There is a range of treatment and modalities available to panic attack sufferers. The right treatment for you depends on the severity and frequency of your panic episodes. Your GP will be able to advise on what might work best, but you may also wish to consider more natural remedies in conjunction with any medication you’ve been prescribed.
It can also be useful to know what the rest of the UK’s panic attack sufferers are doing.
Researchers working on behalf of bcalm recently conducted a national poll, which aimed to discover how residents of the United Kingdom go about treating their panic attacks.
They asked 1,000 UK adults to talk about the various treatments they’ve tried.
Of those who took part in the survey, almost three quarters said they’d tried antidepressants as a treatment for their panic attacks. This was the most popular treatment. Second to antidepressants was meditation. Almost four in ten say they’ve tried this.
Psychotherapy was the third most commonly tried treatment. 36% said they’d tried psychotherapy to combat their panic episodes.
The paper bag approach was relatively common too, with just under one quarter (24%) saying they’d given it a go.
Just under one in ten (9%) said they’d tried the bcalm inhaler.
Here are the most commonly tried panic attack treatments in the UK
Antidepressants – 72% have tried this
Antidepressant use has increased hugely over the past few decades, partly due to the lessening of the associated stigma. Harvard University estimates that 23% of American women aged between 40 and 50 use antidepressants.
Meditation – 39% have tried this
The popularity of meditation is estimated to have doubled between 2002 and 2012. Meditation is great for managing residual and general anxiety, but when a panic attack takes us by surprise, it’s not something you can just do on the spot to stop the panic.
Psychotherapy – 36% have tried this
Like meditation, therapy is a great way of managing your stress, anxiety and lowering panic. It’s popularity is increasing in the UK too, as successive governments in the past decade have drawn focus onto mental health.
Paper bag – 24% have tried this
Although quite a common idea, it’s not an enormously effective way of controlling a panic attack. Also, it’s not a good look if you’re on public transport at work, where a lot of panic attacks happen.
Bcalm inhaler – 9% have tried this
The science behind bcalm is based on the fact that panic attacks are physiological, not psychological. When you exhale into bcalm during a panic attack, the air is diverted out into the environment. In its place, you breathe in air that has been filtered by the device to reduce CO2 levels to that of forest air.
Learn more about how the device works.
Men vs women – how we manage panic attacks differently
Men and women appear to broadly favour the same treatments for panic attacks, with some minor exceptions. Men are more likely to try the bcalm inhaler (14% vs 4%) and women are more likely to use antidepressants to manage their panic attacks than men (78% vs 65%).
Age impact on panic treatment
Perhaps surprisingly, 18-24 year olds are the group least likely to use antidepressants to manage panic attacks. 45-54 year olds are the group most likely to use antidepressants.
25-34 year olds are the most likely to use the bcalm inhaler, with over-55s the least likely. In fact, just over 1% of over-55s in the survey said they’d tried using the bcalm inhaler to manage panic attacks.
Across the UK, trends were relatively stable. Although Londoners were significantly more likely than residents of other areas of the UK to have tried bcalm.
London was also the ‘paper bag capital’ of the UK when it comes to panic attack treatments.
About the study
*OnePoll surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults, between the 14th of December 2017 and the 27th of December 2017, on behalf of bcalm. OnePoll are members of the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research and employ members of the Marketing Research Society.