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 Anxiety  Holistic-online.com

Panic Disorders
Alternative and Integrative Therapies

Panic attacks can be beat. Here are some ways you can learn to cope with the symptoms of Panic attacks calmly. See also the alternative therapies listed for anxiety disorders. Most of them are useful for panic attacks too.

Aromatherapy

Lavender is very calming in times of emotional or psychological distress. Inhale directly from the bottle or scent a handkerchief with three or four drops of lavender essential oil. Inhale slowly and deeply whenever panic strikes.

Smelling familiar scents are found to dampen panic attacks. Sniff aromas that remind you of happy childhood or other memories. A sniff or two can almost instantly help curb fears and induce a more relaxed state--the first step in stopping a panic attack.

Surprisingly, baby powder has been found to work for just about everybody. Other odors have similar impact, depending on where you were born. For example, smell of flowers works well for those born in the East Coast of the USA, and the smell of fresh air works for those born in the South. The smell of farm animals was found to work for those born in the Midwest and for the folks who were born in the West, it is the smell of barbecuing meat. Other anxiety-easing smells include salt air, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and Mom's home cooking. You can also use essential oils such as lavender or rose. 

See Also: 

Aromatherapy for Anxiety Disorders

Aromatherapy infocenter in holisticonline.com

Aromatherapy for stress management

Body Work

Tai Chi, qigong and yoga can relax the body and help with the anxiety that patients experience between panic attacks. They can be learned from a teacher and then practiced at home.

Deep breathing

Your probability of hyperventilating is quite good during a panic attack. Your breathing becomes short and shallow . This adds to your state of fear. Take long, deep diaphragmatic breaths. To practice deep diaphragmatic breathing, keep your chest and shoulders in position while you slowly expand and contract your stomach area. You can learn more about deep breathing in our Pranayama Infocenter.

See Also:

Diversion

Doing activities that divert your attention has been found to help in controlling panic attack. You can device your own method. One strategy is to count backward from 1000 at an increment of 3 when you are in the throes of a panic attack. The purpose is to focus on something specific such as counting or touching, but not on your anxiety. Counting backward, counting the stripes on the wall, snapping a rubber band--doing anything that takes your mind off your panic attack helps, because it refocuses your thinking. You pay attention to things around you, rather than trying to fight the anxiety.

Exercise

Exercise is very important in managing panic attacks. Many people make the mistake of sitting down and relaxing when they are hit by a panic attack. This is the worst thing you can do. Panic attack is accompanied by the sudden release of adrenaline. You need to burn that adrenaline by exercising. The exercises need not be very hard. What is important is to do something. Take a walk; move around; do some gently yoga or Tai Chi stretching exercises, etc. are all useful. Studies have shown that people who practice a daily exercise program--rather than just when anxiety hits--bounce back faster in anxious situations.

See Also:

External/Physical Therapies

Fear and panic is dealt with by balancing the body's energy. Touch and massage, comfort and calm, the fearful and panic-stricken person. Place the palm of your hand flat on the anxious person's upper stomach, just below the sternum, and hold the hand with a light, assuring touch until the person calms down.

Progressive muscle relaxation helps the body respond positively during a panic attack. Tense a muscle and hold that tension for five to ten seconds. Slowly release the muscle, and repeat with another muscle until you feel your entire body relax.

Flower Remedy/Essence Therapy

If you are prone to panic attacks keep a bottle of the emergency stress relief formula on hand. Place three or four drops of the formula under the tongue as soon as you feel an attack coming on.. The effect is subtle, but it's a very safe, effective way to restore emotional balance.

The emergency stress relief formula is sold under brand names such as Calming Essence, Rescue Remedy and Five-Flower Formula.

See Also: Bach Flower Remedies for Anxiety Disorders

Food Therapy

Eat more whole grains, rice and millet. These foods are good sources of B vitamins, which have an overall calming effect and keep the nervous system healthy. Stay away from foods with artificial colorings, additives and sugar, because they can make panic attacks worse.

See Also:

Nutrition And Diet

Nutritional Supplements

Nutrition and Diet Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Vitamin and Supplements for Anxiety Disorders

Herbal Remedies

A number of herbs function as relaxants and tranquilizers and may soothe anxiety. Passion flower, valerian, St. John's wort or lemon balm are the traditional remedies to relax and soothe the nervous system. They also help with getting a good night's rest. A rested body is better equipped to deal with emotional situations that bring on panic attacks. Use as teas or tinctures as directed on the label.

bullet

Drink a cup of lemon balm or valerian tea before retiring during stressful periods. 
Drink a tea made from skullcap, valerian, vervain, or lemon balm.

bulletBlack cohosh is relaxing and restorative for the nervous system. Take 20 drops of tincture in liquid three times daily. As tea, take 1 tsp. of the herb in 1 cup of boiling water. Cohosh can be combined with skullcap, passion flower, valerian, St. John's wort or lemon balm.

See Also:

Herbal Medicine for Anxiety Disorders

Herbal Medicine for Stress Management

Herbal Medicine Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

Homeopathy

If someone experiences panic and shock following a traumatic event, try giving him one 30C dose of Aconite. That will often calm a person down.

See Also: Homeopathy for Anxiety Disorders

Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is effective for many patients with anxiety or phobias, partly because the therapy itself brings deep relaxation. This may be combined with other therapies to enable patients to discover and overcome the cause of the panic.

See Also: Hypnotherapy for Stress Management

Imagery

Imagery is very effective in subduing panic. Gerald Epstein, M.D., author of Healing Visualizations recommends the following visualization to manage panic:

Close your eyes. Breathe out very slowly three times and imagine that you are in a closed coffin wrapped like a mummy. 
Accept your feelings and stay with them for a long moment. 
Then push open the coffin, step out and unwrap your bandages. Make the bandages into a ball and throw the ball into a dark cloud, which has formed overhead. 
Watch the ball go into the center of the cloud and break it up. Allow the rain to wash over you, and realize that your panic is gone. 
Before you open your eyes, visualize the landscape around you.

