Treat Panic Disorder and Reduce Anxiety Without Medication
By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated June 22, 2012)
Why learn natural techniques to reduce anxiety when there are medications available? Tranquillizers are often an effective short-term solution, but in addition to their sedating effect, they have a number of drawbacks when used regularly:
- Tranquillizers may trigger or worsen depression in susceptible people.
- The body habituates to tranquillizers over time, which means that increasingly high doses must be taken to achieve the same effects.
- Rebound anxiety often occurs when the tranquillizers are eventually withdrawn.
Antidepressants, which are frequently prescribed for anxiety, are often a helpful short-term solution as well. However, studies indicate that after six months, antidepressant therapy no longer decreases anxiety relapse rates (Ham et al., 2005). Those looking for a permanent solution to severe anxiety should use natural techniques that have proven effective rather than relying on medication in the long term.
The following are a number of research-supported strategies for reducing anxiety and getting rid of panic attacks, or at least significantly reducing their likelihood of occurring. Some strategies are more suited to certain people than others, so it’s a good idea to experiment and find out which ones work best for you (though the more you try, the better your chances of developing a calmer mind and body).
- Learning About Panic Disorder and Anxiety
- Breathing Techniques
- Cardio Exercise
- Systematic Desensitization
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Realistic Thinking
- Worry Control
- Expanding Your Comfort Zone
- Social Contact/Support
- Herbal Remedies and Supplements
- Stress Reduction
- Sleep Improvement
- Lifestyle Changes
- Increase Negative Ions
- Increasing Assertiveness
- Turning Your Focus Outward and Cultivating Mindfulness
- Visualization Techniques
- Nutritional Changes
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Treating Conditions That Often Accompany Anxiety
These self-help articles assume that you have been to a doctor and received a diagnosis of panic disorder. If you have concerning symptoms and have not consulted a doctor, you should do so before assuming that the problem is panic disorder.
This article series is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychiatric advice. Medical concerns should be referred to a qualified doctor.
- Ham, P., MD; Waters, D.B., PhD; & Oliver, M.N., MD. (2005). “Treatment of Panic Disorder.” American Family Physician, 71(4), 733-739. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0215/p733.html
- Smith, M., MA; Segal, R., MA; & Segal, J., PhD. (2012, January). “Therapy for Anxiety Disorders.” HelpGuide.org. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_therapy.htm
- University of Alberta. (n.d.). “Panic/Anxiety Attacks.” UWell.UAlberta.ca.