Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Should You Hug Someone Having A Panic Attack

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Could Be An Ms Hug

What NOT To Say To Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack

I knew there were many reasons that could cause my chest pain. I could have pulled a muscle, I could have cracked a rib or I could be having a mild heart attack.

And yes, in the past I have pulled many muscles and I java cracked a rib twice. But, that was during my younger years when I was active in many sporting activities.

However, these were all unlikely causes given my current leisurely, sedentary lifestyle. So, it could be an MS Hug.

At this stage, I had not heard about a condition called MS Hug.

But, MS Society reports that MS Hug is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful, tightening across the stomach or chest. It can be difficult to describe and it can be frightening, evoking misplaced worries about heart attacks.

The pain and discomfort can circumscribe the stomach or chest, giving rise to the expression of girdling. The expression girdling come from a time when people wore a corset or girdle to flatten their stomachs.

What Is The Difference Between A Service Animal And An Emotional Support Animal

Service animals are highly trained to perform specific tasks that are tailored to the needs of their handler. The tasks they can perform vary drastically depending on the disability from which the handler suffers and how they might need help with challenges. Service animals are incredibly intelligent and professionally trained to perform their duties even in times of extreme duress. Service animals are almost always dogs.

In contrast to a highly trained service animal, an emotional support animal is generally used purely for the comfort its presence provides. ESAs are closer in demeanor to pets than service animals, but this does not mean ESAs are any less valid or effective at performing their roles. ESAs can help those with anxiety and panic disorders by providing a constant sense of comfort and security by their mere presence. Theyre scientifically documented to mitigate feelings of isolation and loneliness as well as alleviate anxiety and depression. ESAs arent necessarily always dogs.

Service animals trained specifically for those with extreme panic or anxiety disorders have very specific tasks they will perform if given a command or when they sense their handler is in need of help. This signal can vary from one person to the next due to the varying nature of mental disorders. Both ESAs and service animals play vital roles in helping their handlers cope with their daily lives. The only real difference is the specialized training that service animals undergo.

Responding To A Lack Of Affectionate Touch

Not everyone needs the same amount of affectionate touch, of course, any more than everyone needs the same amount of food or sleep. Like many characteristics, the need for touch varies from person to person, according to communication scholars Laura Guerrero and Peter Andersen. Some people are even what Andersen calls touch avoidant, meaning they often find interpersonal touch stressful instead of pleasurable.

Receiving touch can be uncomfortable for those with physical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, or mental health conditions such as autism spectrum disorder. People who have been traumatized or sexually abused may also find touch to be triggering.

It is also worth noting that not all forms of touch are equally beneficial. Some perfunctory touches, such as a handshake, may be largely benign, whereas aggressive or abusive touch often precipitates long-term health detriments.

For those who are missing touch, however, research suggests some substitutes. Sharing affection with a pet has stress-alleviating benefits. Self-massage, such as of the hands or neck, can have calming and pain-reducing effects. Even hugging a pillow reduces the brains experience of stress. These are all imperfect substitutes, to be sure, but until COVID-19 is a memory, they may be useful for those suffering from touch hunger.

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How To Subdue A Panic Episode In 9 Steps

Here is something you can try to treat the pre-described symptoms,

It is a series of simple breathing techniques aimed at helping your body override its natural fight-or-flight response .

The following may be performed sitting down, standing up, or lying down. You can do this whilst on a crowded commute into work, when youre in bed, during a stressful work meeting, or basically in any situation where it is safe to switch your attention to yourself for a few minutes.

To feel less panicky, do the following:

  • With your nose, take a slow and deep breath.
  • Then exhale with your mouth. It make take a few rounds of breathing to slow your inhale and exhale cycle this is totally normal.
  • If it is safe to do so, close your eyes with the next inhale.
  • Repeat this 5 times .
  • Again, through your nose, take a deep and slow breath but this time, do it over the course of 7 seconds.
  • Then hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  • Like before, exhale with your mouth but this time, exhale over the course of 7 seconds.
  • Repeat this slow inhale, hold, and exhale process for 10 cycles or until you begin to feel better.
  • This simple breathing exercise is effective because when you are feeling stressed, your breathing pattern changes. When we feel anxious, out natural physiological response is to breathe too much in short shallow bursts.

    The above abdominal breathing exercise makes you conscious of how you are breathing.

    Understanding A Panic Attack Sufferer

    How should I react when someone having a panic attack.

    Many panic attack sufferers wont feel able to talk about what they feel or how they feel out of shame or embarrassment.

    However, if you really want to understand a little bit how they feel keep reading.

    When someone suffers from panic attacks, they would like to understand what causes it or how to stop it but they really dont.

    Most of them are just certain they are having one and would hope for it to end soon.

