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Self-Help for Panic Disorder

Ways to Manage Your Symptoms

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Updated May 31, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Self-help strategies are activities that you can engage in on your own to help manage your symptoms of panic disorder and/or agoraphobia. Even though self-help techniques can be a great way to cope with your condition, keep in mind that only a qualified professional can diagnose and provide treatment options for panic disorder. The professionals who treat panic disorder are often the best resource for assisting you in learning about and developing your self-help techniques.

Along with psychotherapy and medication for panic disorder, self-help strategies can play an important role in your treatment plan and recovery process. Self-help activities can range from developing relaxation techniques to reading self-help books or learning effective stress management skills. You may initially want to develop these strategies to help cope with your condition. However, self-help activities can be continued to be used as a way to maintain your success after treatment has ended.

Self-Care Tips for Coping with Panic Disorder

Self-care is an important part of achieving and maintaining your overall health and wellness. Self-care encompasses the physical, spiritual, emotional, and relational aspects of your life. Self-care strategies offer proactive ways to cope with panic disorder and achieve a sense of balance.

An example of a common self-care activity that may impact your condition would be to manage panic disorder and relationships. This can be achieved by working on building up and maintaining healthy friendships and support.

Another popular self-care strategy would be to engage in physical exercise for panic and anxiety. The many benefits of exercise can help you deal with your symptoms by reducing stress, increasing energy levels, and improving self-esteem.

Self-Help Books for Panic and Anxiety

Currently, there are numerous self-help books geared toward assisting those with anxiety disorders and mood disorders, such as depression. Self-help books are a valuable resource in learning effective ways to manage your anxiety and panic attacks. Reading these types of books can help you in understanding more about your condition, including potential causes, diagnostic criteria, and popular treatment options. Self-help books provide a wealth of information on self-care strategies, stress-management activities, reflective exercises, and further resources that can assist with lowering your anxiety and dealing with your condition.

Strategies for Getting Through a Panic Attack

Panic attacks are the most salient symptom of panic disorder and often the most difficult to manage. During a panic attack, you may be met with some very challenging physical symptoms. When panic strikes, it is not uncommon to experience shaking, sweating, accelerated heart rate, and chest pain. Your physical sensations may also be accompanied by numerous unwanted and negative thoughts. Panic attacks typically bring about fears of losing control, going insane, and even dying.

Getting through panic attacks can be extremely difficult. However, there are many self-help strategies you can learn to help you manage these upsetting symptoms. For example, it can be beneficial to try a breathing exercise to help you get through any shortness of breath. You may also want to learn how to utilize progressive muscle relaxation to help your mind and body let go of any mental or physical tension that may have been brought on during an attack. Additionally, developing ways to overcome your negative thinking can assist you in facing your panic and conquering your fears. Self-help strategies that aim to relax your body and calm your mind will help you most in dealing with the wide range of panic symptoms.

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