In this anxiety help guide, you will learn how to stop a panic attack immediately, techniques to overcoming anxiety without medication or therapy, and natural remedies to suppress stress, nervousness, worries, concerns, fear and distress.
If you wish to navigate to a specific section of this page, please use the links below:
- Why You Should Never Use Antidepressants
- How to Stop A Panic Attack Quickly
- Natural Remedies for Anxiety & Panic Disorders
It has been believed that overcoming anxiety and treating panic attacks is something that can only be done through prescription medications and therapy, however that is far from reality. In fact, most prescription drugs are made to only mask the symptoms and never actually provide a permanent cure.
Additionally, it is no secret that almost all prescription drugs cause damaging side effects and can lead to other more serious health risks.
That is not to say that one should never use conventional medicine (as in some severe cases it is needed), but rather that one should not turn to antidepressants as the first resort (not even as a second or third option), especially when you consider the fact that just some of the regular side effects of antidepressants include suicidal thoughts, weight gain, lost of sexual desire, ulcers, heart problems, insomnia, fatigue, drowsiness, dizziness, and the list goes on…
Most people don’t know that there is a safer and more powerfully effective solution. For example, there are herbs that can fight depression far more effectively than antidepressants can. There are also specific anxiety recovery programs such as The Linden Method which were found to be effective in curing anxiety.
We will get into the relaxation techniques and remedies in a minute, but first, let’s uncover a hidden truth about anxiety medications so you can be better informed and make your own educated decisions when it comes to these pills.
Are Prescription Antidepressants Effective in Treating Anxiety?
For the sake of getting to the point with this anxiety help guide, we will not name all the reasons why you should not take prescription medications. We already written a rather thorough article on this called The Dangers Of Antidepressant Drugs which you can bookmark and read anytime…
For now we will just summarize the top four (4) reasons why you should not take these dangerous drugs to start with.
1. They Are Not Effective
I don’t know where these drugs came across to be called the “magic pills” but they certainly don’t work like magic. In fact, studies show that they are no more effective than a sugar pill. In other words, you may get the same results simply using a placebo pill. Combined studies provide little to no evidence that antidepressants are effective as they are intended.
2. They Worsen Anxiety
There is sufficiently new evidence that antidepressants actually worsen depression and contribute to severe behavioral abnormalities. Doctor Peter R. Breggin, a psychiatrist from Harvard University has concluded through a series of clinical studies (conducted over the course of 20 years) that people taking anxiety medications lose interest in daily activities, develop social anxiety, have no feelings of enjoyment, and become even more depressed. In conclusion, they become like zombies with no interest in life whatsoever.
Another study reveals that the initial improvement made by the drug is followed by a negative brain response causing drug resistance and long term anxiety.
3. Withdrawing the Drug is Difficult and Sometimes Nearly Impossible
The reactions caused by the drug’s withdrawal has become so problematic and life threatening that it has become difficult even under clinical supervision.
4. Too Dangerous, and too many Side effects
Consistent use of SSRI antidepressant may produce abnormal cell growth, has negative toxic effects on the brain, and causes emotional deterioration. Not mentioning the countless side effects these drugs have as explained earlier.
In conclusion, are prescription medications really worth it?
These type of meds may not be for you. You should think twice and look for better alternatives. If your already taking anxiety medications and you wish to withdraw from the medicine, seek professional help through a naturopathic MD or a integrative practitioner that can assist you with a comprehensive nutritional therapy plan.
Effective Solutions for Preventing Panic Attacks
Putting an end to panic disorders should be at the top of your list. You should never be too busy for developing a healthier mind and a more energetic body. Most people who experience intense episodes only try to find ways on how to cope with panic attacks as oppose to curing it completely.
As long you try to manage your anxiety, it is simply unlikely that it will ever go away. Its best to be persistent with the techniques and tips we teach here until you have taking full control and eventually learned how to eliminate your worries and fears to the point that it doesn’t tamper with your lifestyle anymore.
