Support Centre

Anxiety and panic

Menopause symptoms and treatments.

Anxiety and panic

Anxiety is one of the most common experiences women report, especially in perimenopause. It may revolve around worries at work, fears for children or loved ones, social anxiety and avoidance of events, panic attacks, or feelings of overwhelm from relatively minor things. You may never have felt anxious in the past, or past fears can resurface at this time.

Three factors that can worsen anxiety significantly are alcohol, caffeine and a lack of sleep.

Anxiety can make it harder to sleep, and when you’re tired, it can make you more anxious, leading to a downward spiral. Many women use alcohol to relieve anxiety which it may do in the moment, but it disrupts the normal sleep cycle, acts as a depressant and worsens anxiety in the long run. Caffeine is a stimulant to the cardiovascular system and sleep cycle, and it can lead to palpitations and feeling on edge.

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Panic attacks

A panic attack is a response to fear where your body’s normal ways of responding to stress or a threat are exaggerated. You might feel:

  •       a racing heartbeat
  •       faint or dizzy
  •       very hot or cold
  •       shaky, sweaty or trembly
  •       nausea
  •       pain in your chest or tummy
  •       like your struggling to breathe
  •       disconnected to your mind, body or surroundings
  •       like you’re going to faint or even have a heart attack or die

They can come on very quickly and usually last between 5 and 20 minutes.

Ways to help


  • talk about it with someone you trust
  • try to manage some worries by setting time to focus on them, identify them and write them down
  • look after your physical health by getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying physically active
  • prioritise activities that bring you a sense of achievement, connection and enjoyment and avoid over committing
  • try breathing exercises
  • keep a diary to notice early signs of anxiety, what the triggers might be, patterns of when it happens and note what’s going well
  • some people find therapies and practices such as meditation, yoga, reflexology, massage, hypnotherapy and aromatherapy helpful
  • try a mental health app. The ones approved by ORCHA and the mental health charity Mind are Lungy, Wysa: mental health support, Mood mission, Feeling good: mental fitness.

During a panic attack:

  • Focus on your breathing
  • Stamp on the spot
  • Focus on your senses
  • Use grounding techniques like tuning into certain sounds around you, go barefoot and think about how it feels, wrap a blanket around you and notice how it feels, touch something with an interesting texture or smell.