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Shortness of breath, increased heart rate, dizziness, numbness, sweating, tremors and muscle tension, if you experience these things, possibly you have got panic attacks. It is normal for a person to suffer panic attacks in the stressful daily life. Panic attacks happen because of a number of disorders such as panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, drug use disorder, medical problems, and depression. Smoking, psychological stress, and caffeine can also increase the risk of developing a panic attack. However, panic attacks, if we ignore them and don’t seek treatments, can cause serious trouble and health issues. Panic attacks while you are driving possibly make accidents, panic attacks while pregnant can cause danger to your health and your fetus’s development. But don’t worry too much, Effective Remedies is about to introduce you our list of proven home remedies for panic attacks while driving and while pregnant to help you overcome the rough stage of life.
The recipes we've focused on are traditional home remedies that can be used alongside usual medical treatment. Always consult your doctor about your condition, and if symptoms are getting worse rather than better.
Medically reviewed by/fact checked by Perpetua Neo (DClinPsy, UCL; MPhil, Cambridge):
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Home Remedies For Panic Attacks: 11 Proven Ways While Pregnant Or Driving
I. Panic Attack Natural Remedies
A. Home Remedies For Panic Attacks While Pregnant
Here we introduce some home remedies that are useful for panic attacks and safe for expectant women:
1. Sufficient Rest and Regular Exercises
Lack of sleep and rest can result in increased stress and anxiety. Therefore, you need to get plenty of sleep. 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night can help to balance your hormones, reduce stress and fatigue, and prevent moodiness.
Beside sufficient rest, people with panic attacks can benefit from regular exercise. The daily physical activities assist in improving sleep quality and energy levels, boosting confidence, and easing stress and tension. As pregnant women are not suitable with heavy exercises, we suggest you do lighter ones:
- Deep breathing: When having anxiety, you usually have difficulty breathing. Hence, learning how to breathe deeply can help you relax and overcome panic attacks.
- Yoga: As a research published in Alternative Medicine Review, people in trials found a significant decrease in stress and anxiety symptoms when they practice yoga daily. Yoga affects your GABA levels and suppresses neural activity, hence, change your brain positively.
- Walking: Walking not only help tone muscle but also improve your mood comparatively.
- Aerobics: Aerobic exercise may help to keep your lungs and heart strong, tone your body, and give you a burst of endorphins, feel-good brain chemical.
Don’t forget to ask for the doctor’s advice to choose suitable activities for you to combat stress.
2. Nutritious Food
Because taking anti-anxiety medications during pregnancy can be harmful, so it is better to treat panic attacks with natural ways, for instance, eating healthy food to reduce stress. Following a healthy and balanced diet not only protect yourself from illness and stress but it is also good for your fetus’s development. Besides, there are some kinds of foods called “mood foods”, which boost your depressed hormones into action, thereby helping you alleviate the depression and anxiety. We highly recommend you add such foods in your daily meals:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Some studies found out that deficiency of a fatty acid called EPA often happens in people who experience depression. Therefore, expectant women should consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as tuna and salmon to decrease anxiety symptoms.
- Brown rice: Brown rice can help your body gradually release glucose into the bloodstream to prevent mood swings and sugar lows. Besides, vitamins B1, B3 and folic acid found in brown rice are proven to be excellent for anxiety reduction.
- Whole grain foods: B vitamins are good for people with panic attacks, so whole grain oats, which is rich in vitamin B6, deserves to be in the list of “mood foods”. Also, tryptophan in whole grains can become serotonin – a calming neurotransmitter.
- Fruit: Two bananas a day can help you deal with anxiety. Bananas are called “superfood” as they're natural beta-blockers. When you eat a banana, it prevents adrenaline from binding to beta receptors, so your pulse rate and blood pressure decrease, and you won’t worry much about upcoming events. Besides, bananas are rich in potassium, which has functions in calming your stress levels.
- Proteins: Protein regulates neurotransmitters and energizes your body, accordingly, controls your nervous system. Protein rich foods include eggs, fish, turkey, cheese, chicken, fish, lean meat,and nuts.