Additionally, its very important to work on a complete cure because ignoring your symptoms may only worsen and intensify your anxiety. As you may or may not know, depression, stress and anxiety can lead to other physical and mental illnesses if not treated right away…
Some people for instance start to develop ulcers just from being stressed, worried or simply because they didn’t sleep well, so imagine the person whose overly stressed or depressed? Clear evidence shows that our bodies react negatively to all types of anxiety, so much so that we start to become vulnerable to all kinds of other illnesses both physically and mentally. This is a scientific fact!
We’re not going to discuss the scientific mechanics of what goes on in our bodies when we’re stressed, but we will discuss what we should do to relieve stress, overcome anxiety, stop panic attacks, and prevent it all from happening again.
There are certain procedures that you can apply starting today that can significantly help you get back on track in life and be worry free. In the next few steps, you will learn about:
- How to Stop a panic attack through breathing techniques, mental thoughts, and diet.
- The Foods you need to avoid that contribute to panic disorders, anxiety and more frequent attacks.
- The foods you should eat more of that help relieve anxiety, stress and reduce your chances of panic episodes
- Supplements that help with anxiety and panic attacks
- Vitamins and minerals you need to intake to help reverse your anxiety
The 2 Relaxation Techniques for Ending Panicking Quickly
Before we start talking about the long term procedures for curing panic disorders through diet, nutrition and remedies, lets first discuss the immediate approach for stopping an panic episode or anxiety attack on the spot as you feel it coming. There are two vital steps that will help overcome panic attacks that you can start implementing them immediately (it may require a little bit of practice for some individuals).
1. Breathing Exercise to Stop Hyperventilation
Panic attack symptoms tend to manifest quickly, with the most common symptoms being uncontrollable breathing, rapid heart rate, and sweating. Panic and anxiety attacks are normally followed by hyperventilation – experiencing excessively rapid deep breathing, which causes the body to lose its normal carbon dioxide and oxygen balance. When hyperventilation occurs, the body removes more carbon dioxide from the blood than necessary, leaving you feel sweaty, numbness, dizziness, and nausea.
If you can take control of your breathing, then you will have a better chance of reversing your panic attack before it gets out of control. Hence, your first goal should be to stop hyperventilation before it occurs. Follow the procedures below:
- Focus on reducing the rate and the depth of your breathing. At the earliest sign of a panic or anxiety attack, try breathing through pursed lips, as if you were gently blowing out a candle. This will help balance the bodies ability to inhale and exhale oxygen/carbon dioxide.
- Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
- Do not take deep breaths. This may be contrary to what friends or family will normally tell you when your panicking but deep breaths will actually worsen the attack because it increases the rate at which carbon dioxide is being expelled from the body.
- Try practicing slow, relaxed and rhythmic breathing through your abdomen rather than the chest when your not having an attack. Practice this breathing technique twice a day for about 15 to 20 minutes in each session. A study demonstrated that this can improve your breathing rate when an attack is triggered.
2. Mental Exercise to help halt panic attacks:
You can very further control panic attacks using visualization and your thoughts. Remember, hyperventilating happens when you feel very anxious or when your panicking. This turns into a vicious cycle, where your fear, worries and panic leads to over breathing and in the same time rapid breathing will make you feel panicked. So if you can control your thoughts then you will have a better grip over your panicking.
Use your mental thoughts to help suppress your fears and anxiousness while simultaneously focusing on the breathing exercise outlined above. Follow this procedure:
- Before mentally getting prepared, its very important to control the body before you can control your thoughts. Make sure to first follow the breathing technique above, then after you have controlled your breathing continue with the steps below.
- Keep in mind, that although it may feel like your out of breath or that your suffocating, the opposite is true. Your body actually has too much oxygen when your over breathing, so don’t worry…you will not need an oxygen mask. Slowing your breathing will help balance the oxygen levels as described in the breathing exercise above.
- Carry an mp3 player with you that contains some soothing sounds of nature (birds, forest, river, etc.) and put it on your ear every time you feel anxious or when an attack is triggered. You can even close your eyes and imaging your self in the area where the sound is recorded (. There are plenty of beautiful nature sounds and videos you can find and download from YouTube. This works well for most people.
- Do not remember or think about past panic attacks, or else your brain will get the message the the same process is will be happening again. You MUST change all forms of negative thinking if you will be reversing the attack.
