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Can Panic Disorders Be Treated Without Medications?

Panic disorders have the power to impair your ability to enjoy a day, go to work, and in some cases, stop you from leaving your house. If your panic attacks have become severe enough to disrupt everyday life, it’s vital to seek diagnosis and treatment. How will you know which treatment is right for you? While medication may be used in more severe cases of panic disorder, you may have options available to you to move forward without chemical relief. 

Here are some key points you must understand about panic disorder.

  • Not every panic attack leads to a panic disorder diagnosis: If you are starting to experience panic attacks for the first time in your life, you must speak with a doctor to figure out the cause. There may be other underlying health reasons that might be causing your panic attacks, which include asthma, heart issues, or hyperthyroidism. 
  • You shouldn’t choose between medication and therapy: If you are diagnosed with panic disorder, you have various treatment options that include medications, therapy, or a combination of both. Medicine is the most effective when used in conjunction with treatment. When treating panic disorder, therapy will provide long-term tools and coping skills that help manage and reduce panic attacks. There are various therapies that can help treat panic disorder, and these include exposure therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and mindfulness.
  • Finding the right therapist: It’s a challenge to find the right therapist – you must find one who is experienced in treating anxiety. Therapists come from various fields and specialize in different disorders, so you must find one that works specifically with panic disorder and anxiety. If you are interested in medication options, check to see if the therapist can facilitate those needs. 
  • Treatment must be based on more than just panic disorder: As you’ll find with addiction treatment, you must have a tailored plan to treat your condition. Each situation is different and unique, and you must consider your immediate needs. It’s beneficial to have a therapist that you can trust and will have your best interest at heart. The hope is you find multiple effective options to determine which plan fits your needs and goals.
  • In the event you need medication, know who can prescribe it for you: Although panic disorders can be treated without medication, each case is unique and will be viewed as such. While one person can thrive in a therapy type without prescription, another may require medicine to treat their symptoms. With that said, there are only certain therapists who can prescribe medications. It’s vital for you to know who they are in the event your panic disorder becomes too much to handle without medication.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals for treatment: If you can move forward in your journey without medication, it’s crucial that you set goals. On the contrary, someone who does need a prescription should have a similar outlook and set short and long-term goals as well. 

As we’ve described throughout this text, treatment is possible without medication, but only a certified medical professional can make this determination. If you are struggling with panic disorder, reach out for help immediately. 

Sources

Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml

David, D., Cristea, I., & Hofmann, S. G. (2018, January 29). Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is the Current Gold Standard of Psychotherapy. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5797481/

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/exposure-therapy

Anxiety Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

Hofmann, S. G., & Gómez, A. F. (2017, December). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Anxiety and Depression. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5679245/

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