Healthcare Training Institute - Quality Education since 1979
CE for Psychologist, Social Worker, Counselor, & MFT!!
On the last track, we discussed three types of phobias which result in anxiety. They were simple phobias; blood-injury phobias; and illness phobias
On this track, we will examine the three substances that panic disorder clients misuse most commonly: caffeine; illicit drugs; and alcohol.
Three Commonly Misused Substances
Substance #1 - Caffeine
Those with panic disorder have, at times, been found to be more sensitive to caffeine than the average beverage drinker. One of the more concerning side effects is sleeplessness. Disturbing the circadian rhythms through caffeine usage will often cause a spike in anxiety attacks. Nancy, a 21 year old client of mine, had been a chronic coffee drinker since the age of 15. However, it wasn’t until she was 19 that she began to notice that the jitteriness she had become used to had intensified. After entering college, the panic attacks only increased.
When I asked Nancy about her coffee drinking habits, she stated, "On average, I drink about four cups a day of coffee. It keeps me going well into the night." I suggested that Nancy slowly decrease her intake of caffeine until she was taking none at all. To do this, Nancy first reduced the amount of cups she drank everyday. Eventually, Nancy began to drink tea in substitute for coffee and finally, she found that with a good night’s rest, she didn’t need any caffeine at all. Her sleep rhythms stabilized and her panic attacks became less and less frequent.
Substance #2 - Illicit Drugs
Anxiety and fear to the point of acute panic have been reported. Cocaine can also, obviously, cause extreme feelings of paranoia and anxiousness, which intensify in clients with anxiety disorder. Stephen was a 25 year old anxiety disorder client of mine whose cocaine addiction increased his panic attacks. Once Stephen had confessed to me that he had a drug problem, I immediately referred him to a rehabilitation center. Once Stephen had rid himself of his habit, the panic attacks became much less intense and frequent. Think of your Stephen. Has he or she reached such a point in their drug use that drug rehabilitation is absolutely necessary?
Substance #3 - Alcohol
D.W. Goodwin, a researcher on alcoholism and anxiety, states, "Alcoholism is often found in the families of people with panic disorder. Since alcoholics commonly have anxiety attacks, particularly when hung over, it is hard to tell which came first—panic disorder or alcoholism. Both typically begin in the teens and twenties."
As we stated before, alcohol is used as a means to reduce anxiety symptoms, however there is a second connection between panic disorder and alcohol abuse. When a client suffers from agoraphobia, he or she may use alcohol as a coping mechanism. However, studies have shown that males are more likely to abuse alcohol, which is consistent with society’s expectations for males. Women are more likely to seclude themselves by staying at home.
Technique: Bath Visualization
On this track, we discussed the three substances that panic disorder clients misuse most commonly, which are caffeine; illicit drugs; and alcohol.
On the next track, we will discuss three steps in treating OCD clients, which are identification; exposure; and self-talk.
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