Supplements for Panic Attacks

Natural Vitamins for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

When your heart is pounding, it’s hard to breathe and it feels like the world is closing in around you, it can be a scary feeling. You’re not alone. Panic attacks are pretty common, one large study looking at the prevalence of panic attacks in the US found that around 28% of people experienced a panic attack at some point during their lifetime (Kessler, et al., 2006 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1958997/) although fewer go on to develop panic disorder. That’s what it’s called when fear of having more panic attacks starts causing problems in a person’s life. If you’re avoiding places you’d like to go because you’re afraid of having another panic attack there, that’s a sign that panic attacks are becoming a problem. If you’re skipping work or school and canceling social plans just so you don’t risk having a panic attack, it’s time to get some help, there may also be benefits in natural vitamins for anxiety and panic attacks.

A good thing to know about panic attacks is that while they’re scary when they’re happening, they’re not dangerous, and they’re treatable. Many vitamin supplements, minerals, and herbal products have been suggested as treatments for panic and other types of anxiety. Sometimes it seems like it’s safer to try something “natural” rather than a drug. Keep in mind that any substance you ingest that causes physiological or psychological changes is acting as a drug. The research on supplements for anxiety suggests that there could be some possible benefit from Lavender, but there is some concern about toxicity (http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender). Kava is sometimes advertised as a natural remedy for anxiety, but the risk of liver damage is serious (https://nccih.nih.gov/health/kava). A systematic research review in Nutrition Journal in 2010 concluded that there are some relatively safe and helpful complementary and alternative medicine approaches to anxiety treatment, including passionflower extracts and other supplements (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2959081/).

A quick web search gives hundreds of sites and articles that promise quick relief from anxiety by just popping a few vitamins or supplements. If you want to take Fish Oil and Vitamin D, and your doctor says they’re safe for you, great! Just don’t expect them to cure your panic attacks. Or maybe you should! They might help with other health issues, or maybe you’ll experience a placebo effect and your panic attacks will go away. Placebo effects happen when the belief that a pill or procedure will cure a problem, and the expectation is so strong that it actually leads to improvements. There’s nothing wrong with that, and as long as the supplement that gives the placebo effect is safe and doesn’t have serious side effects, that’s a great outcome.

One final note; sometimes people think they’re having a medical emergency and find out they’re having a panic attack. If you’ve consulted “Dr. Google” to figure out what’s going on with your health and think it’s anxiety, it’s important to see a healthcare provider to confirm that there’s not a serious underlying medical problem that’s triggering the symptoms. Also, that healthcare provider can be a good source of support or put you on the path to finding a good psychotherapist to treat the panic disorder with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Check here for a therapist in your area: http://www.findcbt.org/xFAT/

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

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