If I had a dollar for every time someone told me "[Insert substance or behavior here] helps me feel good. It takes my stress away," I'd have a small fortune. Whether it's coffee, chocolate, or shopping, we all have our ways of coping. Yet my friend, clinical psychologist Dr. Thomas Italiano, says that when we try to escape from our negative emotions by using certain substances, we actually feed the beast of panic attacks.
My colleague psychiatrist Dr. Richard Bowskill explains the two ways these things can affect our panic attacks as such: during the intoxication phase, when we're using the substance, and our perceptions and physiology are altered, and in, the coming-down phase, when our bodies are experiencing withdrawal, during which we crave the substance to re-create a (false) sense of balance. Here are the little-known culprits that actually make our panic attacks worse.