If you suffer from panic attacks, you know that it can happen at any time and with little (or no) warning. Even when you can pick out a logical reason for your panic attack, it doesn't seem to do a lot to calm your nerves.
If you've experienced a panic attack in public, you might find that the anxiety of anticipating a panic attack doesn't help, either. And, if anything, having a panic attack in public seems to increase the anxiety tenfold.
Before you consider getting a prescription medication to keep your panic attacks under control, you might want to try out some of these ideas for coping with panic attacks.
Natural Ways to Manage Panic Attacks
- Keep a record of when and where your panic attacks happen. By documenting your panic attacks, you might begin to notice a pattern and you can get a better idea of what might be triggering them.
- Don't rely on medication. Medication will usually mask the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause and some panic attack medications also have some serious side effects.
- Cut down on unnecessary stimulants. Certain drugs, like caffeine and tobacco, can make your panic attacks worse. If you don't want to quit cold turkey, it helps to reduce your tobacco or caffeine use gradually.
- Find a friend you can talk to about whatever triggers your panic attacks. He or she should be somebody you can trust. A friend who understands what it's like to have panic attacks may know exactly what you need.
- Consider some lifestyle changes to reduce your anxiety and panic attacks. A lot of people have built up anxiety and resentment for a job they hate or something they're going through that they feel they can't change. This can definitely contribute to panic attacks.
- Take a walk. Walking releases hormones that improve your mood and helps to clear your mind from the anxiety that comes with panic attacks. It helps to walk in a pleasant environment such as a park. Fresh air always helps me!
- Sign up for a yoga class. Yoga can help you relax along with a series of poses that can improve health and muscle tone.
- Learn some relaxation techniques. Next time you feel an anxiety attack coming on, take some slow, deep breaths and concentrate on relaxing tense muscle groups.
- Consider counseling for severe panic disorder. Some panic disorders are so severe that you may need help to get it under a control. Talk to your doctor about treatment options and consider scheduling appointments with a counselor.
- Confront your fears. Panic attacks and anxiety can be caused by a past traumatic event or fear of losing control of a situation.
I've actually heard of a guy who conquered his fear of heights by signing up for skydiving lessons! You don't necessarily have to go that far but it does help to take stock of which fears might be causing your panic attacks.
Panic Attacks Can Be Controlled
You can get your panic attacks under control by figuring out what causes them and taking steps to reduce their severity. It'll take some willpower and may take time if you're just starting on your efforts to control your panic attacks.
By staying consistent, you will eventually notice a reduction in the severity and frequency of your panic attacks and you can start getting your life back to normal.
© 2012 Melanie Shebel
Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on September 03, 2014:
Hi Melbel - What a great hub on panic attacks. It seems like the world id full of people who have panic attacks. I think that the world situation and the media making events scary does not help. I do not watch the news but pick up bits and pieces on my iPhone. I have heard others say the same thing. Your ideas can convince others to try to deal with the problem in other ways. Sometimes, eating healthy can help. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Sharing, Blessings, Audrey
Kymberly Fergusson from Germany on September 20, 2012:
I haven't yet used medication for my panic attacks, because I never think to mention them to my doctor - they only occur now and then, usually when I'm completely stressed, overloaded with work, and dealing with flare-ups of various chronic illnesses. The worse panic attack was a bad (allergic) reaction to the first dose of a medication -- I really thought I was going crazy.
For 'normal' occasional panic bouts, I remind myself to breathe deeply and slowly, and then try to call someone ('cos it almost always happens when I'm alone). Making myself warm also helps, especially if I get the shakes - a long hot shower, or using my heat-lap-blanket works well to relax overly-tense muscles. Journalling afterwards helps with stress levels and to find out why I panicked.
James Kenny from Birmingham, England on September 18, 2012:
Great hub with some very useful info. I started suffering from panic attacks last Christmas, and every now and then they occur. I must admit that I'm quick to use medication in order to get a quick fix. But next time I have one, I'll keep this in mind. Voted up etc.
Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on September 16, 2012:
Great hub about panic attacks...I think I've had one before (not diagnosed) and it's real freaky! You can convince yourself of the craziest crap when a little crises happens along!
I was working a night shift once, alone, got off work at 8am went out and it had snowed ALL night! The snow was about 8 inches deep and not even the highway was clear. I was freaked but I asked myself, "is driving home worth dying or should I sleep in the lab?" so I got in the car....hahaha. I made it home but I was PRETTY certain I wasn't gonna:) lol