- Avoid negative thinking, period! We can’t emphasize on this enough because it makes all the difference on how your brain responds. Never think of the outcome being something negative (e.g. don’t think that you will be rushed to the hospital, don’t think of something bad happening to you, etc.
- Speak thoughts of positivity in your mind. Say to yourself “stop” in your head and repeat it as if your shouting in your mind. Then follow up by using coping statements such as “nothing is going to happen to me, this will go away anytime now and there is no reason to panic.” This is important because the brain sends signals that cause the fight-or-flight response in the body based on your own internal thoughts. So the goal is to end the negative thought process.
- Be consistent and confident. If you don’t think what your doing will work, then most likely you wont put any effort and you may fail in stopping your panic attack. Assuming you put a lot of effort, you may still fall short in stopping your panicking if your limiting your belief. Its extremely important to have strong belief in what your doing.
3. Other Crucial Steps that Can Help
You can use the following steps alongside the procedures above to ensure your anxiety and panic attack is stopped quicker and more effectively.
- When you feel the onset of a panic attack, drink a cup of cold water.
- Never drink alcohol, caffeine, or sugary beverages such as soda during or after an attack because doing so will only aggravate your anxiousness and speed your heart rate and breathing. Its best to avoid alcohol and caffeine altogether.
- Do not feel afraid. If your fear increases then your panicking will too. Be positive, think positive, and just know inside yourself that everything will be ok.
- Try not to be alone all the time. Secluding yourself causes excessive thinking which can have a negative impact on your anxiety. Keep yourself occupied with someone or engage yourself in repetitive activities such as bike riding, puzzles, reading books, etc.
- Don’t avoid places or situations where you experienced panic and anxiety attacks or where you are afraid that an attack will be triggered. If you do so then you will be inducing a condition called agoraphobia, which is a form of anxiety linked to attacks that occur due to fear of being in a particular place.
- Nature is a good soother so try to relax outdoors in a natural surrounding more often.
- When you find something else that helps stop panic attacks, then adopt and use it for every episode you experience.
Now let’s look at some very effective home remedies for anxiety relief…
Natural Remedies for Anxiety Relief and Panic Disorders
Now its time for the fun part!
Nothing can be more effective than an all-out holistic and nutritional approach for not only relieving stress and overcoming worry and fear, but for also healing your overall mind and body from the constant heavy exposure to ill causing foods and the very toxic environment we live in today.
Let’s face it, the FDA and CDC does not like the term “natural cures” because they want us to rely on the multi-billion dollar drug industry for being the ones that supposedly making us feel better. However, more and more people are taking a step back away from pharmaceutical drugs and are instead turning towards a natural remedy solution or a nutritionally holistic approach that considers the overall mental and physical symptoms of the illness.
Now, a doctor may not admit that natural medicine does indeed work (mainly because they are not experts in the field holistic medicine) but they will admit that antidepressants will not cure panic attacks forever. If anything, the drugs will actually cause your body to be reliant on the antidepressants so much so that it causes more frequent attacks when you try to withdraw from the drug. That’s why its important that you focus on a more permanent solution that acts more as a cure than merely masking the symptoms.
Lets get started…
Foods to Avoid with Anxiety
Avoiding certain foods that contribute and worsen stress and mental disorders is a first step to an effective anxiety treatment. This is an absolutely crucial step that must be considered at all levels because the food we eat is the number one factor contributing to our health both psychically and mentally.
Our bodies are constantly using nutrients derived from the foods you eat to repair itself and fight illnesses both in the short term and long term. The opposite is also true…for example, eating certain foods can trigger an immune system reaction and effect the nervous system negatively which can contribute to your anxiety by causing a state of nervousness, anxiousness, tiredness and stressfulness.
To summarize, the food you eat will have influence on your anxiety in either a good way or bad way. Our internal chemistry starts to change only within a few minutes of eating our food so make important choices for your health!
Top foods to avoid:
Let’s start with the worst contributing factor linked to depression and panicking episodes. Consistent use of alcohol makes anxiety worse, trigger panicking and cause abnormal behaviors, especially in people who are already overly stressful, have depression, or suffer from anxiety disorders. In order to fully treat anxiety, one must first break all alcoholic habits or take alcoholism treatments.