Do this for three minutes every one to two hours until the panic ebbs.

See Also: Imagery/Visualization for Stress Management

Massage

Massaging is very relaxing. Massaging on the back of your neck, around your throat and in your diaphragm area are very helpful for panic attack. Those are the three areas where you can tense up because of anxiety. Rubbing your neck helps relieve tension, which can soothe or possibly prevent a panic attack, while breathing deeply relaxes the diaphragm area. When massaging the neck, massage only one side at a time. If you rub both sides too enthusiastically, there's a risk you may cut off your blood supply and may become unconscious.

See Also: 

Massage Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Massage Therapy for Stress Management

Massage Therapy Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

Meditation

Fifteen to 20 minutes of daily meditation will give you the strength and courage to beat panic attacks. Meditation calms and focuses your mind, helping you to overcome the fear and feelings of helplessness that can trigger an attack.

See Also: Meditation for Anxiety Disorders

Mind/Body Medicine

Because hyperventilation is a central feature of panic attacks, the practice of slow and deep breathing can help reduce the severity and perhaps even the frequency of attacks. Meditation and other relaxation exercises, such as taking two minutes each hour to breathe slowly, are helpful in both calming the rhythm of breathing and reducing anxiety.

See Also: Mind/Body Medicine for Anxiety Disorders

Nutrition And Diet

Since sensitivity to certain foods triggers a panic attack, food allergy testing is strongly recommended. Panic attacks are also associated with sudden fluctuations in blood-sugar levels. Eat small, frequent meals. Eat more whole grains, rice and millet. These foods are good sources of B vitamins, which have an overall calming effect and keep the nervous system healthy. Stay away from foods with artificial colorings, additives and sugar, because they can make panic attacks worse. Also avoid snacks of sweet and refined foods, coffee and other caffeine-containing foods such as colas, which irritate the nerves.

Nutritional Supplements

Supplements help support the nervous system and alleviate the effects of stress on the body, Avoid all supplements that contain nervous system stimulants. The B vitamins help support the nervous system and the body quickly uses them up in times of stress. Certain B vitamins also stabilize high levels of lactate in the body. B6 is most important. A lack of calcium or magnesium increases susceptibility to anxiety and panic. Calcium and magnesium are necessary for relaxation and proper nerve function. A poor diet and alcohol consumption causes a depletion of magnesium, resulting in nervousness and irritability.

Daily dosages:

bulletVitamin B complex, 100 mg
bulletVitamin B6 or Pyridoxal,5-Phosphate, 50 mg
bulletCalcium, 1,000 mg
bulletMagnesium, 200 mg twice

See Also: 

Nutrition and Diet Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Vitamin and Supplements for Anxiety Disorders

Prayer/Spirituality

Panic starts with fear. Although fear may be a reality in our lives, we don't have to let it defeat us. We can triumph over it and feel safe. Prayer, spirituality and a dependence on God can help you accomplish this.

See how in Overcoming Fear and Anxiety With Prayer and Spirituality

Relaxation

Panic attacks can be helped by various forms of relaxation training. Choose the technique that works for you. Relaxation helps diminish symptoms, end attacks and lower the odds of future attacks.

Here is a simple progressive relaxation exercise. Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and follow these instructions.

  1. Clench your right fist. Keep it tightly clenched for about ten seconds. Release and let it go limp. Repeat with your left hand, then both hands simultaneously.

  2. Next, bend both your elbows and tense your arms. Relax them and let them hang at your sides.

  3. Tense and then relax both your shoulders and your neck. Wrinkle, then relax your forehead and brows.

  4. Squeeze your eyes shut and clench your jaw, then relax.

  5. Tense and relax your stomach, lower back, both thighs, buttocks, both calves and both feet.

This will take about ten minutes. Do these exercises about twice a day.

See Also: Relaxation Response for Anxiety Disorders

Self Talk

Talk to yourself rationalizing the fear of the panic attack. This is a great coping mechanism.

Your conversation may be like this:

'Okay, I'm having a panic attack. I know it will pass and I will soon be out of it. I'm not having a heart attack or any other disease that is fatal. This won't last long. It will pass. I'll get through it."

This self-talk will help to take the edge off the anxiety, and your symptoms should start to fade.

Self-talk will also take the edge off your fear of future panic attacks. It will lower your general anxiety level so that further attacks are less likely. Researchers in Sweden reported remarkable success after teaching the technique to people prone to panic attacks. After treatment all but a few were panic-free.

Yoga

The central concept behind the management and treatment of panic attacks by yoga lies in the understanding that it is the fear which is causing the symptoms. Yoga can be invaluable both in helping you to manage the attack, and in reducing your underlying anxiety levels. You can control hyperventilation by using Victorious Breath (ujjayi Pranayama) or Alternate-Nostril Breathing. After an attack, if you are able, lie for several minutes in the Corpse Pose to allow your body to recuperate while the sympathetic nervous system activity returns to normal. Follow a regular yoga relaxation program such as sun salutation, yoga nidra, etc. and practice the Shoulderstand sequence slowly. Make sure that you have incorporated in your daily routine at least six yoga poses. When choosing the poses, choose those that require a complete breath movement. This will help make you physically strong and more able to cope with stress and anxiety. Vary the poses from day to day. This will keep your interest high and strengthen different parts of your body.

See Also: 

Yoga for Anxiety Disorders

Yoga for Stress Management

Yoga Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

See Also the Alternative/Complementary Therapies recommended for anxiety disorders as they will be beneficial for the management of Panic Disorders also.

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