Controlling Panic Attacks Without Medication – Panic attacks can be incredibly debilitating when they occur, and many people fear them because of the uncontrollable physical and mental symptoms that accompany them. Individuals with frequent panic attacks or panic disorder often find themselves living in trepidation and fear of when the next one will occur—especially as sometimes it can be difficult to know what will trigger an attack.
For many people, a panic attack starts with shortness of breath, feelings of disengagement, blurred vision, profusive sweating, or a racing heart. These symptoms feel unstoppable and can be terrifying because of the sensation of being unable to control your own body. Currently, many people turn to medication to treat their symptoms and control their panic attacks, but medication is not for everyone, and some individuals may experience equally unpleasant side effects. However, there are ways to potentially overcome some panic attacks without medication, and a counsellor can help you discover what combination of strategies is right for you.
Strategies for overcoming panic attacks
At Horizon Plymouth, we help our clients who are struggling with panic attacks every day by providing them with different strategies to help regain control of their panic attack symptoms. Some of the strategies that might help to overcome panic attacks without medication include:
- Deep breathing exercises: Deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, has many beneficial effects on cortisol levels and anxiety symptoms. Additionally, because one of the common symptoms of a panic attack is hyperventilation, practicing deep, intentional, and purposeful breathing can help to re-regulate your body. This is also a good strategy to use in combination with other strategies.
- Mindfulness and grounding mental exercises: Become familiar with the symptoms of an oncoming panic attack so that you can recognise when one is coming on. Remind yourself that you are safe, you are in control, and that soon the feelings will pass. You may even practice focusing on details of your current situation, such as location, time, sights, smells, and feelings. Grounding yourself through mental exercises such as this can help to slow the downward spiral experienced during attacks and focus your mind back on the present.
- Visualisation: Visualising yourself in a more positive situation than the one you are currently in can help to decrease the mounting feelings of panic by working to take your mind out of the situation that is causing it to enter the fight-or-flight response. You can try visualising a place where you go to feel calm and at peace, a fun memory, or even a dream vacation that you would like to go on—anything to help you relax and create a mental escape.
- Help prevent onset through an exercise routine: While not a tool to use in the moment, science has shown us that engaging in daily exercise can change your stress hormones over time, resulting in decreased feelings of anxiety, which may in turn lead to decreased instances of panic attacks.
If you have been diagnosed with panic disorder or find yourself living in fear of when you will experience another panic attack, reaching out to an experienced counsellor can help you regain control of your life and mental health. A Horizon Plymouth counsellor can help to provide you with tools for regulation, as well as work towards a resolution of underlying issues related to panic attacks through the application of cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT. A counsellor can help to create individualised strategies that you can use in high stress situations or instances where you feel the initial symptoms of a panic attack. So don’t wait to take control of your mental health and psychological well-being, contact Horizon Plymouth and schedule your initial consultation today!