Some of the dangers of alcohol consumption includes:
- Long term heath risks including heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, liver disease and stroke.
- Negative psychological effects, including depression.
- Destabilization of blood sugar levels.
- Interference with sleep.
- Worsening of anxiety.
- Violent behavior and suicidal thoughts.
- Social and family problems.
- Poor memory and inability to learn quickly; poor performance in actions.
- Miscarriage in pregnant women.
- Drowsiness which can lead to motor vehicle crashes and other injuries.
The list above is only the tip of the iceberg, you can read a more detailed list on CDC.
Limiting caffeinated foods should be a top priority for those with anxiety and depressive symptoms such as panic attacks and compulsive behaviors. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system which can increase anxiety symptoms and may trigger panic attacks. Try to evaluate all forms of caffeine in your daily diet to help reduce your intake as much as possible. Its best to never exceed 100 mg a day.
Caffeine sources include:
- Chocolate & cocoa
- Soft drinks/Soda
- Energy drinks
3. Sugary Foods and Drinks
Foods high in sugar raise your blood glucose levels, the spike in sugar levels can then lead to an increase in panic attack symptoms and often times mood swings. When the blood sugar levels drop, it may cause an irritable mood state leaving you feel depressed and sometimes triggering anxiety in some individuals. People who have blood glucose disorders such as hypoglycemia are more vulnerable to the effects of high sugars.
Here’s the take away: If your experiencing any form of anxiety disorder (especially panic attacks), then try to keep your blood sugar levels as stable as possible. That means stopping the following foods:
- Soda (including diet coke)
- Artificial juices
- Sweets, such as cake and frosting
- Sugary cereals
4. Processed Foods
Processed foods stress the organs and body due to the heavy amount of additives, preservatives and high salt content. The British Journal of Psychiatry as well as other researchers and studies have all concluded that processed foods can lead to psychological risks and damaging mental health problems.
Processed foods to avoid include:
- Processed meats, hot dogs and canned meat
- Fast foods
- Artificial desserts
- Refined sweeteners, refined grains, and refined oils
- Diet foods
- Fat free, low fat and sugar free products
- Factory farmed meat and farmed fish
5. Salty Foods
Too much salt depletes your body of potassium, which is a very important mineral that is needed for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Salt also increases your blood pressure which can trigger panic and anxiety attacks due to the strain it puts on your arteries and heart. Limit your intake of salt as much as possible.
High Sodium Foods can be found in:
- Frozen dinners, processed foods and fast foods
- Canned foods such as vegetables and soups
- Pickled vegetables, such as olives, pickles and sauerkraut
- Bacon and salted ham
- Tomato sauce cans
- Some cereals
- Salted peanuts, popcorn, pretzels and potato chips
Foods That Help with Anxiety, Panics, Stress and Depression
Calming foods for anxiety can be many, but we want to focus on the top 5 foods that reduce stress, depression and anxiety. These dietary changes can minimize your symptoms and provide a healthier lifestyle that is sure to make you feel better.
Salmon is a super brain food that should be in your diet at least twice a week. Salmon contains a balance between protein, complex carbohydrates, rich amount of nutrients, and one of the worlds healthiest fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Overall, this incredible fish helps promote proper brain function, fights inflammation, improves cardiovascular health, helps you sleep better and helps relieve depressive symptoms.
Just make sure to avoid factory farmed salmon as it contains dangerously high levels of toxic metals including mercury which can cause more harm than good. Always look for wild caught salmon to stay on the safe side.
Chicken and turkey is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps us feel calm and feel good. If your a vegetarian then its consider the list below as an alternative…
Other foods high in tryptophan include:
- Sesame seeds
- Peanut butter
3. Whole Grains
Unlike white rice and white flour, whole grains contains the germ, endosperm, and bran making it more nutritious than fully processed grains. Whole grains help manage your blood sugar levels which is very important for alleviating stress and preventing anxiety attacks, panics, and mood swings.
Nutritious whole grain foods include:
- Brown rice
- Whole grain breads
Milk, yogurt and cheese is a valuable source of calcium which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and also contains tryptophan which has a calming effect on the brain.