- Vitamin C: It counteracts stress hormones, thus alleviates feelings of anxiety . Foods that are rich in vitamin C include lemons, raspberries, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, and cherries.
Along with choosing “mood foods”, you also need to avoid soda, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, smoking, foods with preservatives, foods fortified with hormones, etc. to prevent anxiety.
Why: Motherwort or so-called Lion’s ear, Lion’s tail, and Lion heart belongs to the Lamiacea family, a mint family. It is a sacred plant for female health, on both a physical and emotional level. Motherwort has been found to mildly stimulate the uterus and aids uterus to work efficiently, especially when women are on menses with pains. Also, it prepares the uterus for childbirth, supports uterine health, and prevents uterine cancer. In the early pregnancy, motherwort allows to normalize the emotionally unstable state. Motherwort may calm anxiety and stress, support the heart by stimulating blood circulation without boosting pulse rate, this effect has been proven .
Method 1: Motherwort tea
- Dry motherwort leaves
- Hot water
How to do:
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of dry leaves into a teapot, depending on what strength of tea you want.
- Add two cups of boiling water to the teapot.
- Let the mixture steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Strain the leaves out of the tea.
- Stir in one teaspoon of honey to taste.
Method 2: Use motherwort extract: Motherwort extracts are now sold, you can buy and use them.
Note: Although motherwort can be used for pregnant women, you also need to consult your doctor to avoid unknown side effects.
B. Home Remedies For Panic Attacks While Driving
In addition to having enough sleep, regularly doing exercises, and eating “mood foods,” we suggest you some other natural home remedies for panic attacks while you are driving:
1. Kava Root
Why: This plant comes from South American, is well-known for its ability to provide temporary relief from anxiety, stress, and insomnia . It also helps calm your nerves without decreasing mental clarity. The active chemical ingredients of kava are called kavalactones. It decreases the nerve impulse firing activity of the neurons. At the same time, kava decreases the activity of noradrenaline by inhibiting the reuptake mechanism of noradrenaline into the neuron. Noradrenaline increases the activity of the brain, thus causing anxiety. There are two main ways to use kava root for panic attacks:
Method 1: Make kava tea:
- Kava root powder
- Boiling water
- Ice cube
How to do:
- Place 2-4 tablespoons of kava root powder in a cloth bag.
- Put the bag in a bowl and pour 8-12oz. of hot water (about 120 degrees) until the tea reaches the desired consistency.
- Then, twist the top of the kava strainer closed, knead the bag, and twist to strain all the water out.
- Pour the liquid into a cup, wait, or you can throw a few ice cubes in this cup, and consume it.
Method 2: Kava supplement: Kava, nowadays, has been processed. You can consult your doctor before taking this kind of supplement.
- Avoid excess intake of kava because it may cause damage to the hepatobiliary system.
- It should not be used by pregnant and lactating women.
- Kava should not be taken with other drugs, especially tranquilizers and benzodiazepines since these might interact negatively with kava.
Why: Many herbalists believe in great effects of passion flowers on panic attacks. It contains flavonoids such as chrysin and benzoflavone that help increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA limits the “excitability” or reactivity of the brain’s neurons, so can calm your mind and reduce anxiety . Besides, the use of this herb in improving sleep quality has been found. However, excess use of passionflower can disrupt mental and motor functions.
- Dried passion flower
- Boiling water
How to do:
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried passion flower into one cup of boiling water.
- Strain the solution and drink it.
- Passionflower is available in the market in tincture or capsule form. You can also buy them and consume with the advice of doctors or herbalists.
Warnings: Although passionflower is safe and does not come with side effects when being interacted with some other sedatives, it is not recommended for under-6-month children, expectant mothers, and breastfeeding women.
Why: The chamomile’s ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders has been shown in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. This herb has been used for many centuries to help calm down nerves. Chamomile could act as a mild sedative without triggering usual drowsiness associated with sedatives. It contains much magnesium and calcium, which are well-known as an amazing stress reliever. There are two main ways to apply chamomile for your panic attacks.
Method 1: Chamomile tea
- Dried chamomile flowers
- Hot water
How to do:
- Add 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in 1 cup of hot water.
- Cover and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
- Strain and add honey to improve the taste.
