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The Truth About Drugs, Alcohol and Panic Attacks

A close-up shot of a woman biting her nails in fear and anxiety.
There is an effective way to treat panic attacks, but it isn’t with drugs or alcohol.

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Panic attacks are terrifying.

Your heart is racing and you feel like you can’t breathe. Even if you know you’re not going to die, it feels like you are.

The reality is that drugs and alcohol really can make you feel better. They can reduce your anxiety and calm you down. It’s an easy fix to a stubborn problem, right?

Well, maybe in the short term. But the reality is drugs and alcohol don’t actually fix the problem.

The Real Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Panic Attacks

While drugs and alcohol may seem like a cheap fix, the problem is that they ultimately make panic disorder worse.

Here’s why: When you’re continuously flooding your brain with mood-altering substances, your brain eventually adapts. It begins to rely on drugs and alcohol to do the heavy lifting and the result is that your natural ability to cope with anxiety is reduced.

And that’s not all. After drugs and alcohol leave your system, you’re likely to feel a general sense of anxiety. The level of anxiety differs by the substance and how much you consume – you’ll feel more anxious after a night of binging on cocaine than after having a couple glasses of wine, for example – but the point is, your anxiety will return.

It’s just a simple fact that drugs and alcohol always create more problems than they solve, which only leads to more stress and anxiety.

Drug Addiction, Alcoholism and Panic Attacks

It’s bad enough to think that you might be making your panic attacks worse by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, but that’s not even the biggest risk.

The real risk is that, over time, substance abuse will lead to full-fledged addiction. Once that happens, many people become powerless to control their use. Drinking or drugging is no longer a choice. It becomes a compulsion.

Luckily, there are healthy ways to cope with anxiety and manage panic attacks. And if you or a loved one is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction as a result of anxiety, there are dual diagnosis treatment programs that can help you overcome both addiction and anxiety.

Help at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we know that addiction isn’t just a physical problem. In fact, that’s almost the easy part. The hard part is finding out why you started drinking or using in the first place and then giving you the coping tools you need to survive—and thrive—without those crutches.

When you walk through our doors in Denver, you’ll be assigned your own master’s level trained therapist and, together, you’ll develop a strategy to manage anxiety and enjoy life without drugs or alcohol. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our 90-day drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

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