Friday, June 14, 2024

How To Help Someone During A Panic Attack

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How To Get Help After The Panic Attack

How to help your friend during a panic attack – BBC

Many people with panic disorder distance themselves, fearing others wont understand. They may be embarrassed by their panic attacks or other anxiety symptoms. There are also many myths about the disorder that may contribute to a panic sufferers feelings of shame.

This means that you may need to remind your loved one, family member, or friend that they are not alone and that while you may not understand their experience exactly, you do understand that they have unique experiences that you wish to be supportive of.

It can also be helpful to encourage them to spend time doing self-care and using strategies that help to combat feelings of loneliness and reduce panic disorder symptoms.

For example, physical exercise for panic disorder can help reduce stress hormones and decrease muscle tension. It may be worthwhile to invite the person to exercise with you or a small group to relieve some of the anxiety. Also, it is important to remember that on average it takes 5 weeks for the brain to produce endorphins as a result of exercising so it will take more than one or two trips to the gym to feel results!

Another way to help someone overcome the feelings of isolation related to panic attacks is to gently encourage them to put themselves out there by getting involved in classes, groups, clubs, or organizations. Providing a supportive and understanding group of people can help eliminate loneliness.

How Can I Look After Myself If I Find It All Too Much

Its OK to acknowledge your own feelings about how your friends panic attacks can impact your life, whilst being sensitive to your friend at the same time. Its fine to prioritise yourself sometimes, and it might even help you to be a better friend to them in the long run. You could:

  • Take time to do things that help you relax and let off steam, whether its watching TV or going for a run.
  • Dont feel you have to avoid the things theyre avoiding. Youre not being disloyal if you go to the cinema when they cant.

When you feel comfortable, you might suggest to your friend that they seek some help with their panic attacks for example they could open up to their family about how theyre feeling.

Whatever happens, try to see the person as well as the panic attacks. Remember that, no matter how severe their symptoms are, theres more to them than this, says Eve.

Our team are always there to offer free and confidential support and advice on any issue.

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.

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Faqs On Panic Attacks

How do you ground someone having a panic attack?

The most effective way to ground them, or bring them back to the surrounding reality, is to help them stabilize their breathing. A lot of people will hyperventilate during a panic attack and this can have mental and physical side effects that make it hard to focus or relax. Focus on their breathing first by either doing counted breathing or using a breathing rhythm video or app.

Should you touch someone having a panic attack?

This is entirely dependent on the person. Some will find comfort in being held and rocked during their panic attacks, others may not want to be touched. It is very important that you always ask before simply reaching out or hugging someone experiencing a panic attack. The anxiety may become scared and lash out without realizing it if they cannot see you before you touch them or if they were not expecting to be touched.

How long do panic attacks last?

Everyone is different but in general the worst of a panic attack will peak within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks are no longer than 30 minutes. If you notice that your loved ones panic attacks are lasting longer, it may be time to seek professional care.

Help Them Stay Grounded

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Grounding techniques can have benefit for a range of anxiety issues, including panic attacks.

Grounding techniques can help contain panic attacks after they begin, explains Megan MacCutcheon, a therapist in Vienna, Virginia.

These techniques help the person focus on whats actually happening, not their fear of the attack. Theyre often most helpful once the intensity of the attack has faded a bit.

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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.

What Do You Not Say To Someone Having An Anxiety Attack

When someone is having a panic attack it is important to avoid:

Telling them to calm down or relax.

Telling them there is nothing they should be worrying or being nervous about.

Telling them they are behaving inappropriately and embarrassing themselves.

Telling them they are just overreacting and everything is in their heads.

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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.

How To Help Someone During An Anxiety Or Panic Attack

How To Help Someone During A Panic Attack
  • PresenceStay with the person until the brunt of the attack runs its course. Try not to leave the person alone to quickly tell friends where theyre going. Someone having an attack will be disoriented and have a difficult time discerning reality from imagination. We fear being abandoned and left to our own thoughts. Presence is reassurance that were not actually going insane.
  • Relocate the person to a quiet placeHaving an attack in a public place can be disconcerting. Someone whos having an attack with will be extremely sensitive to audio or visual senses. Also, a big fear is the thought of being embarrassed by their current situation and fear the judgment of others. So move the person to a quiet space.
  • Make them comfortableHave the person sit, lie down, or whatever feels the most comfortable for them in the moment. Dont question if the position they find themselves into looks uncomfortable to you.
  • Reassure ThemConstantly remind them that theyre alright. Tell them that theyre safe. Remind them that this will pass. A lot of times people will question their sanity and wonder if theyre actually going crazy. Constant reminders that theyre alright is important to for them to hear.
  • Lead the Calm BreathingIf theyre hyperventilating, dont tell them to try breathing deep. Instead take control and say, Breathe with me. And then proceed to breathe slow, deep breaths. Following breathing can calm the hyperventilation and draw them back to the present moment.
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    How To Help Someone Having A Panic Attack

    A panic attack is a brief but intense rush of fear.

