Almost every person is confronting some or the other type of phobia or irrational fears; however, some phobias, such as fear of heights, fear of public places, etc., can prove to be quite restraining and disruptive.Overall, phobias are a severeform of anxiety that have thecharacteristic feature of overwhelming fear for some specific situationsor objects. Moreover, phobias trigger extreme levels of physical and psychological reactions.
It is important to deal with phobias because people suffering from this problemoften find it difficultto lead a normal life,especially when confronted by certain situations and objects. Such a problem alsohampers the person’s ability to function normally in bothprofessional andsocial settings.
Although the exact reasons for the occurrence of phobias are not yet fully known, heredity, traumatic experiencesand drug addiction are considered the primary reasons for the onset of phobias. In many cases, people suffering from phobias oftenresortto substance abuse to diminish bothfear andunusual psychological symptoms that affect their life enormously.
In last two articles of theseries, “Co-occurring conditions with anxiety disorders,”other common co-occurring disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and opioids, and social anxiety and alcohol, have been discussed. The current article discussesthe combination of phobias and drug addictionin detail.
People with phobias resort to self-medication with drugs
Overall, there are different types of phobias that includeagoraphobia (a fear of public places), acrophobia (a fear of heights), claustrophobia (a fear of enclosed spaces), social phobia (a fear of social situations), etc. Besides the tendency to avoid exposure to the things and situations feared, some of the serious implications of phobias include shortness of breath, shaking, increased heartbeats, etc.
Despite the root causes of phobias being still largely unknown, one of the reasons for developing phobias is drug addiction. Interestingly, a large number of people with phobias also start abusing drugs to alleviate pain and other symptoms.
As per a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry,about one-third of people having a substance abuse disorder also have a diagnosable phobia. Another one-third of the population who abuse substances and are in treatment have a milder phobia that does not need medical diagnosis.
Overall, it has been found that the use of drugs or other substancesdo not lower the symptoms for which most of the people want to abuse them. In fact, psychiatrists are of the view that the use of drugs and other substances only increase the intensity of phobia in the long run.
Seek treatment to beat phobia and drug addiction
In order to lead a stable life free of drug addiction and irrational fears, one is recommended to seek appropriate treatment to overcome the challenges of co-occurring diseases. Out of a host of treatment measures, the following have been found to be comparatively moreuseful than others:
- Psychotherapy: It may include exposure therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). In exposure therapy, the patient is gradually exposed to the perceived dangers so that his or her wrong notion about the danger could be minimized. In CBT, the patient is taught various coping skills to deal with the fear.
- Medications: Beta-blockers, antidepressants and sedatives may be used as medications for a short term to treat the patient’s anxiety and delusions. However, the use of medication is usually low for treating phobias.
In the absence of appropriate and effective treatment for phobias,one has to witness numerous challenges that affect life, work and relationships. With the availability of effective treatments for dual diagnosis,including phobia and drug addiction, one can easily overcome the physical and psychological implications.
If you have the problem of co-occurring disorders,connectto the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline to know more about the dual diagnosis treatment in California.Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1736 or chat onlineto find out the best dual diagnosis treatment centers in California.
Read the other articles of the series “Co-occurring conditions with anxiety disorders:”