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Anxiety Disorders and Tranquilizer Abuse

Anxiety Disorders and Tranquilizer AbuseAnxiety disorders cause excessive and unrealistic panic that results in obsessive thoughts, nightmares, insomnia, nausea, muscle tension, palpitations and other undesirable symptoms. There are also traits specific to different types of anxiety disorders such as the following:

  • Panic disorder – Panic disorder is characterized by sudden and uncontrollable panic attacks that make people feel they are choking, suffering a heart attack or simply going crazy.
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – PTSD is triggered by a traumatic event and results in terrifying memories and emotional disconnection.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – OCD involves anxious and fearful thoughts that lead to routines and rituals such as constantly washing hands or relocking doors.
  • Social anxiety disorder – Social anxiety disorders is a social phobia that traumatizes people with fear of judgment, ridicule and embarrassment in everyday social situations.

Individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder may turn to tranquilizers which can include the following:

  • Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin and Valium
  • Barbiturates like Amytal and Nembutal
  • Prescription sleep aids like Ambien and Lunesta

Tranquilizers may be prescribed by a doctor or illicitly obtained to self-medicate anxiety, but these drugs should generally be taken for weeks, not months. Abusing any of these drugs can result in a serious addiction.

Tranquilizers and Mental Health

Tranquilizers depress the central nervous system, and taking too many produces risky side effects which can include the following:

  • Memory lapses
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Blurred vision
  • Shallow breathing
  • Respiratory failure
  • Overdose
  • Coma
  • Death

Tranquilizer dependence is dangerously complicated when the addict also suffers from an anxiety disorder. The added risks include the following:

  • While normal prescription use can help a disorder, abuse accelerates it.
  • Anxiety can motivate a person to drive while intoxicated on tranquilizers.
  • Obsessive-compulsive rituals while intoxicated can lead to dangerous risk taking.
  • A panic attack can drive an addict to take a dangerously high tranquilizer dose.
  • An addict may misconstrue an overdose as panic attack symptoms.
  • Social anxiety can make an addict apprehensive to seek addiction help.

Addiction is a neurobiological disease, and like most diseases, certain people are predisposed to addiction. Unfortunately, those same people are commonly predisposed to mental health issues as well. An addict with an anxiety disorder will find that each condition makes it difficult to address the other. For this reason, the best treatment is integrated care that tackles both conditions at once.

Integrated Addiction Treatment

Dual Diagnosis treatment for anxiety disorders and tranquilizer addiction typically starts with a tapered detox that weans the user off the drug. This is especially important for benzodiazepine-class drugs since an abrupt withdrawal can have fatal consequences. Integrated care also includes the following:

  • Screenings and care for anxiety disorders and any other mental health issues
  • Behavioral therapies that improve the way a patient processes thoughts and emotions
  • Psychotherapy to help the patient understand and deal with the anxiety issues
  • Tools to recognize and defend against triggers that prompt drug use and anxiety
  • Intensive group therapy and counseling with other recovering addicts

Rehab centers also provide ongoing treatment and support once the inpatient care is complete.

Tranquilizer Abuse Helpline

Are you struggling with an anxiety disorder and tranquilizer abuse? Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to get the help you need. Our counselors can answer questions, provide information on treatment and check health insurance policies for benefits. We understand what you are going through, and we are ready to help. Call today.