Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Includes Expert Content
    Being Alone is BETTER for my Anxiety/Panic Attacks - anyone else like me??
    BetterAloneWithAnxiety posted:
    I realize there are many of us with Panic Attacks, the cause of which is different and varying from one person to the next.

    But unlike a lot of what I've read, I have found that I PREFER to be alone in a clean and organized place.

    I currently live with my family and the house is cluttered (my dad has his own hoarding issues so there's stuff everywhere) and I feel constantly on the verge of having a panic attack when I'm here - IT IS REALLY HARD FOR ME TO CONTROL MY PANIC ATTACKS AT HOME WITH FAMILY.

    On the other hand, friends and such have had me come housesit for them recently and I've noticed, while BEING ALONE in a clean and organized place, even for just a few days -- I FEEL BETTER. I don't get panic attacks...I feel calm in clean and open environments where I can be by myself.

    Are there any others that feel this way and, more importantly, any specific articles online regarding the idea that "Living Alone - Having Personal Space" is a good treatment/solution for some of us with Panic Attacks??

    After three days alone at my cousin's clean, organized house, during which I did NOT need any of my Xanax, I have now returned home and within a day am feeling an Attack coming on and have already taken Xanax.

    There has to be some expert/psychologist/environmental psychologist out there that has dealt with people like me and can refer me to articles supporting the idea that I would be better off in a non-cluttered environment, living alone away from the stress-triggers of clutter, uncleanliness and family that does not understand how I feel.

    Anyway, anyone out there like me or Dr that has treated someone like me --- PLEASE any info/references/advice/support/links would be greatly helpful!

    Thanks and good luck to all of you out there like me!

    --BetterAloneWithNoAnxiety/Panic Attacks
    hwhite39 responded:
    I don't have any advice on this, but I wanted to say that I also feel better when I am alone. I am always anxious when my boyfriend is home, but not he nights he works I feel calm and like I can relax some. I feel like I don't have anyone looking at my every move.

    Good luck and best wishes.
    Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
    I don't have any references for you, but I think you have found exactly what is contributing to your panic attacks; stress. Certainly, the stress of living in a home that is both cluttered and disorganized is something which, after a long enough period of time, will build up to the point that it will bring on this type of reaction.

    The fact that you were able to be comfortable and relaxed and had no panic attacks and no need to take your medication while you house sat underscores the fact that where you are living with your parents appears to be the source of your difficulties. I don't think it's living alone, but living in an environment that is clean, fairly neat and has limited stress is what you and everyone else needs.

    I'm sure that the clutter that has accumulated in your home is a result of some individual problems that currently exist there. If these problems were addressed and the situation were to be changed, I don't believe you would need to live alone.

    Dr. Farrell
    doxielover10 responded:
    I have very severe anxiety issues and without a doubt we all have one or two issues that just drive us crazy.

    Calls from my mother is guaranteed to get me anxious, however I
    have learned behavior that has changed the combination of my buttons so it's better,much better.
    BetterAloneWithAnxiety replied to hwhite39's response:
    I relate with you on this...I had the same feelings when I was living with my (now-ex) girlfriend. I was seeing a therapist at the time (back when I had insurance that covered it) and was encouraged to talk to her about it. It was a sensitive issue, of course, but explaining to her thoroughly about my condition (the old cliche of "it's not you, it's ME") eventually did help.
    I had the Mon-Fri daytime grind and she often worked nights and weekends. The Saturdays all to myself every weekend were "gold"! And, per our discussions and developing an understanding, she was encouraged to have "girls night out" regularly, which gave me more alone time.
    Point is, talking it out and having scheduled regular alone time made our time together that much better.
    In the end, other issues took us apart, but I wish you and your boyfriend a long-lasting and healthy relationship and hope that some of the above may help you out as well.
    Thanks for is good to know there someone else out there like me.
    Best wishes to you and good luck in the New Year!
    BetterAloneWithAnxiety replied to doxielover10's response:
    I agree there are times for most in which family can drive us crazy.
    I am actually very close with my family and we have always been supportive and understanding, at least as much as family can be.
    My need for "alone time" was also apparent when I was living with my (now ex-) girlfriend. Her different work schedule gave me some regular alone time during which I felt much better.
    Regarding behavior and such, I was also seeing a therapist weekly at the time and did so for over a year, during which I learned a lot of techniques and also identifying 'triggers'.
    In the end, it's not so much any particular people being around, but more that my sense of calm and well-being is "re-fueled" by "alone time" for me.

    Just seems that MOST others (from the posts I've read) w/anxiety&panic disorders don't want to be alone; I am the opposite and feel better when I am alone.

    Was very much hoping through this post to find others like me, in that regard.

    Appreciate your response.
    Best wishes to you and congrats on things being better for you!
    BetterAloneWithAnxiety replied to Patricia Farrell, PhD's response:
    First off, I really appreciate your detailed response!

    Yes, it's clear that clutter, among other things, are "triggers" for me while living at home with my parents currently.

    But previous to this, I had lived for over 3 years with my (now ex-) girlfriend -- we kept a clean and cozy place at all times.

    It was, however, clear to me then that when I felt a Panic Attack coming on, I needed, more than anything, time to be alone in order to deal with it and "come down". I was seeing a therapist weekly at the time and learned much regarding techniques, identifying triggers and discussed, in detail, with my girlfriend what it was (and still continue to) go through.
    She was understanding and the fact that she worked nights and weekends (I had the 9-5, M-F grind) gave me regular doses of "alone" time, along with the fact that she started having "girls nights out" with her friends.
    These regular doses of "alone" time are nothing short of refueling to my calming and sense of well-being.

    It just seems, from what I've been reading online, that MOST people with Anxiety/Panic Disorder do not like to be alone; I am the opposite and find myself most calm and anxiety-free when I can have time alone.

    My hope with this post was to find out if there are any others with Panic Disorder that feel as I do and, moreover, find any studies/articles that cover both the environmental factors (like clutter and hoarding) that have psychological impact on those subjected to it AND if it is (hopefully) not unusual for me, with an ongoing Anxiety Disorder, to prefer being alone (as opposed to most, who seem to fear it).

    Again thanks for your input - it is very much appreciated!
    Patricia Farrell, PhD replied to BetterAloneWithAnxiety's response:
    Interestingly, just the other day someone posted on Twitter about creativity and the need to be alone and quite (something "Woz") also found useful. BTW, I don't know his full name, but he designed the Apple computer with Jobs. So, I think alone time is both restorative and useful.

    Featuring Experts

    Reid Wilson, PhD is an international expert in the treatment of anxiety disorders, with books translated into nine languages. He is author of Don...More

    Helpful Tips

    Successfully beat Effexor withdrawal - Here is how I did it:
    This is a Success Story and Instructions on Beating Effexor Withdrawal. I spent hours reading these forums and found that there were many, ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    14 of 14 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.