How To Calm Someone With Anxiety Over Text
Here are some things you can do to calm someone with anxiety over text:
- Tell them you are there
- Tell them they can take their time
- Breathe with them
- Ask them to get some ice and keep it against their forehead
- Tell them to drink some water
- Well get through this together
What to say to someone having a panic attack over text? It is not a simple and easy question to answer.
Some people expect to find a template that could make their lives easier but in reality, it is not that simple.
There are a few things we need to consider when helping someone who is having a panic attack over text.
Moreover, text messages have a communicative intent but lack the usual characteristics of a conversation such as the tone of voice, non-verbal behavior, visual contact, etc. and you can find various articles about people who suffer from anxiety or panic disorders and some tips on how to help but there is not much about what to say to someone having a panic attack over text.
Additionally, we can say that the easiest way to help someone when having a panic attack is having someone they trust and feel comfortable talking to and assuring them everything is going to be OK, after all, panic attacks are just temporary, usually lasting between 20 and 30 mins.
However, it is recommended to seek professional advice if you think someone you care about is having serious issues managing their anxiety or panic attacks.
Panic attacks can happen anywhere at any time, without warning.
What Causes Panic Attacks
Experts dont know why some people experience panic attacks or develop panic disorder. The brain and nervous system play key roles in how you perceive and handle fear and anxiety. Your risk of having panic attacks increases if you have:
- Family history:Anxiety disorders, including panic disorders, often run in families. Experts arent sure why.
- Mental health issues: People who have anxiety disorders, depression or other mental illness are more prone to panic attacks.
- Substance abuse problems:Alcoholism and drug addiction can increase the risk of panic attacks.
How Do You Calm Someone With Anxiety
There are several ways how you can calm someone with anxiety, such as:
Advising them to avoid caffeine or alcohol since those substances tend to worsen anxiety symptoms.
Advise them to write down how they are feeling and the thoughts that trigger their anxiety.
Using herbal remedies such as chamomile, valerian or lavender oil.
Getting professional help if they are feeling too overwhelmed from their anxiety and it is affecting significantly their lives.
Mindful meditation can be very helpful when managing anxiety.
Exercise and healthy habits .
Drink some water or green tea.
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Panic Attacks I Turned My Mental Health Crisis Into A Mental Health Triumph
“Although it’s taken me a long time I have learned I am a strong person who has the potential to help others.”
You might find that you become scared of going out alone or to public places because you’re worried about having another panic attack. If this fear becomes very intense, it may be called agoraphobia. See our pages on types of phobia for more information.
“I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I just wanted to get out, to go somewhere else, but I couldn’t because I was on a train.”
Seeing A Doctor Or Therapist
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Panic Attack Signs And Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. They rarely last more than an hour, with most ending within 20 to 30 minutes. Panic attacks can happen anywhere and at any time. You may have one while youre in a store shopping, walking down the street, driving in your car, or even sitting on the couch at home.
Panic attack symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
- Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy
Is it a heart attack or a panic attack?
Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are physical, and many times these symptoms are so severe that you may think youre having a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks make repeated trips to the doctor or the emergency room in an attempt to get treatment for what they believe is a life-threatening medical problem. While its important to rule out possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, elevated heart rate, or difficulty breathing, its often panic that is overlooked as a potential causenot the other way around.
Understand Their Panic May Not Make Sense To You Or Them
Panic attacks can be confusing as well as scary. People generally cant predict them and theres often no clear cause. They can happen in stressful situations but also during calm moments or even during sleep.
It might seem helpful to tell your friend theres nothing to be afraid of. But theyre probably perfectly aware theres no actual threat.
Thats part of what makes panic attacks so confusing. The reaction matches a fear response but nothings happening to cause that fear. In response, someone who gets panic attacks might begin to fear the symptoms themselves, or link them to a serious health issue.
Its typical to feel embarrassed or ashamed of such an intense reaction, Bingham explains. But having a trusted companion offer compassion can allow space for the person to return to baseline.
