Health Library

In addition to medical treatment, the following lifestyle changes may help you manage the symptoms of panic disorder:

  • Learn your triggers
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid drug use
  • Avoid smoking
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Schedule quiet time for yourself each day
  • Get regular exercise

Learn Your Triggers

Working with a therapist can help you learn what situations may trigger panic attacks. During this process, you will also learn how to better manage them when they occur, making them less stressful. This can help improve your overall quality of life, especially if you avoid specific situations.

Avoid Caffeine

Some people find that avoiding caffeine helps reduce panic attacks. Caffeine is commonly found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some soft drinks. Decreasing your caffeine intake may help you feel less anxious.

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol may exacerbate your feelings of anxiety. Talk to your doctor if you need help reducing your alcohol intake or quitting drinking entirely.

Avoid Drug Use

Avoid drug use unless prescribed or approved by your doctor. If you think you are addicted to illegal drugs or prescription or nonprescription medications, ask your doctor for help overcoming dependence on these substances.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking has been linked to panic disorder. Talk to your doctor about how you can successfully quit.

Get Plenty of Rest

Feeling well rested can help you to feel more relaxed. Getting a good night's sleep is also important to maintaining your overall health.

Schedule Quiet Time for Yourself Each Day

Give yourself a little quiet time each day. This is a great way to reduce stress and have time to think through some troubling problems.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise has many benefits. Having a regular routine, even a simple one, will help reduce stress, manage anxiety, and improve your overall health. Try to get in 30 minutes of exercise per day most days of the week. This can be done with something as easy as walking. Consider adding two strength training sessions per week to help strengthen muscles and bones.

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

Revision Information

  • Answers to your questions about panic disorder. American Psychological Association website. Available at: http://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/panic-disorder.aspx. Accessed November 27, 2013.

  • Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/panic-disorder.shtml. Accessed November 27, 2013.

  • Panic disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated February 28, 2013. Accessed November 27, 2013.