Discovery Guides Areas


Both Barrels:
The Devastating Comorbidity of Anxiety Disorders and Substance Abuse

(Released May 2012)

  by J. Erick Sinkhorn  


Key Citations





Alcohol abuse: The recurring use of alcoholic beverages despite negative consequences, (e.g.: difficulty with relationships, problems at work or school, or legal problems).

Anxiety disorder: Any of several different forms of a type of mental illness that results in abnormal and pathological fear and anxiety.

Chemical dependency: A primary illness or disease that is characterized by addiction to a mood-altering chemical. Chemical dependency includes both drug addiction and alcoholism.

Comorbidity: The simultaneous presence of two or more medical disorders such as mental illness and substance abuse.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): A form of talk psychotherapy that addresses dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic process.

Depressant: A drug that lowers arousal levels and reduces excitability by inhibiting the function of the central nervous system.

Dual diagnosis: The co-occurring condition of an individual considered to be suffering from both a mental illness and a substance abuse problem.

Hypervigilance: An enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats.

Opiate: A narcotic containing or derived from opium and tending to induce sleep and to alleviate pain. Drugs such as morphine, heroin, and codeine are opiates.

Panic attack: A period of intense fear or apprehension that is of sudden onset and relatively brief duration. Symptoms include palpitations, shaking and chest pain.

Self medication: The use of drugs or alcohol without professional supervision so as to alleviate the symptoms of an illness or a condition.

Substance abuse: The maladaptive patterned use of a substance in quantities or by methods considered dangerous to one's health.

Substance withdrawal: The group of symptoms that occurs upon the abrupt discontinuation or decrease in dosage of drugs or alcohol.