You can be that person even without understanding why they get panic attacks. Thats far less important than your ability to offer empathy and recognize their distress as real and significant.
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What To Do When Someone Else Is Having A Panic Attack
This section will provide some tips on how to help a person having a panic attack.
First, try talking them through a few of the methods above. For instance, help them find a peaceful spot, encourage them to take slow, deep breaths, and ask them to focus on a nearby object.
If you do not know the person, introduce yourself and ask them if they need help. Ask them if they have had a panic attack before, and if so, what helps them regain control.
People can also try the following tips when someone else is having a panic attack:
- Try to remain calm. This will help them relax a little more.
- Suggest moving to a quiet spot nearby and help them find one. Sitting down in a comfortable place can be very effective, as it allows them to focus on their breathing.
- Remind the person that panic attacks always end.
- Stay positive and nonjudgmental. Avoid validating any negative statements.
- Try having a gentle, friendly conversation to distract them and help them feel safe.
- Avoid telling them to calm down or telling them that there is nothing to worry about, as this devalues their emotions.
- Stay with them. If they feel that they need to be alone, make sure they remain visible.
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If theyâre starting to have panic attack, reach out with a text like this one. âThis is an example of grounding, a technique designed to help a person focus on the present moment to help detract from their feelings of anxiety and distress,â Anjani Amladi, M.D., a board-certified adult psychiatrist, tells Bustle. You can even offer to do it with them, as a sign of moral support.
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Treatment For Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
The most effective form of professional treatment for tackling panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia is therapy. Even a short course of treatment can help.
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering your panic attacks and helps you look at your fears in a more realistic light. For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying.
Hotlines and support
NAMI Helpline Trained volunteers can provide information, referrals, and support for those suffering from anxiety disorders in the U.S. Call 1-800-950-6264.
Find a Therapist Search for anxiety disorder treatment providers in the U.S.
Support Groups List of support groups in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa.
Anxiety UK Information, support, and a dedicated helpline for UK sufferers and their families. Call: 03444 775 774.
Anxiety Canada Provides links to services in different Canadian provinces.
SANE Help Centre Provides information about symptoms, treatments, medications, and where to go for support in Australia. Call: 1800 18 7263. .
Get Involved In The Present
People don’t panic in the present. People panic when they imagine something bad happening to them in the future or in the past. This is why your panic attacks are almost always accompanied by some “what if…?” thought. The reason you say “what if…?” is because what you fear is not actually happening!
Get back into the activity you were engaged in prior to the attack, and become involved with the people and objects around you. If you’re in a store, resume shopping, reading labels, comparing prices, asking questions, etc. It will move you closer to your goal of overcoming panic attacks when you bring your focus and energy back to the present environment. By this I mean, work with what is around you.
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What Questions Should I Ask
Calling a panic disorder hotline is a great way to get all your questions about panic attacks and other mental health issues answered. Everyone experiences stress and anxiety from time to time, so it can be difficult to understand what makes a panic disorder different from regular, healthy emotions. The staff at panic helplines are available to explain these differences to you. You can ask questions in a compassionate and anonymous setting.
If you are suffering from panic attacks, questions you might consider asking a panic attack helpline include:
- How do I know if I have panic disorder?
- What do I do if Im having a panic attack?
- What causes a panic attack?
- Can panic attacks be treated?
- Do I need medication?
- What are the symptoms of panic attacks?
- What if I have other mental health issues?
- What if I am using drugs or alcohol?
- Will I need to go to a special treatment program?
- How much does treatment cost? Will my insurance cover it?
- Will I ever feel normal?
- What are the next steps I should take?
Watching a loved one suffer is extremely hard, especially if you dont understand why its happening. Maybe you have seen your child get so overwhelmed with fear that he or she has trouble breathing. Maybe youve accompanied your partner to the emergency room after he or she was suddenly stricken with chest pain. Or maybe you have a friend who needs to drink or use drugs in order to feel safe in social situations.
