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Non-medicine strategies for panic attacks

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  • Non-medicine strategies for panic attacks

    Have been having panic attacks all day due to stress from a new job and an upcoming event. Anyone have any strategies for panic attacks that don't involve medicine?
    I'm on so many meds for IC that I don't want to add any more...

    I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

    New favorite quote: "God gives us only what we can handle. Apparently God thinks I'm a bad-ass" ~Author Unknown
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    Current treatments:
    -IC diet
    -Elavil 50mg at night
    -Continuous use birth control pills (4-5 periods/year)
    -Heparin/Marcaine/Sodium Bicarb home instills at night 3-4x per week, more often if needed
    -Pyridium if needed,
    -Pain medicine at bedtime daily, as needed during the day several times per week
    -Antibiotic when doing an instillation to prevent UTI
    -Colace & SmartFiber to treat chronic constipation from meds, Fleet enema as needed
    -Dye Free Benadryl 50 mg at bedtime
    -"Your Pace Yoga: Relieving Pelvic Pain" dvd, walking, treadmill at gym
    -Managing stress= VERY important!
    -Fur therapy: Hugging the cat!

  • #2
    Watching a good movie, exercise (a brisk walk), warm milk, warm bath, telephone a friend, hug your cat!

    I wish I could help.

    Stay safe

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    I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

    Anyone who says something is foolproof hasn't met a determined fool


    • #3
      I've suffered from panic attacks for a number of years due to high stress and at one time sought out a support group as well. In the group we discussed breathing techniques, such as breathing deeply in for a count of four, and then out for a count of eight. (breath in the nose and out the mouth...I might not have this count exact...but that's what I do nowadays) This is to help the system calm down when it's in the fight or flight mode and your adrenaline is rushing. The doctor who ran the group said there is no cure for panic and medicine is a crutch. (I do occasionally take meds for them if they are bad) Breathing and trying to keep stress levels down is key. Also, not fearing the attacks and riding them out (I know...easier said than done) can help you get them under control. It's the constant fear of having another one and losing control that makes them sort of spiral. What used to reassure me is that no matter how bad it gets, I told myself there's no way I'd die. And if I needed fresh air, I'd try to go outside and get some, without feeling guilt.

      I also agree with Donna that distraction is good and do what works for you, even getting up and making a cup of herbal tea can help. Exercise, (running if you can tolerate it) could probably abort the attack almost immediately. (in my experience anyway) Even doing jumping jacks in place can help with the adrenaline rush. (keep in mind, running and jumping could aggravate IC) As for me, I get a lot of nasty physical symptoms so I can't always exercise. Often I'll take a walk with my Ipod or try to distract myself with a movie or other activities that occupy my mind. One time, out of desperation, when I was driving with my kids ( can drive and experience panic) I had my kids sing and I sang with them. The mind is funny, it's hard to focus on two things at the same time... so the singing pushed the panic down to a much lower level.

      There's a book out there call Don't Panic and another called Hope and Help for Your Nerves. Both explain panic and give some good tips on handling anxiety. It would be worth just reading about both books on Amazon. You might even get more tips from the reviews.

      Or even google "how to handle panic attacks" and you might find some good remedies.

      Hope things get better for you!

      Diagnosed: 2011 - have had symptoms for over 20 years. Diagnoses so far: Overactive Bladder, then IC, and now Myofacial Pelvic Pain Syndrome.

      Medicines: For IC am doing PT, and will be taking Gabapentin, Ativan, Tramadol and Ambien. Ice packs and drinking vanilla shakes help. Foods that cause a flare, tomatoes, yogurt, coffee, soda, all sports drinks, and most teas. Take Verapamil, Naproxen (as needed), Omeprazole, Frova (as needed) and receive Botox shots(every three months) for migraines. For allergies I use Claritin and Flonase. (Feel free to ask me any questions about meds.)

      Other conditions: Migraines, allergies, mild IBS.

      "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matthew 21:22)


      • #4
        I started having bad anxiety about 14 years ago, i have learned sooo much about treatment. Books are a great way to find tips. I agree with Toto with the book selections, make sure you check that out. The best ways I have learned how to handle panic is learning how to first breath with your diaphram. You might want to google how to go about doing this. It helps to change your breathing from shallow scared breathing to deep breathing, which actually changes your stress hormones and everything else. A great way to practice this is by doing daily relaxation sessions- you can find music CD's at the store. I used to do them for ahalf hour a day. You visualize a happy calm place and do your deep breathing. Also, food can key to changing anxiety. Make sure you are drinking mostly water and no caffeine, yes this can be sooo hard but actually goes with IC diet. Don't eat too much sugar or sugar substitutes. Last but not least, exercise is key. When you are stressed you body is overloaded with cortisol.. which causes all of those stinky symptoms. Exercise can burn off that extra cortisol and help reduce stress. Hope this helps!
        -Pammylynn Rose
        Wishing everyone a pain free bladder day!

        Painful symptoms start in May 2011
        Diagnosed with IC in Aug 2011

        Axert (only for rare migraines)
        Strict IC diet
        Gluten/dairy/egg free diet


        • #5
          Non Medicine for panic attacks

          I tried that breathing, but the whole time I am doing the breathing my mind is racing about other things I should be doing instead of nothing. But when I got them I use to take about 1/2 zanax and go in my bedroom and watch something on TV. to sort of get interested in it instead of fearing I can't breath. Didn't they use to say to breath in a paper bag for that non medical.
          Good Luck


          • #6
            You could download some "mindfulness" mp3s into your ipod/computer. They will take you through guided breathing, body scan, relaxing exercises. You can find some that only take 5 minutes. Maybe you could even go out to your car on a break and do the guided breathing. Having racing thoughts about other things when you're trying to be mindful is completely normal, I'm still in that stage, too. But the recording is helpful because it calls back your focus on the present moment and your body when you get distracted. Practice breathing deeply expanding in the different directions of your body- down into your pelvic floor, out your back, the sides of your ribcage, and out with your belly.

            From what I've read, being mindful is the only way to permanently help you get out of panic attacks without drugs. One of my CD's keeps repeating to me "research has shown that its more effective to be attuned to your body than to distract yourself from it." I laughed at that because I feel like distracting myselt is a good quick fix, but I also think they're right, and that lasting relief comes from developing a mindfulness practice. Good luck!
            IC symptoms since Dec. 12 2010 after confirmed bladder infection "never went away." Recently also diagnosed with PCOS, piriformis syndrome, and pelvic floor dysfunction, sinus issues. I was in great health before fall 2010.
            Current medications: citalopram 40 mg, valium 2.5 mgs a night, lidocaine patch (for back pain), Prelief
            Therapies tried or continuing: stretches, walks, baths, internal massage, physical therapy, IC diet, IF unit, heating pad, mindfulness based stress reduction classes, cognitive therapy, books on IC and pelvic pain...

            Drugs Tried: the urinary analgesics, 4 kinds of muscle relaxants (including in suppository form), hydroxyzine, 3 kinds of TCA's, lyrica, cymbalta, 6 months elmiron, vesicare, antibiotics, prednisone (after sinus surgery), NSAIDS...
            Supplements: over 20 herbs and supplements, including regimens from TCM practitioner and a naturopathic MD
            Intravesical/Surgical: 3 instills of Uracyst, 2 “rescue instills” lidocaine, bicarb, elmiron; 1 self-instill of marcaine, a steroid, bicarb and heparin; 1 hydrodistention and capsaicin instill (made me worse, still recovering two months later...)
            Other: Acupuncture treatments, magnets (LOL), Anti-Candida Diet (2 months), Wheat free diet, water pH