Try to avoid artificially sweetened — low fat, fat free and sugar free yogurt’s because companies substitute the sugar with a dangerous artificial sweetener known as aspartame. Aspartame can lead to serious neurological damages and drastically increase your chances of anxiety attacks.
5. Fruits & Vegetables
Every time you want to eat a snack, try an apple or fruit salad. The high antioxidants found in these disease fighting produce help manage blood sugar levels and improve your mood. The best ones to add to your diet are apples, blueberries, acai berries, pomegranate, figs, broccoli, spinach, and avocado.
Using Effective Herbs for Treatment
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to physical or emotional stress, but luckily there are herbs that can help you overcome anxiety and reverse emotional stress due to their active compounds and calming effects.
Before we move on to the top herbal remedies for anxiety disorders, its important to note that everything we discussed so far should be considered as part of your overall home remedy for treating your anxiety, which includes avoiding antidepressants, using mental and relaxing breathing techniques, stopping certain harmful foods, and eating more of certain good foods that help with anxiety relief.
NOTE: Seek professional guidance from a nutritionist, herbalist or your physician before taking any herbal treatments especially if your already taking prescription drugs. Herbs tend to have a stronger potent effect than foods and certain herbs can sometimes have a reaction with certain drugs.
Top Herbs for Anxiety
Water-soluble extracted Kava has been used in the Pacific Islands where it is grown for centuries as a relaxant. Kava helps promote sleep, relaxation, sharpens mental performance, improves mood, and relieves stress and anxiety.
Studies suggests that kava is very effective for treating generalized anxiety disorders based on a 3 week trial with patients. Although found to be effective in treating depression, it may be best not to use Kava if your taking anxiety prescriptions or over the counter medications.
Its important to note that Kava is currently under scrutiny due to beliefs that it may cause liver damage from heavy long term use, however that claim was never proven. In the same time, studies conducted on patients with anxiety and depression who took Kava for one week shows that Kava was safe to take and did indeed reduce anxiety and have a positive effect on depression…
One must also consider that these studies did not surpass 3 weeks at a time so the belief that long term use causes liver damage remains on the table for the skeptic’s. No studies were made to test the long term safety of Kava if used for 6 month or a year.
If you wish to stay on the safe side, it may be best to use Kava for one week at a time (using for one week, then skipping a couple weeks before another use). Additionally, make sure to only use the water-soluble — peeled root version of the extract and never take alongside prescribed medication.
Bacopa is an Ayurvedic herb used for anxiety and as a cognitive booster (helping in mental abilities such as memory, learning and intelligence), unlike prescription medications that lower mental function. Studies have shown that Bacopa has strongly improved mental capabilities especially in aging people who were effected with depression and anxiety.
Some report that it took about 30 days to start feeling the positive effects.
Available as a tea, tincture and extract, passionflower has been long used as a natural remedy for anxiety, insomnia and seizures in the Native American heritage. Currently, this calming herb is used for generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia and upset stomachs. It increases a chemical in the brain that helps promote relaxation, however it’s strength is milder than kava so it is normally used alongside other herbs.
Benefits of passionflower include:
- Reduced anxiety symptoms
- Help with restlessness and sleep
- Muscle spasms
Top Herbs for Panic Disorders and Depression
1. Ginko Biloba
Ginko biloba is recognized as the number one herbal supplement for improving memory but studies indicated that it was also very useful for depression. A study conducted in France even suggests that this herbal extract helps extend the life of older people.
2. St. John’s Wort
St. Johns wort, known as the natural antidepressant has been used to treat depression since ancient Greece and continues to be used for that purpose especially throughout Europe. Multiple studies concluded that St. Johns wort is helpful for depression and some studies even showed that it was just as effective as some prescription antidepressants.
Help Guide Conclusion
We hope that you greatly benefited from the natural treatments and home remedies explained in this help guide. There are many other alternative medicine but we compiled the best natural remedies that we believe will be the most effective and easiest to follow.
Recapping the overall holistic approach:
- Avoiding dangerous antidepressants
- Relaxation techniques (breathing and mental exercises)
- Avoiding certain foods that contribute to anxiety
- Eating more of the foods that help with anxiety
- Using herbal remedies for anxiety and panic disorders