4 Strategies for Dealing with Panic Attacks Without Medication

It seems as if the medical community primarily recommends taking medication for dealing with panic attacks. After all, it appears to be the easiest way to address the problem. All you have to do is take a pill and everything will be solved, right?

Well, that isn’t always the case.

To be sure, medication is an important tool for fighting anxiety. Yet, there are other effective treatments available that can be helpful when you experience a panic attack.

Looking into alternatives may be especially important for you if you have personal reasons to not resort to medication so quickly.

In addition to deep breathing, why not consider some of the following options for coping with a panic attack?

1. Exercise

One great way to effectively cope with panic attacks is to exercise. This can be accomplished in two ways.

The first is by participating in a regular exercise program that gets your heart rate pumping. Your body releases chemicals, such as endorphins and adrenaline, as you work out. Exercising regularly can help you with staying calm and building resiliency against panic attacks.

But if a panic attack does occur, you might not have the option to zip over to the gym for a workout. Instead, the second way to use exercise to cope with anxiety is simply by engaging in physical movement.

For example:

  • Going for a brisk walk
  • Doing jumping jacks, push-ups, or running in place
  • Shaking your hands
  • Doing any kind of physical movement

For dealing with panic attacks quickly, exercise and physical movement make for a great no-drug solution.

2. Count to Yourself

Another tool for coping with panic attacks is to count to yourself. You can either do this silently or out loud, depending on the situation.

The idea is to distract yourself by focusing your attention elsewhere. Counting also requires mental energy that, otherwise, might be directed to fueling your growing anxiety. Plus, it’s a simple mental exercise that you can do anywhere without special equipment.

To mix things up, why not count in measures of two or there. Or perhaps try to count backward for an extra challenge.

3. Refocus on Your Environment

Besides counting, you can also distract yourself by refocusing on your environment. Look around you and use all your senses. Identify things that you can see, smell, taste, or feel. Create a game for yourself where you must identify a certain number of items for each category.

The idea for this activity is the same as with counting. You redirect your mental energy away from the focus of your anxiety to something else. Also, as with counting, you must mentally slow down for the activity to be effective. And that puts the breaks on panic attacks.

4. Roll Out the Tension

It’s easy to forget that the body is just as much affected by anxiety as the mind. Often people who have panic attacks can feel themselves holding tension in different parts of their bodies. That can include the neck, back, or joints.

Paying attention to an increase in tension can also serve as a warning sign that a panic attack is coming on in the first place.

But if a panic attack is already in progress, try rolling out the tension. How? Take a hard rubber ball and roll it on the affected area. A lacrosse ball works great for that. It’s like an instant massage that can be done anywhere for on-the-spot relief.

Dealing with panic attacks requires using multiple strategies in order to find relief. Although psychiatric drugs do have their place, alternative treatments like those mentioned above can also be useful.

If you want to learn more effective treatments or just need additional support, contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group.