the same time. Why? The two are so intricately mixed that it can be hard to treat them individually. For example, if you just try to treat addiction without handling PTSD, the anxiety and depression caused by the latter problem may influence a relapse. Conversely, trying to beat PTSD while still nursing an addiction will only fuel the intensity of the problems it causes.

We come to this conclusion after understanding multiple studies that tested dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder therapies and which concluded that treating both simultaneously was the best option. For example, a study entitled “Treatments For Patients With Dual Diagnosis: A Review” concluded that “… existing efficacious treatments for reducing psychiatric symptoms also tend to work in dual-diagnosis patients (and) existing efficacious treatments for reducing substance use also decrease substance use in dually diagnosed patients…”

Essentially, this means that treatments for addiction also work well for people who have mental health problems. This indicates that treating both is not only possible, but preferable, as it is possible to eliminate both problems by utilizing the same treatment methods. Perhaps that’s why BMC Psychiatry, in a study on dual diagnosis client treatment satisfaction, found that “… integrated DD treatment yielded greater client satisfaction than standard treatment without explicit DD focus. In standard treatment without DD focus, DD clients tended to be less satisfied than single diagnosis clients.”

While these studies weren’t necessarily examining PTSD as a dual diagnosis specifically, the promising results they suggested show that dual diagnosis treatments for both mental health disorders and addiction can serve as an appropriate and effective way to eliminate both problems. So please consider making the investment, both in time and money, and helping yourself beat addiction for good.

Finding Appropriate Treatment For Your Needs

If you suffer from PTSD and a drug addiction, there is good news, as multiple drug rehab centers across the nation now focus heavily on dual diagnosis treatment. The rigors and difficulties of modern life have made trauma more of a problem than ever, and rising addiction rates may reflect this reality. It doesn’t matter where your addiction or your PTSD originated: dual diagnosis treatments can help you.

But how do you find a center near you that is willing to help? You could search online and read through a variety of addiction center listings. This may be effective if you are looking to get into a rehab center quickly, but you might be leaving out a drug center in another state that might be more appropriate for your needs. For example, if you are a mother suffering from PTSD caused by childbirth, there may be a center thousands of miles away that focuses on this specific concern.

That’s why reaching out to us at can help you begin your journey. Our addiction therapy specialists know all too well how addiction and Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.PTSD can impact your life. They understand the myriad of influences PTSD and depression has on your life and will work hard to find you a center that works specifically for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to experience the healing power of recovery. Contact us today, we are here to help!


University Of Utah – Mental Illness: The Challenge Of Dual Diagnosis
Mental Health America – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
NHS Choices – Dual Diagnosis
Missouri S&T University – Theories Of Depression
Simply Psychology – Psychological Theories Of Depression
Anxiety And Depression Association Of America – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Springer Link – Cognitive Distortions In The Dual Diagnosis Of PTSD And Substance Use Disorder
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Comorbidity: Addiction And Other Mental Illnesses
U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs – PTSD And Substance Abuse In Veterans
Mayo Clinic – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Treatments And Drugs
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Treatments For Patients With Dual Diagnosis: A Review
BMC Psychiatry – Dual Diagnosis Clients’ Treatment Satisfaction – A Systematic Review