Prevent and reduce the frequency and severity of anxiety and panic.
A high percentage of panic attack suffers receiving appropriate treatment will be able to prevent and substantially reduce the frequency and severity of panic episodes. Cognitive behavioral type of treatments is often beneficial. This approach can help retrain and recondition an individual to reduce stress and anxiety. Therapy of this type may include:
- intensive education about the disorder and of the body’s physiological reaction to stress and threat
- desensitization to the various physical sensations or triggers of panic through exposing a person to the actual object, situation or thought
- catastrophic thought reducing techniques
- learning relaxation, proper breathing to prevent hyperventilation and stress management techniques
- restructuring dysfunctional thoughts and patterns
Any contributing problems would need attention as:
- substance abuse and the use or overuse of stimulants (drugs, caffeine and smoking)
- post trauma or depression
- environmental problems
- allergies or reactivity to chemical and toxins
Evaluation, treatment or elimination of any related problems or contributing factors would be the first consideration. Natural alternatives and therapies can then be considered as:
- mind, body or spiritual practices as yoga and meditation
- stress and relaxation techniques
- herbal medicine, nutrition, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and hormones can complement more traditional treatments
- correcting deficiencies of amino acids (the smallest units of protein and the precursors of brain neurotransmitters) can sometimes be helpful in relieving anxiety – can be used alone or sometimes in conjunction with medication
If any history of severe depression or suicidal thought seek mental health services and a qualified therapist or psychiatrist. If there is a history of trauma or post traumatic stress disorder symptoms, some specific therapies may be helpful: Cognitive Processing Therapy or Prolonged Exposure Therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), EFT (Emotion Freedom Technique) and Somatic Experiencing Therapy. If evaluation or monitored treatment is needed for any of these issues, seek help from a qualified, holistic oriented, health care practitioner. (read more on complementary treatments) (read more on PTSD) (About Integrative Psychiatry, Medicine & Holistic Therapies)
Medication may be of value in resistant or severe panic disorder.
Antidepressants as Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Prozac, MAO-Inhibitors, and tranquilizers as Buspar, Xanax, or Klonopin are used and sometimes bring more immediate relief. However, their long-term use is controversial with the concern for their possible cause of other medical issues and also because the withdrawal from them can be difficult. They may not have the same lasting effect as the retraining and reconditioning that takes place with the cognitive behavioral type of treatment, appropriate therapy work and the use of natural alternatives.
Try some of the following techniques to help calm the body and mind.
If not helpful or you recognize the need for skilled or professional help — seek a holistic oriented health care provider with expertise and training in the area of anxiety, panic and mood disorder treatment.
Stop all stimulants like caffeine or stimulant drugs • Notice and let go of fear-based thoughts and worries from the past or concerns for the future • Change your physical space: move to a quiet room or just adjust your posture to a more comfortable position or find a more cozy place to sit or lie down • Turn on some soft, pleasurable music • Notice and shift your attention to comfortable, physical sensations, passing through your awareness • Be aware of your breath: see if you can relax it into an even flow of in and out breaths • Center yourself: think of your whole-self as being enveloped in a loving warm cloud • Imagine a favorite place or moment that reminds you of peacefulness, warmth and total acceptance • allow yourself to accept “what is as is” including yourself in the timeless now moment • Feel completeness and contentment.
Meditate: Focus on the quietness and peacefulness of your breathing • carry yourself into deeper relaxation by releasing your mind from any remaining fears or concerns, or any feeling of mind or physical tension • keep a relaxed focus on any tension or thoughts that come up and let them go • coming back to the peacefulness of the eternal now • after a few moments take a few deep breaths and slowly open your eyes if closed • give a gentle stretch, and feel the peacefulness and relaxation • gently return to your daily tasks as a renewed spirit.
Take a yoga, chi gong, meditation class, and have a regular routine of exercise to do daily • Go outside and embrace nature • Do something caring or helpful for someone else • Drink calming herbal tea like chamomile • Take a relaxing herbal supplement like Valerian root, passionflower or amino acids such as Taurine, L-Theonine, or GABA • Add magnesium and calcium to your supplement regime • Take a warm bath or sauna • Get or give a massage • Call a supportive or nurturing friend • join or establish a supportive group or network • Go out and do some volunteer work or work in the garden • Spend time with a loving pet • Read a spiritual or inspiring book or poem • Eat some healthy organic vegetables or fruit • Take care of yourself!
If any of above discussion about anxiety or panic seems to apply to you or family member, and you are concerned, reach out for help, and get the support and direction you need. (a resource ADAA) (Consultations)
Article by Ron Parks, MD and edited by Shan Parks September 2015
What is your next step to help yourself or others who seemed troubled with anxiety or panic??