    Moreover, most of them express how exhausting panic attacks are and how drained they feel after, just wanting to take a nap after it.

    In addition, it feels just logical to tell them stop thinking about it or stop letting things affect you so much as if it would just go away on its own or somehow they will suddenly stop if they want to or control it at their own will, but it is not a choice.

    Remember, they are not doing it on purpose.

    Sometimes you may feel angry or frustrated because they tend to cancel plans last minute but we need to understand how they feel safer and more comfortable at home than at a crowded party.

    Moreover, if you are not used to seeing them having a panic attack, pointing out their symptoms might seem like something normal but it really isnt helpful.

    Besides, remember how they are even more aware of them than you do.

    If you have tried to hug your friend when they were having a panic attack without asking, they may have become even more agitated, make them feel claustrophobic, and may have ended up in confrontation.

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    Does Anxiety Require Treatment

    Constant worrying and avoidance behaviour can be very disabling to your everyday life. Since the practice of psychology is evidence-based, there are strict guidelines to facilitate effective diagnosis of people with anxiety. Unfortunately, terminology such as mental health, mental illness, and mental disorders come with a lot of societal stigma.

    One of the barriers to getting the help you need is the language that surrounds anxiety and other mental health presentations. This is because most people dislike being labelled with a disorder such as GAD and will actively avoid seeking professional help and diagnose.

    Sadly, only one-third of people experience an anxiety disorder receive treatment.

    Being told that you have a mental illness is a burden nobody wants to shoulder. Ironically, the diagnosis is necessary to prescribe an appropriate action plan to help you maintain a healthy quality of life.

    It is a normal part of life to experience occasional anxiety.

    A teenager may experience anxiety in the lead up to their exams and upon release of their academic results. They may also feel anxious prior to asking someone out to be their boyfriend/girlfriend.

    According to Beyond Blue, one in fourteen young Australians aged 4-17 experienced an anxiety disorder in 2015. This is equivalent to approximately 278,000 young people.

    An adult may experience anxiety in the workplace and in their relationships .

    ‘focus On The Present’

    Charley Gavigan is a psychotherapist who specialises in anxiety disorders and says a lot of people have been coming to her for advice on how to cope with lockdown easing.

    “I think a lot of people have looked on social media and made an assumption that most people are thriving – that comparison stuff is really deafening,” she says.

    Charley says a lot of people with social anxiety rely on having topics of conversation ready for group situations, so the pandemic has presented a new problem as life has become quite dull and repetitive.

    “What do you talk about, because what have we been doing? We’ve run out of box sets so there’s this weird disconnect.”

    She has a few tips for people who are starting to panic about life returning to normal.

    “Focus on the present,” she says.

    “Worrying isn’t actually solving any problems – the approach that I work with people is ‘what can you do to feel more at ease’, and a lot of that is rooted in dropping being perfect.

    “Many people in social situations hold themselves to these standards of being exceptional and the life and the soul of the party – maybe it’s just about being good enough and seeing how they can relax themselves.”

    Charley says it’s about recognising patterns of behaviour that lead to negative thoughts and trying to stop them happening in a constant cycle.

    “It takes a lot of energy to actually interact with people when we are constantly thinking about what other people’s perception of us is,” she says.

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    How Do You Help After The Panic Attack

    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 panic 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 self-care 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. 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.

    Is It Panic Disorder


    If you feel constantly stressed and anxious, particularly about when your next panic attack may be, you may have panic disorder.

    People with panic disorder may avoid situations that might cause a panic attack. They may also fear and avoid public spaces .

    “There’s no quick fix, but if your attacks are happening time after time, seek medical help,” says Professor Salkovskis.

    Read more about panic attacks, including personal stories, at See Me Scotland.

    Read Also: What Does A Ptsd Flashback Look Like

    Keep Building Your Anti

    As you can see, there are actually several techniques that can help stop an anxiety attack.

    Of course we are all unique. Also, what works for one attack might work less for the next.

    So the best approach for learning to stop an anxiety attack is to try as many of the above techniques as possible, and to keep building your anti-anxiety toolbox. You might learn new techniques elsewhere, or fine tune one of the above in a way that suits you. Wonderful.

    The funny thing about anxiety attacks is that the more we decide to approach and work with them instead of trying to avoid them or fight them off, the less of them we begin to have.

    Is your anxiety stopping you from living your daily life? Or do you worry that you have an anxiety disorder? Harley Therapy connects you with highly trained London-based psychotherapists and counsellors who help with anxiety. Not in London? Our new service puts you in touch with therapists across the UK.

    Still have a question about how to stop an anxiety attack? Or want to share a technique that works for you? Post below in the public comment box.

