Strategies for Managing Panic and Anxiety

Strategies for Managing Panic and Anxiety

Types of Anxiety Disorders and Strategies for Managing Panic

Anxiety and panic attacks are common yet distressing conditions that can significantly impact daily life. Understanding how to manage these episodes effectively can empower individuals to regain control and improve their quality of life.

Learn effective ways to manage and cope with anxiety attacks, panic symptoms, and most anxiety disorders. Explore cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation techniques, and natural remedies like deep breathing and mindfulness.

Anxiety and panic attacks are part of a broader spectrum of anxiety disorders, including other anxiety disorders.

Understanding the Differences Between Panic and Anxiety

While panic and anxiety are often used interchangeably, they represent distinct experiences with unique characteristics. Recognizing the differences between the two can help individuals better understand and manage their symptoms.

Anxiety and panic are types of mental disorders, and understanding their differences is crucial for effective management.

Defining Anxiety

Anxiety is a generalized feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about an uncertain outcome or future event. It can be a chronic condition, characterized by persistent, excessive worry that interferes with daily activities.

Symptoms of Anxiety:

  1. Restlessness or feeling on edge
  2. Fatigue
  3. Difficulty concentrating
  4. Irritability
  5. Muscle tension
  6. Sleep disturbances

Anxiety can manifest in specific forms such as social anxiety disorder, characterized by overwhelming worry in social situations, and separation anxiety disorder, which involves intense fear of being away from loved ones.

Anxiety can be related to specific situations, such as social anxiety or phobias, or can be more general, as seen in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Defining Panic Disorder

Panic, on the other hand, is a sudden, intense episode of fear that triggers severe physical reactions. These episodes, known as panic attacks, often come without warning and are not always tied to a specific trigger.

Symptoms of Panic Attacks:

  1. Rapid heart rate
  2. Sweating
  3. Trembling or shaking
  4. Shortness of breath or a feeling of choking
  5. Chest pain or discomfort
  6. Nausea or abdominal distress
  7. Dizziness or lightheadedness
  8. Chills or hot flashes
  9. Numbness or tingling sensations
  10. Feelings of unreality or detachment
  11. Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  12. Fear of dying

Panic attacks typically peak within minutes and can leave individuals feeling exhausted and frightened (Mayo Clinic, 2023). Individuals experiencing panic attacks may also be at risk for major depressive disorder, a serious medical illness with various emotional and physical symptoms.

Key Differences Between Panic and Anxiety

Onset and Duration:

  1. Anxiety: Gradual onset, can last for prolonged periods (days, weeks, or months).
  2. Panic: Sudden onset, usually peaking within 10 minutes and subsiding within 20-30 minutes.


  1. Anxiety: Generally lower intensity, with symptoms that are more chronic and pervasive.
  2. Panic: High intensity, with severe physical symptoms that are often overwhelming.


  1. Anxiety: Often linked to specific situations, thoughts, or stressors.
  2. Panic: Can occur unexpectedly without a clear trigger.

Physical Symptoms:

  1. Anxiety: Includes muscle tension, restlessness, and fatigue.
  2. Panic: Includes more intense physical reactions such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Emotional Response:

  1. Anxiety: Ongoing worry or apprehension.
  2. Panic: Intense fear and a sense of impending doom.

Understanding the risk factors for both panic and anxiety can help in developing effective management strategies.

Overlapping Features

Despite their differences, panic and anxiety can overlap. For instance, individuals with anxiety disorders may experience panic attacks. Moreover, the fear of having a panic attack can lead to increased anxiety, creating a cycle that can be difficult to break (National Institute of Mental Health, 2022). Additionally, depression symptoms can sometimes overlap with anxiety symptoms, making it important to consider both conditions in a comprehensive treatment plan.

Impact of Anxiety Attacks on Daily Life


Managing anxiety impacts relationships. Understanding and communication play vital roles in navigating this challenge.


Anxiety attacks can affect work productivity and well-being. Creating a supportive work environment is crucial.

Mental Health

The toll of anxiety attacks on mental health underscores the importance of seeking professional help and community support.