- Drink this mixture regularly to alleviate panic attack symptoms naturally.
Method 2: Bedroom spray
- A spray bottle
- Chamomile oil
- Distilled water
- Vanilla, cedarwood, and palo santo essential oil.
How to do:
- Clean the room thoroughly.
- Take a spray bottle of about eight ounces.
- Then, add four ounces each of witch hazel extract and distilled water into the bottle.
- Pour about 5 to 10 drops of chamomile essential oil into it.
- Add 3-5 drops each of, cedarwood, and palo santo essential oil.
- Shake well and spray your bedroom to create a relaxing and calm environment for your good sleep.
Method 3: Chamomile supplements: You can take chamomile supplements (about 400-1600 milligrams). Don’t forget to consult your doctor for side effects.
Note: People allergic to daisy and aster plant family should avoid this kind of plants.
4. Lavender Oil
Why: Of all the essential oils, lavender oil is the most popular and effective in treating panic attacks, insomnia, and stress due to its gentle actions. Lavender aromatherapy can wind down the nervous system, induce relaxation, hence, helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Some clinical trials have demonstrated the impact of the lavender oil on anxiety relief. Also, lavender oil can help people relieve their stress and control their heart rate while watching a film designed to increase anxiety, visiting dentists, and undergoing bypass surgery. That is why we believe that lavender oil can be used as a great solution for panic attacks while driving.
Method 1: Lavender oil massage
Ingredients: Lavender oil
How to do:
- Put 3-5 drops of lavender oil on your hand and warm up.
- Gently massage your shoulders, back, and neck for several minutes, then relax.
Method 2: Hot bath: The hot bath provides a relaxing effect on the entire body, promotes a good night's sleep, which helps a lot in combating stress during driving on the next day.
- Lavender oil
- Coconut oil
How to do:
- Prepare a bathtub filled with hot water.
- Add 3-5 lavender oil drops and several ones on carrier oil such as coconut oil.
- Stir well and then start soaking your body in it for 20 minutes.
Note: There is advice that patients with diabetes, along with pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay away from lavender oil.
5. Lemon Balm
Why: Lemon balm or balm mint appear much in south-central Europe, Central Asia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region. It can decrease the stress hormone cortisol and relax the human body without leading to drowsiness. Also, it can elevate our mood naturally.
- Dried (or fresh) lemon balm leaves.
- Hot water
How to do:
- Add two tablespoons of fresh leaves or one tablespoon of dried lemon balm leaves to one cup of boiling water.
- Allow it to steep for about 10 minutes before enjoying.
- Lemon balm is available in the market in a tincture. You also can buy them and consume with the advice of doctors or herbalists.
Notes: Lemon balm might cause too much drowsiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery so patients should stop using then at least two weeks before surgery. Also, it is not safe for expectant and breastfeeding mothers.
6. Green Tea
Why: Green tea has been a favorite beverage of Chinese for so long. However, it is well-known as a home remedy for panic attacks, proven by researchers in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Green tea contains vitamins and minerals; particularly, the amino acid called L-theanine in green tea has great functions in reducing stress, relaxing bodies and mind . Therefore, drinking green tea every day can help to decrease stress, increase mental focus, and boost our mood.
- Green tea leaves
- Boiling water
- Lemon juice
How to do:
- Take one cup of hot water and add two teaspoons of green tea leaves to it.
- Cover the cup and leave it to steep for about 5 minutes.
- Strain and then add a little honey and lemon juice to improve the taste.
- Consume this tea 2 to 3 times a day.
Note: Expectant mothers should not use green tea for panic attacks.
Why: Valerian has been used as a natural sedative for so long. Nowadays, it is among the most well-known medicinal herbs for anxiety and panic attacks, especially in European areas. Valerian is thought to decrease feelings of anxiety and stress by impacting GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors, neurotransmitters in your brain, which partly contribute to regulating anxiety, mood, and sleep  .
Method 1: Valerian tea
- Chopped valerian root
- Cold water
How to do:
- Soak 2 teaspoons of chopped valerian root in cold water for 8 to 10 hours.
- Strain the water and sip it during the day.
