Behind every ‘bad addictive behavior’ is a good intention: wanting to feel less pain, less trauma, guilt, shame. The list goes on. This does not exempt people from making poor choices. People will do most anything to feel relief from fear and stress when they are having challenges with that in their lives. However, panic attacks can set in and keep you from feeling successful in recovery. Dopamine rewards of addiction go a long way to quell the cortisol surge of panic. When you learn to let go of coping mechanisms that rely on fear, stress, and panic, you start to figure out how to replace them with positive things.
Coping with Panic
People who struggle with panic attacks need help to cope with fear, stress, and panic tied to addiction. Trauma recovery in treatment is often essential in helping identify triggers for people. This can also help create a panic-free lifestyle with the right exercises. Anyone can try these in their daily lives if they want to give them a shot. Here’s how to get started:
- Develop your intention: the idea of intention is to show up in recovery. Clearly identifying your triggers and knowing why panic attacks happen is crucial. If you know what triggers them, you can determine how to behave. Commit to this intention of awareness so you remain consciously tuned into yourself and notice any changes in how you feel, think, and act in the moment. If you have information about what panic attacks look like for you, you are more likely to follow through on the intention
- Mindful awareness: expand and support your intention by placing attention on and noticing details of the moment you are in right now. Observe your sensations and feelings and thoughts so you’re aware of what’s happening around you. If you know this, you can measure your response to it. This allows you to see, sense, and anticipate what might be a panicky feeling while you have time to prevent it.
- Slow down and create a new picture: but breaks on panic by using your five senses to reground you in the present moment. Take stock of what is real versus what you imagine. You have the option to shift your focus to conjure up an image that makes you feel good. If you are concerned, just slow down your pace about it and start to consider what you want and how to mitigate symptoms of panic.
Thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, create a panic response. An old part of your brain takes over and you are going to feel panic if you let your thoughts take over. It can be hard but retraining the brain is key. With some practice, you can shift this balance of power from old to new. This allows you to reclaim control, redirect focus, and reduce feelings of panic more often and more quickly.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We teach people how to live a sober life through programs, therapeutic support, and evidence-based therapies. Our recovery program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.