Why Dealing with Co-Occurring Phobias and Substance Abuse is Not as Hard as it Seems

Fear is a response to danger, whether real or imagined. A phobia can create fear of situations or objects which have little to no basis in reality. They may be triggered by real experiences, but the fears eventually become disproportionate to reality. Dealing with phobias means facing these fears that seem very real, but it can restrict a person’s lives to self-destructive degrees. Find out why dealing with phobias and substance abuse can be challenging, but not impossible.

Types of Phobias

There are different types of phobias impacting people. Some of the phobias can include:

  • Social phobia: people become frightened of specific situations like crowded spaces or speaking in public
  • Fear of other people: includes an all-consuming dread of interaction with others
  • Agoraphobia or fear of open spaces
  • Fear of public speaking or being in public spaces with others
  • Claustrophobia or fear of enclosed spaces
  • Fear of animals, spiders, or other creatures
  • Fear of heights
  • Fear of situations like being in water
  • Fear of clowns
  • Fear of the dark
Phobias and Substance Abuse

Other anxiety disorders, including phobias which co-occur with substance abuse, alcohol, and drugs may be used to take the edge off a person’s fears to help him or her to cope with depression. Substance abuse can mask the presence of a phobia. This evaluation is often required to distinguish between the symptoms of an anxiety disorder and the side effects of drug or alcohol abuse. The diagnosis of a phobia can have lifelong consequences for people. The anxiety and fear can be so great it limits their ability to ask for help with other underlying issues, or they mask it by using drugs.

Treatment Options

When treating co-occurring disorders, there, are various ways to offer treatment, including:

  • CBT for development of treatment of depression, anxiety, or phobias
  • Exposure therapy: gradual exposure to the object of fear in a controlled environment. The goal is to introduce the person to the real-world setting. If fear is of enclosed spaces, it might be an enclosed space that makes the best exposure, albeit gradual, for that person to learn how to cope
  • Medication: antidepressants in the SSRI category have been used to treat phobias and other anxiety disorders. Benzo drugs may be prescribed on an as-needed basis but they also carry a risk of transfer addiction
  • Relaxation: meditation, yoga, or exercise therapy, among other things, to provide relaxation for the person’s mind and body to cope with anxiety

Loved ones with addiction often face a difficult circumstance but co-occurring disorders make it even harder, still. The goal for people with addiction and phobias is to treat both but find a way to treat it with the best support possible. This means looking at underlying causes and dealing with addiction and recovery from the start of rehab through the course of recovery for best results.

The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.