Overcoming Challenges

Dealing with Panic Disorder

Coping with panic disorder involves seeking professional guidance, adhering to treatment plans, and building a dedicated support system.

Breaking Stigma

Addressing the stigma around anxiety and panic disorders promotes open conversations and understanding, creating a supportive environment

stategies for Managing Anxiety

Deep Breathing Techniques: Practicing deep breathing exercises helps regulate the body’s response to stress, calming the mind and reducing the intensity of anxiety attacks. Incorporating stress management techniques can also be beneficial in reducing anxiety symptoms.

Guided Imagery: Utilizing vivid mental imagery to induce relaxation and redirect focus away from anxious thoughts is a powerful way to manage anxiety attacks.

Practice Mindfulness and Meditation:

  1. Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help calm the mind and reduce anxiety. Regular practice can improve emotional regulation and decrease the frequency of anxious thoughts (American Psychological Association, 2019).

Regular Physical Activity:

  1. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to help reduce anxiety levels (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2022).

Healthy Diet:

  1. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can improve overall well-being and reduce anxiety symptoms. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar, as they can exacerbate anxiety (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2018).

Adequate Sleep:

  1. Prioritize good sleep hygiene by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine before bed. Quality sleep is crucial for managing anxiety (National Sleep Foundation, 2022).

Professional Help:

  1. Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be highly effective in treating anxiety. Medication may also be prescribed by a healthcare provider for more severe cases (National Institute of Mental Health, 2022). Consulting a mental health professional can provide a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan for managing anxiety.

Limit Stimulants:

  1. Reduce or eliminate the intake of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, as they can exacerbate anxiety symptoms (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2020).

Build a Support Network:

  1. Connecting with friends, family, or support groups can provide emotional support and help manage anxiety. Sharing experiences and coping strategies with others can be comforting (Mental Health America, 2023).

Practice Self-Compassion:

  1. Be kind to yourself. Recognize that managing anxiety is a process, and it’s okay to seek help and take things one step at a time (Neff, 2011).

Strategies for Managing Panic Attacks

Deep Breathing:

  1. Practice deep breathing exercises to help calm the body’s stress response. Inhale slowly through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat until you feel calmer.

Grounding Techniques:

  1. Use grounding techniques to stay present and focused. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method: identify five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Positive Visualization:

  1. Visualize a peaceful place or a calming scenario. Engaging your mind in positive imagery can help divert your focus from the panic and reduce the intensity of the attack.

Physical Activity:

  1. Engaging in regular physical activity releases endorphins, enhancing mood, and reducing stress levels, making it an effective strategy for managing anxiety.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

  1. This technique involves tensing and relaxing muscle groups to relieve physical tension, promoting relaxation during anxiety episodes. Tense and then relax different muscle groups in your body. Start from your toes and work your way up to your head. This technique can help reduce physical tension and calm your mind.

Accept and Acknowledge:

  1. Accept that you are experiencing a panic attack and remind yourself that it will pass. Acknowledge your feelings without judgment and focus on taking slow, deep breaths.

Create a Safe Space:

  1. Find a quiet, comfortable place where you can sit or lie down until the panic attack subsides. Creating a safe environment can help you feel more secure and in control.

Talk Therapy:

  1. Talk therapy can be an effective treatment for managing panic attacks, providing a supportive environment to address underlying issues.

Natural Remedies 

Lavender for Stress Reduction 

Lavender, known for its calming properties, can be used in various forms like essential oils or teas to alleviate stress. 

Mantras for Panic Attacks 

Repetitive positive phrases or affirmations serve as effective tools in calming the mind during panic attacks. 

Personal Experiences 

Real-life stories of individuals overcoming anxiety can offer hope, inspiration, and practical tips for managing anxiety attacks. 

When to Seek Professional Help

While self-care strategies can be effective, it's important to seek professional help if:

  1. Anxiety or panic attacks interfere with daily life and functioning.
  2. Symptoms persist for an extended period.
  3. Physical symptoms are severe or worsening.
  4. There are thoughts of self-harm or suicide (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2022).