Putting Hands In Water
Focusing on the waters temperature and feeling it on ones fingertips, palms, and the backs of your hands can take the persons mind away from focusing on the imminent threat they may be feeling and divert it to the comforting sensations.
One may also ask the person who is having a panic attack to alternate between hot or cold water if they can.
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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:
Breathing Exercise For Panic Attacks
If youre breathing quickly during a panic attack, doing a breathing exercise can ease your other symptoms. Try this:
- breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose
- breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth
- some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath
- close your eyes and focus on your breathing
You should start to feel better in a few minutes. You may feel tired afterwards.
Visit the No Panic website for another breathing exercise to calm panic.
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Why Is This Blog About What To Say To Someone Having A Panic Attack Over Text Important
As discussed, what we say to someone that is having a panic attack over a text message it is not easy but can make a huge difference.
The most important thing to remember is to make sure you let them know you are there, avoid panicking, getting angry and any judgments or criticisms since it is not helpful at all.
In addition, advise your loved one to get additional professional help if they are feeling too overwhelmed during their attacks, or if they feel they have lost control over their emotions leading them to depression or feeling sad all the time.
Please feel free to comment in the comments section.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
How To Talk To Yourself
Talk to yourself about what is happening, and what you need to do. One question my patients find very helpful is this: is it Danger or Discomfort? Some of the other responses my patients like include the following:
1. Fine, let’s have an attack! It’s a good chance to practice my coping techniques.
2. Answer your “what if…?” fears by saying “So what? I’ll get afraid, then calm down again.”
3. It’s okay to be afraid.
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Dont Compare Normal Stress And Fear To Panic
Maybe youve felt stressed or terrified in a dangerous situation. You might even have anxiety yourself.
These experiences arent quite the same as a panic attack, though. Avoid trying to draw comparisons between your different experiences. Unless you also get panic attacks, you probably dont entirely understand how they feel.
If you have experienced extreme fear, let that memory inform you on what your friend is going through. Remind yourself they arent just afraid or stressed.
They may also feel:
- unable to manage whats happening
- physical pain or discomfort
How Are Panic Attacks Diagnosed
Serious health problems, such as heart disease, thyroid disease and respiratory problems, cause symptoms similar to panic attacks. Your healthcare provider may run tests to rule out a physical problem. If theres no physical cause, your provider may make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and risk factors.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have panic attacks, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why am I having panic attacks?
- What is the best treatment for panic attacks?
- How long will I need therapy?
- How long do I need to take medications?
- Should I look out for medication side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Panic attacks can be extremely uncomfortable. Although theyre not physically harmful, they can take a toll on your mental health and stop you from doing the things you love. Dont be embarrassed to tell your healthcare provider that you have panic attacks. Your provider can help you overcome fears and anxieties that trigger attacks. You can get better with treatments like psychotherapy and medications.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/12/2020.
How To Help If Someone Is Having A Panic Attack
- Reassure them they may be unable to explain what has caused them to panic and do not pressure them to do this, your calm presence should help.
- Speak to them in positive, supportive terms You will be okay, this will pass in a minute etc.
- Remove them from anything obviously causing distress.
- Encourage them to focus on their breathing and breathe calmly and slowly, in and out through their nose and out of their mouth, to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being lost.
- Small sips of water may help to calm them.
- Stamp on the spot. Some people find this helps control their breathing.
- Try grounding techniques. Grounding techniques can help someone feel more in control. They are especially useful if experiencing dissociation during panic attacks.
- Encourage them to concentrate on sounds around them
- Walk barefoot
- Wrap them in a blanket
- Touching something or sniffing something with a strong smell.
- Focus on the sensations right now. Some people keep a box of things with different textures and smells ready for when they need it.
If symptoms get worse, get medical help.
When the panic attack is over, talk it through with them. Discuss relaxation techniques and other helpful means of coping in case this happens again.
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