Anxiety: As Panic Attack

 Take extreme, unshakable terror, pack it into 10 to 30 minutes, and you’ve got a panic attack. For that period of time, your breath is short, your heart is pounding, and you’re probably thinking you’re just about to die. These symptoms are so awful that fear of having another panic attack is sometimes enough to set one off. For 1% to 2% of men and women, this becomes a panic disorder – panic attacks that come from nowhere, rather than being caused by a scary encounter.

Conventional treatment of panic disorder requires both therapy and drugs. You should always seek out a trained therapist skilled with handling panic disorders. Tricyclic and antidepressants, as well as medicines called MAO inhibitors, are the drugs of choice for conventional medicine.

Here are some treatments that can be useful as you find a qualified therapist:

Get moving. Regular aerobic exercise (not strength or resistance training) has been shown to noticeably reduce anxiety. Jog, walk, swim, bike, even take yoga at least three times a week. Expect improvements in your mood (and waistline) in about three months.

Look in your fridge. A healthful diet is important for improving anxiety levels. Add as many vegetarian options as possible. A small study showed there was considerably less anxiety among vegetarians. This may be because blood sugar levels are more stable in a vegetarian diet. Get rid of caffeine; it’s a known contributor to anxiety. Sugar, too: It can cause your body to mimic anxiety problems.

Develop good sleeping habits. Research shows that people with insomnia are at increased risk for developing anxiety. Avoid heavy meals before bedtime. Go to bed and get up close to the same time every day as possible. And don’t work out within three hours of bedtime; it takes that long to cool all the way down.

Leave the booze in the bottle. A few drinks may seem like a good way to calm down, but alcohol interferes with your sleep, and it can create unhealthy dependence that may increase, not decrease, your anxiety over the long run.

Natural Methods

The medicinal herb Valerian is helpful as a mild sedative and sleep aid. Look for standardized capsules, tablets, or extracts and follow the instructions on the label. (It can also be drank as a tea but the taste has been described as ‘the taste of how dirty socks smell’. Some people also feel it tastes just fine so you may want to try drinking the tea.) Don’t use Valerian for more than two weeks in a row. Skip a week or two to give your body a rest and then if still needed continue for another two weeks. Avoid use of Valerian with other sedatives (including alcohol) while taking it.

St. John’s wort can be useful for mild symptoms, but talk to your doctor first if you’re taking prescription medications.

Relaxation techniques can also produce excellent results: Meditation, acupuncture, massage, and stress-reduction audiotapes are all fine way to defuse tension, and therefore anxiety.

To regulate breathing and avoid hyperventilation, breathe into a paper bag calming yourself as you force yourself to breath in and out slowly. This will work much better if you can have someone around help but you can also set yourself mentally to do it too. Practice before an attack comes on so you will be assured of the results when an actual attack takes place.

Promising Developments

The mechanisms that underlie anxiety have long eluded researches. But scientists have made strides in solving that mystery. Their research has shown that altering certain receptors in the forebrain of mice can both increase and decrease anxiety levels in the rodents. For the first time, this shows the exact location in the brain where anxious behavior originates, enabling future research to concentrate on that area.


Was this information helpful? What methods have you used to overcome your panic attacks?


One Response to “Anxiety: As Panic Attack”
  1. Samantha says:

    Nice one. A very well-written post on methods to attack anxiety.Here is a very good wesbite that has plenty of guides regarding simple methods to attack anxiety. Thought I might share it with you. It’s at

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