How can I manage Panic Attacks without using medication?
Last Updated: 05/20/2019 at 1:02am
Alex DS Ellis, MA, LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist
Feeling depressed or anxious can be so overwhelming. I want to help you feel better and be able to enjoy life. You are not alone and you deserve emotional support.
Top Rated Answers
Managing panic attacks are difficult. The best things to do is to make sure that you're in a quiet environment, try to control your breathing, have someone with you to get you through it, and just to remember that this feeling will go away soon.
The best thing I ever learned with diaphragmatic breathing. As soon as you start to feel the slightest bit panicky, even if it is just your heart rate starting to go up slightly do this. Breathe through your nose, slowly counting to 6 then breathe out to a 8-10 count. The longer the breaths the better. Do this about 10 times. I have never had a panic attack since I learned this.
If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it. Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Placing the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathing slowly and deeply (no more than 12 breaths a minute) helps soothe the body. It may take up to an hour, but eventually the panic will go away on its own. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away. Each time fears are embraced, it makes them easier to cope with the next time they strike, until in the end they are no longer a problem. Try imagining the worst thing that can happen – perhaps it's panicking and having a heart attack. Then try to think yourself into having a heart attack. It's just not possible. The fear will run away the more you chase it.
Well, considering that I've now been off medication for years now, I can give my little tips based on what I do. When I'm having a panic attack: -It'll usually take me a little bit, a little further into the panic attack, to get to a point where I can acknowledge it. Usually I'll yell, scream, breathe heavy, punch a pillow. -Then I acknowledge that this is a panic attack. -Next step, I physically remove myself from the room. Get up, walk, go outside if I have to. Go for a quick walk down the block. -Another option is a nice bubble bath, or a hot shower with music. Sometimes it's music to get the emotions out and let myself cry it out. If I feel a panic attack coming on, like one that has to do with nerves, I try my best do do the following: -Say out loud to myself, that everything will work out. -Find something to take my mind off of it temporarily, before getting back to the task (if it's task related, otherwise keep up with the distractions) -Do something else productive, like exercise, go for a walk, etc. -Worst comes to worst, the hardest part, talking to someone. But sometimes I feel like I can't talk to anyone, so I've been trying to train myself to vent to myself as if I'm talking to someone else. Or another option: Come to the 7 cups of tea community and vent to a wide number of listeners who just want to hear your side. :)
When you're having a panic attack, breath in and count to four at the same time and to six when you're breathing out. Focus on the breathing
Remind yourself, that you don't know what's happening now, but that you might in the future, that there isn't any physical threat (if there isn't) and you don't have to be scared. Continue throughout life to seek knowledge and understanding
You can work on grounding yourself. That really helps for me. Another thing I do, when I feel an attack coming, I count backwards from 1,000 until I can breathe normally again.
There are many things you could do to help you with your panic attacks, it might not come easy at first, but with a little practice and some patience, you will hopefully manage to control them better. here are some easy methods you could try out: - check your pulse and pay attention to your heartbeat, now with your breathing try to follow your beat this way: first three beats, gradually take a deep breath in, hold it for the next three beats, and then release gradually on the following three beats. (I hope I've explained well). - You could as well try this other method, which consists in being aware of whichever place you are at; your bedroom, on the bus, anywhere. pay attention to all that surrounds you, and then start describing all you see to your self ... the different colors, shapes, sizes, smells as well if you can sense any. The more the details you give yourself, the more effective this way can be. (This method, helps deviates your thinking, from what caused you to have that panic attack, to all these details that distract your mind, and therefore helps you ease your anxiety and panic attack. Hope it works out for you. :)
Avoid your triggers, find ways to de-stress, and learn techniques to calm yourself down once one a panic attack hits.
Focus on your breathing. Square breathes help me the most. I would also try grounding, which is: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. Maybe it is a bird, maybe it is pencil, maybe it is a spot on the ceiling, however big or small, Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. Maybe this is your hair, hands, ground, grass, pillow, etc, whatever it may be, list out the 4 things you can feel. Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This needs to be external, do not focus on your thoughts; maybe you can hear a clock, a car, a dog park. or maybe you hear your tummy rumbling, internal noises that make external sounds can count, what is audible in the moment is what you list. Acknowledge TWO things you can smell: This one might be hard if you are not in a stimulating environment, if you cannot automatically sniff something out, walk nearby to find a scent. Maybe you walk to your bathroom to smell soap or outside to smell anything in nature, or even could be as simple as leaning over and smelling a pillow on the couch, or a pencil. Whatever it may be, take in the smells around you. Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like, gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch? Focus on your mouth as the last step and take in what you can taste. I hope this helps!
Because Panic Attacks are so scary, it's very hard to use your skills in the moment to manage them. Mindfulness is a very helpful skill and is - for me, at least - the easiest way to stop my mind from ruminating on whatever it is that may be causing the Panic Attack. Breathing exercises help, going for a walk can help, watching a movie can help, it just depends on what you feel you are capable of doing in that moment.
You manage panic attacks without using medications by using coping techniques like mindfulness breathing, music or even other techniques to help distract you.
Learn to breathe properly! Learn the power of the breath through yoga practice. You can also try buying essential oils (I recommend lavender oil) place 1 to 2 drops on your wrist OR just smell it directly from the bottle, it will help to calm you down! You could also try going to the doctor and telling them that you have panic attacks but don't want any medication for it, they will understand! If you do go to the doctors they may put you on a waiting list to speak to a counsellor or someone professional that deals with anxiety etc, or maybe try the school counselling service if your at school that is. I think talking it through and taking little steps can really help to reduce the impact of having a panic attack, do not bottle these feelings up. I hope I have helped you in some way!
I’m no expert and this may not work for you, but what I like to do is lie down the floor. I lay flat on my stomach and focus on my breathing. If that doesn’t work I grab a pillow and place it anywhere on my body (over or under). I find that it relaxes me. Also, I have one friend that always calms me down so I call her but I’ve never told her it’s a panic attack. Even though I’m usually crying, she still talks to me without asking questions. I ask her to talk about literally anything and it always works.
There are a bunch of tools you can use without resorting to medication. There are a lot of mindfulness techniques you can utilise here. Grounding is a particularly easily accessible technique you can use pretty much anywhere. This works on the basis of shifting your awareness away from the thing that has caused the panic attack and bringing you into your surroundings. You can start by noticing 5 things you can see, 4 you can feel, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. To bring even more focus into this exercise you can describe each of these things you are sensing, focusing on details requires even more of your attention and brings your awareness into the moment more effectively. It's also important to focus on breathing, three deep breaths, slowly, can have an instant calming effect.
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