When a patient who is already suffering from panic disorder takes stimulants, his problem gets worse. He can develop a variety of other psychiatric symptoms. If cocaine is abused by panic disorder patient, severe symptoms of psychosis and paranoia can be produced by the drug.

Treatment of Dual Diagnosis—Addiction and Panic Disorder:

For a patient having panic disorder, there is enough impediment due to drug addiction. Such patients encounter so much difficulties in life. However, they are less likely to seek treatments, are less compliant towards treatment, and less focused on recovery because severe anxiety associated with panic keeps them uneasy. It has been found in rehabilitation centres that dropout rates are very high among dually diagnosed patients. According to some statistical findings in America, among those having dual diagnosis, very few percentage (i.e. 8%) of patients get treatment for both of the conditions. Whereas, nearly 56% of the patients remain untreated.

According to some statistical findings in America, among those having dual-diagnosis, very little percentage (i.e. 8%) of patients get treatment for both of the conditions. Whereas, nearly 56% of the patients remain untreated.


When a person has single diagnosed condition either panic disorder or drug addiction, the treatment can include a simple range of techniques which are considered to be effective. On the other hand, when both the conditions are present, the treatment gets complicated. Previously in treatment regimes, both of the conditions were treated separately. Most of those drug addiction patients although experiencing mental disorders were not even diagnosed for mental illness. Rehabs considered only addiction as a treatable condition and they considered mental illness as secondary. They provided treatment for addiction and supposed that associated mental illness will recover automatically. However, recent advancement in psychiatric and addiction treatments have brought about an awareness that dual diagnosis is commonly occurring condition in most of the addicts for which specialized treatment is it necessary.

It has been found that effective treatments for dual diagnosis are those treating both disorders simultaneously and thus ensuring long-term recovery. A research showing the effectiveness of specialized treatment for dually diagnosed patients indicated that after completing the treatment program, 39% of the patients remained sober and 68% of the patients recovered from psychiatric problems. The combined treatment for both the conditions decreased the risk of relapse and increased the duration of recovery. It showed better treatment outcomes in the long run.

An effective treatment for dual diagnosis provides following facilities:

  • Provides therapeutic interventions for panic disorder and specific substance use at the same time in similar rehab centre.
  • Has professionally trained staff who are specialized in both addiction and psychiatric management. Some of those rehabs hire staff having one speciality and train them in other modality.
  • They provide empowerment and support to patients who are dually diagnosed and encourage their admission in rehab.
  • They educate patient and their family members about the panic disorder and the effects of specific substance the client uses.
  • They treat both the conditions simultaneously so that patients get recover completely.


Mehwish Mursaleen &Uzma Ali. (2015). Cognitive Behaviour Therapy as Effective Treatment for Fast Remission of Panic Attacks with Agoraphobia: A Case Study. Journal of Pakistan Psychiatric Society, 12 (3),34-36.


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