One of the symptoms I used to fear was the surge of adrenaline. It reminded me of my panic attacks I used to have that led me to being on clonazapam. I had a few big surges while I was tapering and I ended up in the ER due to one. I don’t want that to happen anymore, so I knew I needed tools.

Here are some suggestions as to how to get through those rushes that elevate your heart rate,  and leave you breathless, sweaty or nauseous.

First, start doing your homework now, before you have a surge. Use the rational part of your mind to tell yourself that even though the surges may feel scary, they are in fact, harmless. Your body will recover on its own. Think back to the times you have felt a surge and realize although it felt scary, nothing bad happened to your body. It is important to have some rational thinking about the process so when one hits you, you can more easily gain access to your rational mind, instead of allowing the fear region of your brain have a field day with you.

Second, make a plan as to what you are going to do if you get slammed with a surge. For instance, my plan is to sit quietly, breathe slowly, access my rational mind and tell myself I am safe and I pray. I used to reach for the phone and call someone as I was so scared, but I realized that for me, that kept my fear going as I was learning to believe I could not get through one with out help. But you do what is helpful for you. What will your plan be for the next time you git hit with a jolt of adrenaline?

Third, let go of the fear. For many of us who were put on a benzo for anxiety, we fear feeling fear. The fear of fear keeps us on high alert though, and we are less able to sink into the moment, and feel the joy and happiness in our lives. We are too busy defending ourselves from a feeling or sensation we don’t want to feel. If you can let go of the fear that surrounds the surges, you will be able to get through them and move on with your day or night.

Fourth, understand that the adrenaline surges are a part of withdrawal, but they are also a part of our emotional makeup. For those of us who are on a benzo for anxiety caused by traumatic events, adrenaline surges can ride in on the waves of deep shame we feel. Its good to tap into the emotions and feel compassion for yourself and find ways to heal. Shame is the most health robbing emotion. It creates a flood of neurotoxic chemicals in our body. It harms our immune system. For those of you who think you don’t feel shame, how about asking if you feel rage? Sometimes, under the rage, shame is hiding.

You have been given a great gift. Benzo withdrawal is not a time for self-pity. It can be a time of tremendous growth. As we face our fears, learn to cope with symptoms and a life that has temporary new limitations, we transform.

To all of you caterpillars waiting to spread your news wings one day,

Dr. Jenn

PS. How do you cope with adrenaline surges? Feel free to post a comment and share.