Wednesday, June 12, 2024

How To Deal With Someone Having A Panic Attack

Don't Miss

Ukrainians Facing Their Darkest Days Warns World Health Organisation

How to help your friend during a panic attack – BBC

Ukraine and its health service are facing a crisis this winter following months of Russian bombing, said the World Health Organisation

This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine, said WHOs regional director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P Kluge.

The devastating energy crisis, the deepening mental health emergency, constraints on humanitarian access and the risk of viral infections will make this winter a formidable test for the Ukrainian health system and the Ukrainian people, but also for the world and its commitment to support Ukraine.

Ukraines health system is facing its darkest days in the war so far. Having endured more than 700 attacks, it is now also a victim of the energy crisis.

Tell Them Youre There

Panic attacks can be brought on for various reasons, and one of those reasons involves loneliness. Some people fear loneliness so much that it leads to panic attacks. Telling the person experiencing this attack that youre there can do wonders. Even if the person youre trying to help doesnt have this fear, support can still make a difference.

As mentioned above, silence is good, but you should still make it a point to say something kind every so often. Sometimes, the person having the attack may ask if youre still there, and you can just confirm that you are. Now, the person may not ask, and if thats the case, say youre there every few minutes, but maintain the silence as much as possible.

When you do talk, stay calm. Dont act upset or worried, which may help the person calm down a bit. This means youll need to be soft-spoken and speak slowly.

It may be hard to get used to talking like this, but you dont have to do this too long. You should know that your voice can do a lot if you use it right. If the person youre trying to help has a lot of these attacks, it might be a good idea to work on your voice so that you can be more helpful when your loved one needs your support.

You can say the following when these attacks occur:

Say the persons name. Say that you care. Be encouraging during this time.

Try not to elaborate too much when you say these things. Be direct and short, and allow the silence to take center stage.

How To Recognize A Panic Attack

A panic attack is a type of anxiety disorder. Someone having a panic attack is experiencing an intensely anxious reaction to something that may or may not be obvious. Therefore, it is often more helpful to pay attention to the symptoms than to determine the cause of the panic attack. Some visible signs of a panic attack include:

  • A feeling of being out of control
  • Fear of death or impending doom

Panic attacks tend to come on quickly and often without warning. Most panic attacks only last a few minutes, but they can last longer. Although they may feel unsafe to the person having one, panic attacks are not dangerous.

Read Also: Are Bipolar And Bpd The Same

How To Handle A Panic Attack

Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath, says it’s important not to let your fear of panic attacks control you.

“Panic attacks always pass and the symptoms are not a sign of anything harmful happening,” he says. “Tell yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by anxiety.”

He says don’t look for distractions. “Ride out the attack. Try to keep doing things. If possible, it’s important to try to remain in the situation until the anxiety has subsided.”

“Confront your fear. If you don’t run away from it, you’re giving yourself a chance to discover that nothing’s going to happen.”

As the anxiety begins to pass, start to focus on your surroundings and continue to do what you were doing before.

“If youre having a short, sudden panic attack, it can be helpful to have someone with you, reassuring you that it will pass and the symptoms are nothing to worry about,” says Professor Salkovskis.

Helping Over The Long Term

How Do You Feel When Having An Anxiety Attack

If someone you know is getting treatment for panic disorder, you can offer ongoing help as the person takes steps to recover from it. Here are some things you can do.

  • Allow the person to proceed in therapy at their own pace.
  • Be patient.

    Praise all efforts toward recovery, even if the person isn’t meeting all of the goals.

  • Stay calm.

    Don’t panic when the person panics.

  • Accept the current situation.

    But know that it won’t last forever.

  • Take care of yourself.

    Remember that it’s okay to be concerned and anxious yourself.

When a person has panic attacks, the entire family is affected. If someone in your family has panic attacks, you may feel frustrated, overworked, or socially isolated. These feelings are common. Family therapy , a type of counseling that involves the entire family, may help.

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier MD – Internal Medicine& Kathleen Romito MD – Family Medicine& Christine R. Maldonado PhD – Behavioral Health

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use how we develop our content .

To learn more about Healthwise, visit .

Recommended Reading: How To Overcome Anxiety Social Phobia And Depression

Agoraphobia Develops Over Time

Agoraphobia usually begins with a stressful event for example, a person loses a job or a relationship ends. They feel distressed and limit their contact with the outside world . As time passes, they may consider more and more public places as out of bounds until they are eventually confined to their home.

In other cases, a stressful life event triggers a panic attack. Since panic attacks are so unpleasant, the person may avoid any situation or place that they think might trigger another attack until many situations and places are eventually feared and avoided.