Treatment Options for Anxiety and panic Disorders


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety and panic disorders. It helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their anxiety. Through CBT, patients learn coping strategies and skills to manage their symptoms (American Psychological Association, 2019).

Exposure Therapy: A type of CBT, exposure therapy gradually exposes individuals to the situations or objects they fear in a controlled environment. This helps reduce the fear and avoidance behaviors associated with anxiety and panic disorders (Mayo Clinic, 2023).

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. It is particularly useful for individuals with severe anxiety and panic attacks, helping them manage emotions and reduce self-destructive behaviors (National Institute of Mental Health, 2022).

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT encourages individuals to accept their anxiety and commit to actions that align with their values. It focuses on mindfulness and accepting thoughts and feelings rather than fighting them (Harvard Health Publishing, 2018).

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): MBSR incorporates mindfulness meditation and yoga to help individuals become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. This awareness helps reduce anxiety and panic symptoms (American Psychological Association, 2019).


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are commonly prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. They work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which helps improve mood and reduce anxiety. Examples include sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), and escitalopram (Lexapro) (Mayo Clinic, 2023).

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs, like SSRIs, increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. They are effective for treating anxiety and panic disorders. Examples include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) (National Institute of Mental Health, 2022).

Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are fast-acting medications that can provide immediate relief for severe anxiety and panic attacks. However, they are generally prescribed for short-term use due to the risk of dependence. Examples include alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan) (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2020).

Beta-Blockers: Beta-blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal), can help manage the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heart rate and trembling. They are often used for situational anxiety, such as performance anxiety (Mayo Clinic, 2023).

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs are an older class of antidepressants that can be effective for anxiety and panic disorders. Examples include imipramine (Tofranil) and clomipramine (Anafranil) (National Institute of Mental Health, 2022).


Managing anxiety and panic attacks requires a combination of self-care techniques, professional help, and lifestyle changes. By practicing mindfulness, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking support, individuals can reduce the frequency and intensity of anxiety and panic attacks. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and numerous resources are available to support those struggling with these conditions. Additionally treatments such as therapy or Empowering yourself with knowledge and tools to combat anxiety and panic attacks can lead to a healthier, more peaceful life.

Take Control of Your Anxiety and Panic Attacks with Seattle Neurocounseling PLLC

Are anxiety and panic attacks interfering with your daily life? It's time to take control and reclaim your peace of mind. At Seattle Neurocounseling PLLC, our dedicated team of mental health professionals is here to help you navigate through these challenging times.

Why Choose Seattle Neurocounseling PLLC?

  1. Experienced Professionals: Our licensed therapists specialize in treating anxiety and panic disorders using evidence-based approaches tailored to your unique needs.
  2. Comprehensive Care: We offer a range of services, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based interventions, and other effective treatment modalities.
  3. Personalized Approach: Your mental health journey is unique, and so is our approach. We work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms and goals.
  4. Supportive Environment: Our compassionate team provides a safe and supportive space where you can openly discuss your concerns and feel understood.

Take the First Step Today

Don't let anxiety and panic attacks hold you back any longer. Seeking professional help is a courageous and important step towards a healthier, happier life. At Seattle Neurocounseling PLLC, we are committed to supporting you every step of the way.

Contact Us Today to Schedule an Appointment

  1. Visit our website: Seattle Neurocounseling PLLC
  2. Call us: (425)403-5765
  3. Email us:

Take the first step towards a brighter future. Reach out to Seattle Neurocounseling PLLC today, and let us help you find the path to peace and well-being.


  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2023). Anxiety disorders - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic.
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.).
  3. National Institute of Mental Health. (2022). Anxiety Disorders.
  4. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018). Understanding the stress response.
  5. World Health Organization. (2020). Mental health and COVID-19.
  6. American Psychological Association. (2019). Mindfulness meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stress.
  7. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2022). Exercise for Stress and Anxiety.
  8. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2018). Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food.
  9. National Sleep Foundation. (2022). Sleep Hygiene.
  10. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2020). The Effects of Caffeine on Your Body.
  11. Mental Health America. (2023). Finding Help: Support Groups.
  12. Kristin Neff. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.
  13. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). Behavioral Health Treatments and Services.