Veterans navigating their civilian lives must still overcome many challenges as the continued effects of trauma, PTSD, and more continue to impact daily life. For many veterans, these stresses are a part of everyday life and can impact feelings of anxiety, depression, and even panic. Panic can be intensely difficult to navigate, with panic attacks being both common and debilitating. Overcoming panic attacks as a veteran is difficult but always possible. A combination of a dedicated strategy and the professional support of Hawaii Island Recovery can help each veteran overcome panic attacks for a healthier civilian life. 

What Are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks typically manifest as an incredibly intense wave of fear that overcomes an individual, and many of those experiencing panic attacks may immediately fear for their safety or life. However, panic attacks can also manifest without any clear trigger or stimuli, making them difficult to navigate. An effective plan to overcome panic attacks and challenge the changes in perception and other symptoms of panic is crucial for veterans working towards personal goals throughout civilian life. 

Signs and Symptoms of Panic Attacks

While each individual will uniquely experience panic, there are some common symptoms in veterans who experience panic. Some of the common signs and symptoms of panic attacks among veterans include:

  • Changes in breathing patterns or taking, short, shallow breaths or inconsistent breaths
  • Shaking
  • Chills
  • Physical discomfort or unexplained aches
  • A feeling of physical weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Hypervigilance
  • Altered perception of reality
  • Sudden and intense feelings of fear
  • A belief that personal safety or life is in danger
  • Impulsive behaviors

Many veterans may also feel detached from reality during a panic attack and may act irrationally to perceived sources of danger, even when danger may not be present. Veterans who experience panic attacks in civilian life may also turn to addictive substances to essentially “numb” their senses, placating these feelings of fear, even if these feelings can worsen after the immediate effects of alcohol or drugs wear off. 

Panic attack symptoms
Navigating the Stresses of Veteran's Day
Navigating the Stresses of Veteran’s Day

Celebrating Veteran's Day is an important time. Veteran's Day can be difficult for many, and knowing how to celebrate and acknowledge the stresses can be the best approach to a truly fulfilling and meaningful holiday for veterans. For more information on how our luxury rehab in Hawaii can help, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.

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Planning to Address Panic Attacks in Veteran Life

Veterans who experience panic as a result of mental health disorders, trauma, or other effects of their time in service will have to make a plan to address and overcome its effects to engage in a truly fulfilling civilian life. Working with family, loved ones, and the professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery’s Hawaii recovery center can empower veterans to create a plan that addresses panic in daily life, as well as overcome other challenges commonplace among veterans. 

There are always a myriad of strategies that each veteran can explore. Finding the personal combination of strategies that works best for each individual is crucial for establishing a healthy and sustainable approach to civilian life.

Panic attack symptoms

Practice Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques are a powerful skill throughout recovery. Being able to employ effective breathing techniques has several benefits for veterans. First, it forces veterans to take a moment before acting on any perceived stresses or triggers. This second or two of pause can empower veterans to make more educated decisions about how to react rather than reacting to panic’s impulse. 

Likewise, the additional feeling of control that this brings to the situation can empower veterans to regain a sense of agency. Breathing techniques can even also promote mother mindfulness strategies, helping veterans identify the signs of panic in themselves and addressing them while challenging this altered sense of perception. 

Incorporate Mindfulness Strategies

Mindfulness strategies are crucial for veterans to identify changes in themselves, and potentially even address panic before it manifests. Daily engagement in mindfulness techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and more can be crucial. Practicing these techniques daily can empower veterans to utilize them even in stressful situations, and can promote a healthier approach to daily life. 

Relapse Prevention Strategies for Sober Veterans
Relapse Prevention Strategies for Sober Veterans

Overcoming addiction as a veteran is difficult, and having established, effective, and comprehensive relapse prevention strategies in veteran life is crucial to avoid re-engaging with drugs or alcohol. For more information on our dedicated veteran programs and unique approach to our Hawaii rehabilitation, or if you have any questions about your next step, call (866) 390-5070.

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Professional Treament

Veterans may commonly engage in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to challenge how their thought patterns are impacted by panic and the behaviors that can stem from personal beliefs or perceptions. Hawaii Island Recovery’s dedicated and professional approach to CBT can be instrumental in empowering veterans to make their own best decisions. This can also be combined with exposure therapies to help veterans confront uncomfortable feelings create a more realistic perception of triggers or stresses and gradually overcome held fears now that an individual is no longer on active duty. 


Stay Connected

Panic can manifest quickly. Keeping connected with family, loved ones, professional support, or even peers is essential for overcoming these feelings and creating an effective plan. Veteran-specific programs can help veterans connect with peers who are navigating similar challenges and create a community of healing and strategies that are effective in daily life. 

Staying connected can also empower these supports to help veterans identify changes in their behaviors before panic manifests, adding another layer of safety to daily life. 

Avoid Addictive Substances

Drugs and alcohol can worsen the effects of panic, or compromise each veteran’s ability to emotionally regulate themselves as it increases feelings of depression, anxiety, or wrest control of a person’s thoughts and beliefs. Avoiding drugs and alcohol or seeking treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) is paramount for effectively challenging and overcoming panic attacks. 

Panic attacks are incredibly difficult for many veterans to navigate, and having a plan to address panic alongside other challenges like anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, and substance use is crucial for establishing a truly healthy and fulfilling civilian life. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we champion the opportunity to help veterans overcome the effects of panic and create a community of healing for a sustainable civilian life. From our dedicated veteran-specific programming to establishing a community of peers, our holistic approach to healing incorporates not just strategies for overcoming panic but also tending to personal, social, emotional, and spiritual health. For more information on how our Hawaii recovery center can help you, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.