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How to help with anxiety attacks

Posted by Mandy Donnison
on 12 Jul 2022

It’s estimated up to one third of the population suffer with anxiety disorders during their lifetime (1). In fact, anxiety is the most prevalent mental illness in Europe among people aged 14 to 65. (2) Also known as panic attacks, these uncontrollable episodes of paralysing fear can occur for a variety of reasons but are often associated with certain situations or deep-rooted problems. There are several different types of anxiety disorder and once diagnosed, it’s important to get professional treatment. 

Everyone has different ways of dealing with anxiety attacks, but many turn to alcohol or drugs to manage their symptoms, which can result in long-term dependence. It’s also true that alcohol addiction and drug addiction can cause anxiety attacks due to their mind-altering effects on the brain. Delamere uses a variety of psychotherapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, to treat anxiety attacks at its purpose-built wellness retreat in Cheshire. Here, Delamere’s holistic therapists explain the reasons they happen and how to get help with panic attacks. 

Need help with anxiety attacks and addiction? Talk to us today.

What are anxiety attacks? 

Ever had a sudden feeling that you can’t breathe or your heart beats so rapidly it seems like you’re about to pass out? Then you’ve probably experienced an anxiety attack. These uncomfortable feelings can last anywhere from a few seconds up to fifteen minutes and, while some people may only have a few each year, others are unlucky enough to have anxiety attacks several times a day. They can be triggered by certain situations, places and activities or be the result of months of general worry and stress.  

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a condition that builds up over time when a person can’t stop worrying about everything in life. If you find that you’re continuously fretting about your job, health, money or family and can’t let go, you may be a sufferer. This common condition is often hereditary and can be linked to stressful life experiences, such as childhood trauma or neglect. Other types of anxiety disorders include panic disorders, phobias, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

It’s only natural that we will experience some form of anxiety in our lives. Worrying about an exam or taking on a new role at work are stressful situations that can incite fear. But when these anxious feelings become hard to control it can lead to a range of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms. Some people may choose to self-medicate to overcome these negative emotions, which means they not only need help with anxiety attacks but also support to overcome alcohol addiction or drug addiction

Signs and symptoms of anxiety attacks

Heart racing, blacking out, feeling like you’re about to die. Just some of the frightening symptoms reported from anxiety attack sufferers. When we experience stress, our bodies go into overdrive causing certain regions of the brain to become hyperactive. This initiates the ‘fight or flight’ response – a natural response to fear. During an anxiety attack, the body irrationally goes into ‘panic mode’ for no apparent reason causing rapid breathing, increased heart rate, sweating and shaking. 

Physical effects of anxiety attacks:

  • Churning stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Headache
  • Fluttering heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia 
  • Teeth grinding
  • Nausea 
  • Urge incontinence

Mental effects of anxiety attacks:

  • Tension
  • Fear
  • Dread
  • Paranoia 
  • Incessant worry
  • Depression
  • Over thinking
  • Approval seeking
  • Flashbacks
  • Hallucinations

It’s important to get help with anxiety attacks if you experience any of these symptoms. Abusing substances to temporarily manage the physical and mental effects of anxiety only makes the problem worse. Delamere wellness retreat offers a range of residential rehab programmes that focus on helping guests find the reason behind their panic attacks and learn to cope with them without relying on alcohol and drugs. We specialise in treating all kinds of anxiety disorders with compassion and care. If you’re suffering from panic attacks, it’s time to seek help. 

The link between anxiety attacks and addiction

Studies show that substance use disorders and anxiety attacks often go hand in hand (3). Drinking alcohol and taking certain drugs, especially opiates or cannabis, can induce a feeling of calm and intense pleasure, which lessens the sense of panic. If this becomes the only way someone can cope with stress and fear, a dependence can develop which eventually leads to addiction. 

On the other hand, symptoms of anxiety can also be triggered by being intoxicated or as a result of withdrawal from alcohol or other substances. While illegal drugs are known to affect the brain’s reward system, they can also alter a person’s response to stress. This encourages dependency while also feeding anxiety disorders. 

If you’re suffering with anxiety and addiction, Delamere can help you to manage withdrawal symptoms safely and comfortably with a clinical alcohol detox or drug detox followed by one-to-one support from our team of holistic therapists. Anxiety and addiction are two concurring disorders that should never be left untreated. 

Need drug addiction or alcohol addiction support? Talk to us today. 

How to help with anxiety attacks

Panic attacks can be incredibly frightening, and it can be hard to overcome the symptoms on your own. If you’re having regular feelings of fear and anxiety, you may benefit from intensive therapy at a specialist treatment centre. Traumatic life experiences can be a catalyst for anxiety attacks which require one-to-one support over months and sometimes years. In the meantime, there are some things you can do yourself at home to manage symptoms. 

Practice your breathing

The body’s natural response to fear is to get as much oxygen into our systems as possible which forces us to take rapid, shallow breaths. Focus on slowing down your breathing, taking long, deep breaths in through your nose and out of your mouth. Delamere uses focused breathwork and grounding techniques to help guests overcome anxiety with support from their peers. 

Take regular exercise

Exercise has multiple physical and mental benefits. Yoga can help to calm the mind and focus your energy elsewhere. While aerobic exercise is especially good for managing stress levels, relieving tension and boosting your mood. Delamere wellness retreat encourages anxiety sufferers to take regular walks in its six acres of forest, as well as making use of the on-site gym and personal trainer. 

Retrain your brain

While your anxiety attack is happening try to continue with normal activities. Tell yourself that this moment will pass and focus on something else. Some anxiety sufferers use the 3-3-3 technique – name three things you can see, three things you can hear and move three parts of your body. Delamere uses a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and somatic healing techniques to change the negative thought patterns that are fuelling your panic attacks.

Look after your body

Stress can cause low blood sugar which increases feelings of panic. Eating regular, well-balanced meals helps to stabilise your blood sugar and reduce symptoms. It’s also important to avoid substances that can make panic attacks worse, such as caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. If you a struggling with anxiety attacks and an addiction, Delamere can help. 

How can Delamere help with anxiety attacks? 

Are you experiencing anxiety attacks as a result of alcohol addiction or drug addiction? Perhaps you’re abusing substances to cope with general feelings of fear and panic. Whatever the reason for your problems, we are here to help. Delamere offers a wide range of therapeutic services to help guests overcome anxiety attacks. 

If you have become dependent on a substance to manage your anxiety attacks, we will begin with a clinically supported alcohol detox or drug detox. Our holistic therapists provide one-to-one counselling and group therapy sessions to help you make sense of what’s causing your anxiety attacks and find the best methods to treat them.

We are specialists in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based treatments that help people to manage their anxiety symptoms. Guests can also benefit from a range of somatic healing experiences, such as breathwork, mediation, grounding techniques, music therapy and equine therapy. By tackling the root cause of your anxiety and addiction, we can give you the tools to live life without anxiety.

If you think you may be suffering with an addiction, call us confidentially to speak to a member of the team today.


1. Bandelow, B., & Michaelis, S. (2015). Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 17(3), 327–335. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2015.17.3/bbandelow

2. Ströhle, A., Gensichen, J., & Domschke, K. (2018). The Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 155(37), 611–620. https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2018.0611

3. Kathleen T. Brady, Louise F. Haynes, Karen J. Hartwell, Therese K. Killeen. Substance Use Disorders and Anxiety: A Treatment Challenge for Social Workers. Soc Work Public Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Sep 1

About the author: Mandy Donnison

Mandy manages our admin, HR and finance functions here at Delamere. Find out more about Mandy on our team page.

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