What Not To Do When Assisting Someone With A Panic Attack

Its noteworthy to know there are specific things you should not do when trying to help someone you care about getting through a panic attack. Saying something wrong could make the panic attack worse or last longer.

Here are five things to avoid when helping someone with a panic attack:

  • Do not repeatedly suggest different things to try and reduce their panic attacks. Tip 4 indicates the importance of trying one thing at a time. Give it time to work.
  • Dont say things like Just calm down,you are overreacting, or youre acting crazy. Words have so much power during a panic attack these statements could sound like ridicule and imply that their struggle isnt a priority to you. Please dont dismiss the severity of their symptoms, and utilize the techniques discussed in tip eight to be empathetic, non-judgmental, and supportive.
  • Dont jump in and make assumptions about what they need to do. As suggested in Tip 10, communication is crucial. Ask what they need from you to offer the best support to reduce the panic attack symptoms they are experiencing.
  • Dont offer caffeine, alcohol, or non-prescribed medications not used to treat anxiety/panic symptoms. This action is ill-advised and can increase the likelihood of physical triggers that could lead to an additional panic attack.
  • Dont let them ignore the problem. Avoiding feared situations and places can reinforce the disorder, so encourage them to face their fears, but with help and support.10
  • Also Check: How To Help Anxiety Nausea

    Things You Shouldn’t Do

    Donât try to minimize it. Understand that the panic you see is real to your friend, even if the cause may not appear rational to you.

    Donât be judgmental or critical. Blaming someone for a panic attack doesnât help. Donât try to talk them out of it, either.

    If you know what causes your friend’s attacks, donât help them avoid the situation. Escape now could be harmful later. It could make the anxiety worse and raise the odds for more attacks. They may also become reliant on you to shield them from their fears.

    Show Sources

    How To Reduce Fear And Let Go Of The Struggle Without Getting Stuck

    How to Get Through a Panic Attack | Lifehacker

    Many years ago, just after getting certified as a scuba diver, I was under 90 feet of water and needed to clear my mask. As I lifted the bottom of the mask to blow out the water, I suddenly felt an intense rush of fear, could not catch my breath, felt lightheaded, and had an urgent need to escape. Problem was that being 90 feet underwater meant that I could not just shoot up out of the waterI would need to go up slowly, or I could damage my lungs. Thankfully, I knew there was one thing that would help me deal with the panicpause my breath for a little while, just long enough for my suddenly depleted carbon dioxide levels to rise, and for the oxygen to get back to my brain so I could think straight.

    If youve ever had a panic attack, you know the feeling of being overwhelmed, feeling lightheaded, short of breath, your heart pounding, not being able to form a coherent thought, feeling tingly and nauseous. You may have worried that you were dying or having a heart attack or going crazy. The good news is that none of that was true. Panic attacks are very scary, but otherwise harmless. The reason you experience all those unpleasant physical sensations is primarily due to a breathing dysregulation that happens when you panicoverbreathing, also commonly known as hyperventilation.

    Also Check: What Does Ptsd Feel Like

    How To Help Someone Having Panic Attacks

    If someone you care about has panic attacks, it might be helpful if you know what to do when one starts.

    Seeing someone have a panic attack can be a bit scary. Your friend or relative might be:

    • pale and sweating
    • preparing to run or telling you we need to go
    • frozen or looking terrified
    • suddenly feeling overwhelmed and acting very agitated

    The first thing for you to remember is to keep calm. The attack will pass and you can help by staying with them and talking calmly.

    Anxiety Vs Panic Attacks

    Anxiety is uncomfortable and ongoing dread that occurs when we worry about the future or things we cannot control. Physical symptoms include sleeplessness, stomach issues, and headaches. Panic attacks come on quickly, often without warning, and are short periods of intense fear, feelings of doom, and physical symptoms, like shaking or chest pain.

    Recommended Reading: How To Know If You Suffer From Anxiety

    Sharing About Your Panic Attacks

    You dont need to share with your boss or HR that you get panic attacks. However, if you choose to disclose your panic disorder, remember that you get to decide how much you want to share. Disclosure about your panic disorder may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act or equivalent, which means that your disclosure cannot be cause for dismissal or demotion. It also means that you may qualify for accommodations, such as taking more breaks. Check with a lawyer to see what applies in your area.

    Although panic attacks can be distressing, the implications for how people see you at work can cause additional stress. The strategies described here can help you manage your symptoms and keep them from taking over your workday. Of course, dont neglect to seek out professional support and guidance as well if you need it.

