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Can I Get a Grip on Panic Attacks?

Can I Get a Grip on Panic Attacks?

Once you get clean, you might think you are in the clear. But once you hit that marker, there will be other challenges to overcome. Panic attacks and anxiety are just one way that you may experience emotional challenges in recovery. Find out how to get a grip if panic attacks are setting back your addiction recovery.

Why it Happens

There may be obsessive thoughts making rounds in your head that you cannot stop or feeling that won’t go away and intensify with time. Eventually, you can find some tools to help the panic attacks go away but they may come back or start to create stress in your life during some point in recovery. People who suffer from severe panic attacks walk around feeling overwhelmed with life and may even have a preoccupation with dying. If things get this bad, it is definitely time to speak with a doctor, because relief may be just around the corner. These things happen because your body and mind are adjusting to life without substances in it, but also because your brain chemistry may have changed through addiction and now it is adjusting itself to life without numbing out.


HALT means ‘hungry, angry, lonely, tired.’ It signifies that it is time to check in with yourself and see whether you are feeling any or all of those feelings. Half the time you may feel panicky, or just tired. You may feel angry and want to call your sponsor. Loneliness happens to everyone in recovery, and being tired is just part of life. In recovery, you need to pay attention and notice these things going on so you can set aside time to get together with a friend, meet up with coworkers, and focus on yourself for a time.


The practice of yoga can do wonders to help you get back to yourself. Especially when you feel so many mixed emotions, those feelings can get stored in your body such as your hips, chest, stomach, and other places. Yoga can help you experience what you feel through your body and expel the toxic feelings.


Taking time to meditate and focus on prayer can offer a great source of inspiration. Simply sitting and breathing is hard to do when you’re in panic mode. This is when it helps to close your eyes, inhale, and exhale. On the inhale, find a word that supports your journey, and exhale any negative words or feelings you’re experiencing.

While it can help to talk to a friend or loved one (even a counselor) it also helps to just try a few things before you land on what works. There is no shame in trying medication, under a treating physician, or seeking therapeutic support for anxiety and panic attacks. There is usually an underlying cause as to why you cannot lose the fear and anxiety. If you can figure out how to do that, you may end up feeling a lot better and less anxious over time.

Anxiety, fear, and panic attacks are all normal body responses to experience following addiction to drugs or alcohol. With so much going on, it helps to know there are people who support and understand what you are going through. Whatever it is, we will help you find what you need. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401