Hello Jols... Welcome to Anxiety Zone! My name is Chuck, and I am one of the Global Moderators here on the site.
You are now a member of our community, where you will find support and advice from other members in similar situations. It's always nice to find someone else who understands, and to know you're not alone.
We have sections in the forum that address specific concerns, so feel free to post or start a new topic in the section that best fits your situation. Feel free to explore the rest of the forum. You may find the other topics helpful, and you may be able to offer advice or support to someone else.
We also have a chat room for members over the age of 18. Once you have made three meaningful posts, you will be allowed access to the chat room.
Jols, one of the alternatives to medication, or even enhancement to medication, is therapy. For panic disorder with or without panic attacks, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is the treatment of choice in most cases. With some individuals CBT has been as effective as medication. The mindfulness teachings (meditation), have also been successful to many.
I am on anti-depressant therapy, Jols, but in the last six months I have learned CBT from my therapist (psychologist), and it has really helped me.
I would like to share something else with you, that my therapist shared with me early on in our sessions. The brain is an organ in the body, and in that respect, it is no different than any other organ, meaning that it can undergo changes from both external and internal stimuli. When a woman becomes pregnant, her brain will actually change, so will a monk that practices decades of meditation. Panic disorder/panic attacks, regardless if they have an apparent trigger or not, are just anxiety. Ask yourself this, was there a time in your life prior to your anxiety disorder, that you could take pills? I imagine that you would say "yes". If this is the case, than you have reprogrammed your mind, expecting that each time you take a pill, even an half an Advil, it will cause panic. This is a learned response, and it can be unlearned.
To give you an example, I use to love a good cup of coffee, but with my most resent episode of panic disorder with panic attacks, drinking a caffeinated beverage would cause me more anxiety. Was there a time before the episode that I could enjoy coffee? Yes! So why could I not return to that stage. It wasn't the coffee that caused anxiety, and not the caffeine either. Because of my combination of therapy, I am now back to enjoying a good cup of coffee in the morning with my breakfast, and I have no increase in anxiety at all.
The human mind is more powerful than we can ever imagine, and we can learn to control much of that power, for good, and good feelings.
Again, welcome to Anxiety Zone, Jols. The very best to you!... Chuck