Method 2: Take 400 to 900 milligrams of valerian extract a few hours before going to bed (Don’t forget to consult your doctor for the proper dose and side effects).
- People should not take this valerian on a regular basis for more than four weeks.
- There are some reported side effects like drug interactions when using valerian, so people with liver diseases and pregnant or breastfeeding women should stay away.
Why: As an adaptogen, ginseng totally can reduce panic attacks, give a relaxing effect on nerves. Some trials have shown that people taking ginseng may cope better with adverse conditions because it helps reduce the intensity of the body’s response to stressors. Here are guides for using ginseng:
Method 1: Ginseng tea
- Hot water
How to do:
- Simmer 5-8 thin slices of ginseng in three cups of water for 15 minutes on low heat.
- After straining, add a little honey and drink it when it cools down.
- Drink 1-3 cups of ginseng tea daily.
Method 2: You can also take a ginseng supplement (under your doctor’s advice) to treat panic attacks.
Note: Do not use ginseng for people taking medication for high blood pressure.
II. How-to Tips
Besides home remedies that can help you control your panic attacks during pregnancy and while you are driving, we also introduce some tips so that you can overcome that rough time.
A. The Tip For Panic Attacks While Pregnant
Talking About Your Panic Attacks
Talking about your troubles and feelings of anxiety might sound like a simple solution, but it really is one of the best things you can do, especially in your pregnancy. This remedy helps you to clarify your conditions, release tension, and make others understand and give you their advice. All the people around can help you. For example, you may have your sisters sharing her pregnancy experiences and advising you on what foods to avoid or an aunt who loves talking about old wives tales and pregnancy myths. Another good way is that you can consult with your doctor. During pregnancy, it seems that everyone has her anecdotes and steadfast opinions. Therefore, talk to your doctor about your concerns and panic disorders so that he can help you sort out fact from fiction and discuss treatment options.
B. Tips For Panic Attacks While Driving
1. Driving With Distractions: Listening to music, or radio talk, or podcasts while driving will draw you out of your own head. By giving yourself to think about, it is harder to focus on your panic attacks and your feelings.
2. Driving Safely: Make sure that you do not contribute to anything that will cause anxiety on the road because its drive your stress worse and possibly cause accidents. Drive the speed limits to take few risks, keep a GPS in the car to avoid getting lost, and don't try to swerve around traffic will help a lot.
3. Drive A Lot: It seems that the more panic attacks while driving you suffer, the less you drive. However, it makes your condition worse. What you can do is drive as much as possible so that you get used to driving and don’t let the panic attacks control you.
III. Interesting Facts About Panic Attacks
1. Panic Attacks Can Happen While You Are Sleeping: This condition is called “nocturnal panic attacks,” similar to ones when people awake. Symptoms include shaking, sweating, and chest pain. You can find yourself waking up gasping for air and feeling scared.
2. No One Really Knows Why They Happen: Researchers cannot give any conclusive proof why some people have regular attacks while others don’t.
3. They Can Happen Suddenly: Although they have some recognizable triggers and feelings which let people know an attack will come, sometimes, they occur suddenly. A feeling of disaster or a loss of control are the two most common traits associated with a sudden panic attack.
IV. Frequently Asked Questions About Panic Attacks
1. Does Having A Panic Attack Mean I’m Crazy?
No, not at all. A panic attack is just a way that some people have mistaken normal body sensations in a way that feels more intense and uncomfortable than normal.
2. How Common Is A Panic Attack?
Between 2 to 3 percent of American adults will have a panic attack in the past year. Panic disorder usually begins in young adulthood (ages 20 to 24 years old is the usual onset time), but can also begin earlier or later in life. Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Carribean blacks all report lower rates of panic disorder compared to non-Latino whites.
3. How Long Does Treatment For Panic Attacks Take?
It depends on your willingness to carefully follow the outlined treatment plan. Normally, you can see noticeable improvement within about 10 to 20 weekly sessions.
Panic attacks are a nightmare for many people, especially while driving or while pregnant, therefore, we hope that our list of home remedies for panic attacks will help. All content provided is for informational & educational purposes. We recommend you consult a healthcare professional to determine which method is appropriate for you. Thanks for your belief!