    These attacks involve symptoms similar to those experienced when facing a threat, including:

    Panic attacks differ from a typical fear response because theres no actual threat involved.

    The body is saying theres danger, when in reality theres none present, explains Sadie Bingham, a clinical social worker who specializes in anxiety and provides therapy in Gig Harbor, Washington.

    Panic attack triggers arent always easy to identify, so people who have one attack often worry about having more, especially in public.

    Panic attacks usually feel very uncomfortable and cause significant distress. Many people believe theyre experiencing a heart attack or other life-threatening issue.

    If you know someone who experiences panic attacks, there are several things you can do to help them in the moment.

    How Do You Talk Someone Out Of A Panic Attack

    To talk someone out of a panic attack you need to ensure that you try to keep them calm and stay around them, but not necessarily touching them or trying to hold them.

    You can also talk to the person having a panic attack about things that are not emotional in nature and something that will involve them in talking about something they know well or something they are very clear on.

    You can also talk to the person having a panic attack about something mundane or routine, or you can ask them to count to ten, or do some breathing exercises with them.

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    How To Deal With Panic Attacks

    A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety.

    Panic attacks can also have physical symptoms, including shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating and dizziness.

    The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous, but can be very frightening.

    They can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.

    Most panic attacks last somewhere from five minutes to half an hour.

    How To Help Someone During A Panic Attack

    The Unpredictability Of Panic Invisible Illness Medium

    We live in an ever competing world which makes us victims of fear. And when that fear goes out of hand, it turns us into panicking humans. It has happened at least once to each one of us, isnt it? We have had days where we are sitting in a meeting, everybody is listening to the boss and what he has to say. But you are not! You have random thoughts swarm your head, one thought leads to another and the next thing you know is that your heart is beating fast and youre sweating profusely out of fear. This is probably what one can term as a panic attack on an informal basis. Unclear thoughts in ones head can lead to blurry nights and sunshine most of the time. What do you do when you see someone getting a panic attack? Which is the right way to help them? All these are very important to know and understand, but before that, lets first understand what a panic attack means. Read on.

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    When To Seek Medical Help

    If you haven’t experienced a panic attack yourself, it can be hard to know what to do for the best. So, when should you call for additional help? There isn’t an easy answer. On more than a few occasions I’ve ended up in ER and have called out the ambulance service as I thought I was having a heart attack. However, in fact, it was just down to an extreme episode of panic.

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    In the midst of an attack, telephoning the local emergency number may seem like the safest way to help a friend having a panic attack, but this can often exasperate an already stressful situation. If a friend is used to having panic attacks they can hopefully recognize the symptoms. In this case, simply sticking around with your friend or nearby until they feel better might be all you need to do.

    However, you should call for medical assistance if:

    • symptoms deteriorate and persist for longer than 20-30 minutes
    • shortness of breath doesnt improve
    • chest pain feels like squeezing and moves to arms/shoulders

    To make matters even more confusing, even if you are with someone who has had loads of panic attacks, they may still ask you to call an ambulance as they feel the one they’re experiencing is different or a heart attack. In any case as I’ve often been told by paramedics you should never feel bad if you’ve made use of emergency services because you thought someone’s life may be in danger. After all, that’s what they are there for.

    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
    • Sweating
    • 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.

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    Tell Me About What Youre Feeling

    During a panic attack, people often do one of two things: distract themselves from whats happening, or try to make the feeling go away.

    The problem is that during a panic attack, both of these attempts can actually exacerbate the experience,Dr. Dustin Siegel, licensed clinical psychologist and owner of The LEAP Center for Anxiety, says. By talking about what youre experiencing, and what youre feeling afraid of during the panic attack, the person will begin a mindfulness practice of observing the experience rather than trying to escape it.

    Shifting The Breathing Pattern

    How To Help Someone Through A Panic Attack

    As indicated by During an emergency, our breathing rate and pattern change.

    Instead of breathing slowly from our lower lungs, we begin to breathe rapidly and shallowly from our upper lungs.

    If during this time we are not physically exerting ourselves, then it can produce a phenomenon called hyperventilation.

    However, by changing your breathing pattern while having a panic attack can stimulate your parasympathetic response, which is opposite to the one that gets activated when your body goes into emergency mode or alert. Shifting the breathing pattern will force our body to calm down.

    When our parasympathetic nervous system can help us decrease oxygen consumption, our breathing and heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, among others.

    This is why learning breathing techniques or deep breathing exercises can help us reduce the anxious response.

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