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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Panic Disorder

The fear of having another panic attack can interfere with your life. It may cause you to avoid events or places, and isolate yourself from people. Your school or work life can be affected. Talk to your friends, family, or coworkers so they can better help you when you need it.

You can help yourself while you get treated. Making changes will help to control problems that can lead to panic attacks. Take these steps:

Make Habits Healthy

Some common habits may make your anxiety symptoms worse. Be aware and limit the following:

  • Caffeine—Found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and soft drinks and more.
  • Alcohol—Limit alcohol to 1 drink or less a day for women and 2 drinks or less a day for men. If you have problems reducing alcohol intake, talk to your doctor.
  • Smoking—Nicotine speeds up your heartbeat and breathing. If you smoke, your doctor will help you quit.
  • Illegal drugs—If you have a substance use disorder, talk to your doctor about getting help.
  • Certain prescription medicines—Talk to your doctor about any medicine you take. Let them know if it is causing problems.

Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep is important for your overall health. A good night's sleep can decrease your stress levels. Make and keep a routine before you go to bed. This may include reading a book or taking a warm bath.

Find a balance between activity and rest. This may help you feel less anxious.

Schedule Quiet Time for Yourself Each Day

Give yourself a little quiet time each day. It may be just a few minutes to help you check on your stress level and take steps to relax.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise has many benefits. A regular routine will help to reduce stress and manage anxiety. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise each week. Short bursts can also help if you feel stressed. For example, a short walk can reduce your stress level.

If you feel pressed for time, try using regular exercise as your quiet time.

REFERENCES:

Answers to your questions about panic disorder. American Psychological Association website. Available at: http://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/panic-disorder.aspx. Accessed February 25, 2019.

Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 25, 2019.

Panic attacks and panic disorder. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/anxiety-and-stressor-related-disorders/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorder. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 25, 2019.

Panic disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder. Accessed February 22, 2019.

Panic disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115030/Panic-disorder. Updated September 21, 2018. Accessed February 25, 2019.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD  Last Updated: 2/25/2019