    Trying To Calm Yourself During A Panic Attack Doesn’t Work

    In a state of panic, a person is frozen. When a person starts to unfreeze, any attempt to end the distress only extends it. Didn’t we learn that from Claire Weekes back in 1962 when she wrote Self Help for Your Nerves? In The Woman Who Cracked The Anxiety Code, Judith Hoare writes that Weekes found “trying to teach a patient to relax in the face of phobia or panic was not only counterproductive but an almost impossible mission.”

    Yet, almost 60 years later we are being told we should breathe in a certain way. Or, we should put a paper bag over our heads. Or, we should distract ourselves by thinking about our “happy place.”

    Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Maybe those things would help if done before panic starts, but once panic takes control, it doesn’t matter whether the advice is from a hack writer on the web or from your therapist it is useless. It is like, “If I’m at the Grand Canyon and fall off the cliff, what should I do?” Yes indeed. Why not breathe deeply, put a bag over your head, and think about your happy place? It’s as good as anything else you could be doing while plunging to your death.

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    When In Doubt Hug It Out

    When people we care about are in pain whether physical, emotional, or mental its hard to know what to do. I, myself, have felt helpless as I watch someone I love struggle through something. Without thinking twice, I hug them with all my might. In situations of uncertainty, Ive offered a supported pat on the shoulders. In my own vulnerable moments, it makes perfect sense that my skin hunger takes over and I recall fond memories of my mom comforting me.

    Hugs are powerful. Touch is healing. Now, you know.

    Feeling blue?

    Use Your Smartphone For Distraction

    How To Calm Someone While They Re Having A Panic Attack

    My Words With Friends addiction is a tad out of control, but it sure comes in handy when Im feeling eclipsed by panic.

    Games like crossword puzzles and word searches , says Dr. Masand. The idea is it can act as a distraction to the fear or the body symptoms of anxiety. Our smartphones offer a plethora of great coping tools and this is something the majority of us already carry with us. Download some games that will distract you and get your mind off of the unpleasant symptoms you are feeling. You can also download relaxing music and guided relaxation sessions.

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    You Have No Reason To Be Nervous

    Most likely, the person who is having the panic attack is aware that there is no reason to be anxious. When going through a panic attack, a persons fight-or-flight stress response is triggered, making their mind and body prepare for an actual or perceived threat.

    Even if they are not in any real danger, they still may not be able to stop the attack from running its course. Reinforcing that the persons fear is unfounded can increase ones sense of anxiety.

    Instead of bringing the lack of threat to their attention, try being a voice of encouragement. Use a soothing voice and simply remind them that you are there for them.

    How To Lessen The Ms Hug

    There are a number of simple things you can try to alleviate the spasms of MS Hug. But, these will not work for everyone.

  • Apply a warm compress
  • Ensure you are well hydrated.
  • Employ breathing techniques
  • Wear supportive clothing
  • I usually find that sitting quietly in a room, by myself, is enough to ease the pain.

    MS Hug fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia shares many symptoms with multiple sclerosis . But, as many as 1 in 5 people are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when they, in fact, have another neurological condition.

    Symptoms like joint and muscle pain, numbness and tingling in the arms, hands and legs, failing memory and fatigue are all shared by multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia. And like Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia is more common in females than male.

    However, unlike MS, Fibromyalgia does not produce brain lesions that can show up in an MRI.

    MS Mimickers

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Transverse Myelitis
  • Multiple Sclerosis seldom comes along alone. As many as 15% of MSers will have at least one other autoimmune disease in addition to their MS.

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    A Panic Attack In The World Of Alex

    So this is where we get personal. I have panic attacks. I dont always know what sets them off. Things like being in an overcrowded mall will make me anxious, sure, but they wont toss me into an attack . Most of my attacks happen when I am safe at home and often times dont seem to have any stressor . One of the scary things about panic attacks is that you feel them coming on. This can actually lead to an attack, itself, which sucks. This is called anticipatory anxiety, anxiety related to the fear of having an attack.

    I experience a number of the common symptoms of a panic attack, but not others. When I have a panic attack, I feel:

    • Heart racing
    • Extreme tension in my muscles
    • Shaking, due to the tension
    • Curling up in a tight little ball
    • Rapid breathing, which can lead to hyperventilation

    Not fun. I am usually very cognitively with it when I have an attack, however. Normally, I am just upset with myself for being in this situation as if I have magical control over my bodys chemicals . I say things like, Come on Alex, this is ridiculous, , or Why cant I just get rid of the tension? Safety isnt the concern. I know that Im safe and that I have no reason to panic, but my body believes otherwise, and my body wins out over my rational mind. I dont feel that Im going to die, or that Im going to have a heart attack. No. I feel an utter loss of bodily control, with what appears to be a sound mind. How frustrating.

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