Video by Jenny, text by Dr. Carandang
Hi, it’s Jenny with AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today comes to us from Jeana in Longview, Texas. What are some non-medication ways to deal with a panic attack?
Panic attacks can be very frightening. Typical symptoms of a panic attack include a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, tingling and numbness of your arms and legs, feeling as if you’re having a heart attack, feeling of impending doom, a loss of control, feeling like you’re dying, also feeling dizzy, shaky or jittery, just to name a few.
Medication that is taken daily or as needed when prescribed by a doctor can help control panic attacks. But going to the doctor can be quite the ordeal, and the meds that the doctor prescribes can have so many side effects. Also, there is so much stigma with talking about mental health, and the costs of the doctor visit and the meds are just too much. There are other more natural, self-reliant ways to control panic attacks without medication. One way to control the panic attack without medication is to identify the symptoms early. The earlier a panic attack is recognized, the better you are able to manage.
For example, if a person starts to feel jittery and their heart starts racing, then they can implement steps to prevent a full panic attack versus waiting until a full panic attack, then they can try to control that. It’s like accelerating before stopping your car. It will be more difficult.
A few ways to control panic attacks without the use of medication are:
- Understand the signs and symptoms of panic attacks so that the situation can be identified and controlled.
- Avoid caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and drugs. These can trigger feelings of anxiety.
- Learn how to use deep breathing to relax and manage physical and emotional components to anxiety. There are many helpful books and websites that offer information on how to do deep breathing. You can practice deep breathing while calm, so that it feels more natural when used during a panic attack.
- Refocus your attention on something else besides your body. Focusing on your body’s symptoms only serves to make the panic attack worse.
- Learn how to meditate or use visualization as a way of relaxing and managing physical and emotional components.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise produces natural endorphins that help to make you feel better and less anxious.