Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Risk of Substance Abuse Among those with Anxiety

Psychiatrists warn parents that there is a strong link between mental health and substance abuse. In particular, illnesses linked to anxiety have been shown to dramatically increase the probability of a comorbid condition. Parents of adolescents with anxiety disorder should take this in careful consideration. A dual diagnosis may be difficult to deal with at first, but there are treatment plans can help both patients and their family.

Before any treatment, it is essential to note the differences between both conditions. The anxiety disorder and drug or alcohol addiction have their own unique symptoms that are debilitating. Each condition has symptoms that interact with the other, usually exacerbating the problem. It is, therefore, necessary for both conditions to be treated simultaneously. This is true for any mental health problem but is of importance to anxiety. Alcohol or drugs can sharply increase symptoms or trigger new ones. Furthermore, a majority of anti-anxiety and antidepressants are affected by alcohol, making them less effective.

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 Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders suffer from some form of substance abuse. The prevalence of denial complicates this. Many patients with a mental condition will deny abusing drugs or alcohol. Adolescents especially will deny anything that will make them look like victims (also there is the underlying need to fit in their social group, and appearing "older" and "cooler" by drinking or taking drugs will not help the child).

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 Parents who fear their children may be suffering from substance abuse should consult with their local child psychiatrist. If the case is deemed severe, an intervention may have to be scheduled.

Dr. Jonathan Lauter is a leading child psychiatrist specializing on anxiety disorders. For more information, view this Google page.