    Focus On Taking Action

    How To Control Anxiety And Panic Attacks Naturally

    Try these suggestions:

    • Remind your friend to take slow, deep breaths. Do this controlled breathing with them. This can often help, as they may start to mirror your actions.
    • Ask them to count backwards slowly from 100.
    • Help them to get comfortable.
    • Ask them to name five things they can see, hear, smell or feel.
    • Reassure them that theyre experiencing panic and that it will go away.
    • If, after 2030 minutes, the symptoms are continuing or have become worse, call 000.

    Avoid saying things like Dont worry over and over. You might mean well, but your friend may not find your words helpful in the moment.

    Don’t Miss: A Common Link Between Depression And Eating Disorders May Be

    What Causes A Panic Attack

    Panic attacks are very common, with up to 5 in every 100 Australians experiencing a panic attack at some stage in their life. During a panic episode, someone is overwhelmed and disabled by the physical symptoms listed above. The panic reaches its peak after about 10 minutes and can take up to half an hour to subside. A panic episode leaves the person feeling temporarily exhausted and drained.

    Having a panic attack doesnt necessarily mean you have panic disorder. Panic disorder is when you have repeated panic attacks that severely disrupt your life.

    Panic attacks can be caused by:

    • a temperament that is sensitive to stress or negative emotions
    • changes in the way your brain functions

    Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia

    Agoraphobia was traditionally thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces. However, it is now believed that agoraphobia develops as a complication of panic attacks and panic disorder. Although it can develop at any point, agoraphobia usually appears within a year of your first recurrent panic attacks.

    If youre agoraphobic, youre afraid of having a panic attack in a situation where escape would be difficult or embarrassing. You may also be afraid of having a panic attack where you wouldnt be able to get help. Because of these fears, you start avoiding more and more situations.

    For example, you may begin to avoid:

    • Crowded places such as shopping malls or sports arenas.
    • Cars, airplanes, subways, and other forms of travel.
    • Social gatherings, restaurants, or other situations where it would be embarrassing to have a panic attack.
    • Physical exercise in case it triggers panic.
    • Certain food or drinks that could provoke panic, such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or specific medications.
    • Going anywhere without the company of someone who makes you feel safe. In more severe cases, you might only feel safe at home.

    You May Like: How Does Ptsd Affect Sleep

    Stay Calm And Collected

    Panic attacks can seem frightening to witness. You may not be sure what to do when your friend or family member appears unable to control their fear. However, panic attacks are much scarier for the individual experiencing them. The best thing you can do to support your loved one is to stay calm and collected. Remember, the situation is not about you. If you need to talk about it with them, you can do so later, once they have recovered from the episode. In the moment, your focus needs to be on helping them feel safe and giving them the time to calm down.

    During a panic attack, an individual’s body is being flooded by fear signals. They cannot control their responses to things. It is scary enough to feel out of control, and if those around them also seem panicked, it will just feed into the attack. The best way to convince them there is nothing to be afraid of is by acting as if this is the case. Keep your posture neutral, your voice calm, and your volume low and soothing.

    Top Tips For People Coping With Panic Attacks

    Calm a Panic Attack in 3 Easy Steps

    If youve ever experienced a panic attack, youll know how overwhelming and frightening they can be.

    Commonly described as a sensation of intense fear that can trigger both physical and emotional responses, panic attacks can occur even when there is no danger or immediate threat.

    There are a number of strategies that can be used to help you cope with a panic attack, including:

    • Focusing on breathing exercises
    • Relaxing your muscles
    • Speaking to a friend or family member

    This article provides more detail about each of these strategies as well as presenting more information about managing panic attacks and preventing them from occurring in the first place.

    Don’t Miss: Can You Get Medical Marijuana For Anxiety

    Causes Of Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder

    Although the exact causes of panic attacks and panic disorder are unclear, the tendency to have panic attacks runs in families. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college and entering the workplace, getting married, or having a baby. Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger panic attacks.

    Panic attacks can also be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes. If youre suffering from symptoms of panic, its important to see a doctor to rule out the following possibilities:

  • Mitral valve prolapse, a minor cardiac problem that occurs when one of the hearts valves doesnt close correctly
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Medication withdrawal
  • Learn To Recognize The Emotional Symptoms

    Along with physical symptoms, there are emotional or psychological symptoms that are brought on by panic attacks. These include:

    • Feelings of fear, dread, or doom
    • Loss of control
    • A feeling of going crazy
    • A loss of connection from reality or a feeling of detachment

    These symptoms can range in intensity and can occur before, after, or along with physical symptoms.

    Panic attacks can be so distressing that they can cause the person to feel as though they are dying, and the experience of having a panic attack can bring about additional fear or anxiety of future panic attacks.

    When panic attacks continue to occur over time, it could be a sign of a panic disorder.

    Recommended Reading: Are Panic Attacks Common In Pregnancy

    More articles

    Popular Articles