Alternative Treatments for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

25 alternative treatments for anxiety and panic

Read about complementary, non-drug treatment and prevention for anxiety and panic attacks.

In complementary or alternative treatments to psychotherapy and/or medication, your doctor may prescribe several natural methods to help treat and later prevent anxiety and panic attacks.

Naturopathic practitioner, Dr. James Rouse, lists these alternative treatments for anxiety and panic:

    1. Natural medicine practitioners have used herbs including kava kava and St. John's Wort as effective treatment alternatives to prescription anxiety drugs. Kava is well known for its calming effects and holds great promise in easing the symptoms of nervousness; however, the FDA has recently issued warnings on kava due to its adverse effects on the liver. Valerian root is another herb that is often used for its calming effects. St. John's Wort is backed by more research on its safety and use as an anxiety treatment, and as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. Its effectiveness in treating anxiety is yet to be confirmed.

    2. SAMe is another dietary supplement that has been used in treatment of anxiety.

    3. Eliminating caffeine and alcohol, reducing your intake of sugar, sugary food products, refined carbohydrates and foods with additives and chemicals may help lessen anxiety symptoms. To minimize headaches and other withdrawal symptoms, make reduction of caffeine intake gradual. Instead of caffeinated beverages, try drinking tea made from chamomile (or passionflower, skullcap or lemon balm), which can relax you without causing drowsiness or addiction.


  1. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B complex all contribute to the health and proper functioning of the nervous system. They also support the production of neurotransmitters, chemicals that help relay messages between nerve cells.

  2. Exercising regularly and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, t'ai chi or progressive relaxation are all nondrug remedies that can help relieve anxiety disorders. Your routine should include cardiovascular exercise, which burns lactic acid, produces mood-enhancing chemicals called endorphins, and causes the body to use oxygen more efficiently.

  3. Controlled breathing techniques can help ease a panic attack. When an attack strikes, try this breathing exercise: Inhale slowly to a count of four, wait four counts, exhale slowly to a count of four, wait another four counts, then repeat the cycle until the attack passes.

Ed. Note: Dr. Rouse completed a four-year doctorate naturopathic medicine program at National College, in Portland, Oregon, the oldest naturopathic medical school in the country. He also studied Oriental medicine at Oregon College.

next: Non-Medication Treatments for Anxiety and Panic

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 30). Alternative Treatments for Anxiety and Panic Attacks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: July 11, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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