One of the ways a panic attack is like an addiction recovery is that often contrary action is the best medicine. Taking the same response will generally bring about the same result, and panic can trick the mind into believing this programmed action is the right one. Here are a few tips for changing the situation in ways which will help both lessen panic and the desire to drink or use in response.
1. Acknowledge & Accept
When anxiety begins to climb, responding with acceptance is one of the surest ways to overcome. By resisting or trying to control these responses, stress is added to the scenario, making it even harder to find balance. Acknowledgment can be recognized: “I am afraid, and my fear itself is not dangerous to me.”
2. Count to Ten
Like taking a deep breath before responding in anger, take a moment (or several) without giving in to the desire to take immediate action. Keep options open (like bolting for the door), but take time to notice how the panic works, and how you respond to it.
3. Have a Backup Plan
Having an escape route can help with overall comfort levels for individuals prone to high anxiety. Take your own car and have a secondary plan of action.
4. Reach Out
Make sure there is someone or a few people you can rely on to contact should you need help or support. Having someone who understands anxiety to talk to is a valuable asset to restoring a sense of calm.
5. Practice Good Self Care
Take time to pamper yourself, and acknowledge that it’s important to do so. Get a massage or take regular walks. Spending time with a pet can also be therapeutic.
It is possible to get through a panic attack without needing to drink or use, and having tools to cope will only strengthen your confidence in your ability. If your panic attacks or anxiety are fueling an addiction or drugs or alcohol, reach out for help. At Restore Health and Wellness, we offer a dual diagnosis treatment program that focuses on treating the underlying psychological issues that create the urge to use drugs.