Get Support For Your Loved Ones Panic Attacks Or Panic Disorder
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Millions of Americans suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other conditions. It can be a lonely, confusing, and emotional experience but you are not alone. If you or someone you love is struggling, SUN Behavioral Health in Columbus can help.
At SUN Behavioral, our masters-level clinicians provide care for these specific challenges surrounding mental illness. Struggling with a mental illness is extremely difficult. Not only does it impact an individual on an emotional level, but it can also leave them with several physical complications.
Dont Forget To Look After Yourself
Living with anxiety is hard and can be draining. Remember that you can only do so much for your partner. You are not in control of their emotions, anxiety, or the decisions they make. Remember to look after yourself, go out there and be active, do the hobbies you enjoy, read a book, listen to your favourite music etc.
Looking after yourself mentally and physically is just as important as looking after and supporting someone with anxiety. While anxiety can add stress for both individuals at times, try not to let it consume your relationship You have to live your own life and your partner will learn to manage their emotions and anxiety independently.
Heres an article to some things you can do when feeling anxious.
Put An End To Enabling
You may not be aware of them, but enabling behaviors are common in relationships where a partner has anxiety, panic disorder, or another mental health condition. If your partner has anxiety, you may feel like you are being helpful if you are working to prevent them from from feeling any distress.
However, when you enable your partner, it prevents them from learning how to better manage their symptoms. It is your partner’s responsibility to work through that process and come to terms with their condition.
To stop enabling your partner, communicate with them about your needs and expectations.
If your partner refuses to seek or accept help, it’s important that you address these concerns with them. Keep in mind that you are really helping your partner when you support them in facing reality and encouraging them to learn how to cope with panic disorder.
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Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Much like deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can help stop your panic attack in its tracks by controlling your bodys response as much as possible.
Consciously relax one muscle at a time, starting with something simple like the fingers in your hand, and move your way up through your body.
Muscle relaxation techniques will be most effective when youve practiced them beforehand.
Anxiety Causes You To Behave Selfishly
Because anxiety is an overactive fear response, someone experiencing it may at times focus too much on his or her own concerns or problems.
Your worries and fears may be putting unnecessary pressure on your relationship. You may feel like you need to worry in order to protect yourself in your relationship, but it might be keeping you from being compassionate and vulnerable with your partner.
If your partner experiences anxiety, you may build up resentment and react in selfish ways as well. The attitudes and perspectives that we have are contagious. Keeping your stress levels under control is especially hard when your partner is feeling anxious, upset, or defensive.
so attendto your needs, not your fears. When you notice yourself becoming fearful or defensive, take a moment to consider the compassion that you have for yourself and your partner. Clearly ask for the support you need to feel loved and understood. Apologize for letting anxiety make you self-absorbed.
Unhealthy levels of anxiety make you feel as though an;emotional rock is in your stomach almost all the time.
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Be Supportive Not Suffocating
The stigma of panic disorder may prevent your dating partner from opening up further about the condition. Due to fears of rejection and worrying that others cannot relate, people with panic disorder are often susceptible to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
It may take some time to build trust before the person you are dating feels comfortable providing detail about what it is like to be living with an anxiety disorder. It can help to communicate to your partner that you are available to listen, but that you will not push for a discussion until your partner feels ready.
Do not bring up the panic disorder in front of other people. Many panic sufferers choose to tell only trusted friends and family about their condition.
Understandably, it may feel like a betrayal to have their condition broadcast to others, even if your intentions are to help. It can also cause embarrassment or other conflicts if you mention their mental health struggle in a group setting.
Remind Them That They Are Safe
Tell them that they are safe, and remind them that this anxiety attack is temporary. Assure them that they are going to be okay, because chances are they arent able to rationalize whats going on at that moment. Anxiety can make a normally safe situation feel dangerous because of how the nervous system is affected during a panic attack. Encourage them to take their medication or help them engage in coping skills if they are able to.
Sometimes the person might take medication to help them feel better during an attack, and encouraging them to take it might be a great solution. Remember to be kind when you say it, because a suggestion like that, if said incorrectly, can come off as condescending. If you know that they like to take walks, try to get them to walk with you; if they have an object that makes them feel better, like a blanket they curl up in or something like that, try to get it for them if its available, but remember its only if they want it.
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Treatment Options For Patients With Anxiety
There are two primary treatments for individuals with anxiety:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy , which involves learning how to lower anxiety and face distressing situations.
- Medication management with antidepressants, which works well on its own but even better when coupled with CBT.;
During therapy, continue to show your support by:
- Asking your loved one what you can do to help them.
- Asking if you can attend a therapy session to learn some skills to better support them.
- Making time for your own life and interests to sustain your energy.
- Encouraging your loved one to try another therapist if the first one isnt a good fit.
Having A Backup Plan Will Make Your Partner Feel A Little Easier When Out In Public
Anxiety and panic attacks wait for no one. These things can happen in public. Anxiety attacks when it wants and where it wants. What happens if youre on a double date, for example, and your partner suddenly has an anxiety attack? Develop plans with your partner about what to do when these situations happen, like having a signal or key word to indicate that things are heading downhill, and an escape plan to get out of there just in case. This way, we dont have to have anxiety about our anxiety, which can lead to said anxiety, if you followed me there.
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What Is A Panic Attack
A panic attack is a sudden, intense, and overwhelming feeling of fear without any actual danger present. They usually last about 10 minutes or less, but can be longer and multiple attacks can happen in a row.
A combination of symptoms indicate a panic attack, including:
Sense of impending doom, danger, or death
Feeling detached from reality
Rapid heart rate and chest pain
Watching someone experience a panic attack is really hard!
You might be having some of the following thoughts:
Did I do something wrong?
How can I help?
Will I make it worse?
The most important thing to remember is that it is not your fault, or your partner’s fault. They just need to know they have your support.
How To Help Via Text Message
If youre out and about when you get a text from someone that says, I think Im having a panic attack, what do you do?
One of the best things you can do is offer supportive phrases that reinforce their ability to cope. Try a few of these supportive phrases:
- This is time-limited. It will pass.
- Youre doing a great job.
- Im confident that you can handle this.
- Youre going to get through this!
Whether in person or over text, try to avoid making a big deal of their symptoms. Your role can be to help them extinguish the idea that a panic attack is dangerous or intolerable, and remind them that they can handle this experience. You can then offer to help reconnect if they need more support later on.
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How To Support Your Partner
Theres a difference between providing support and becoming your partners unpaid, unofficial therapist. A therapist isnt going to hold your partner while they cry or take them out for something to help relieve the anxiety.
These activities make him feel loved and secure, and that helps with his anxiety, she said.
Her story shows it is possible to have a loving and long-term relationship when dating someone with anxiety. Here are some other ways you can support your partner:
A Mental Health Expert Explains How To Support Someone With Anxiety
My boyfriend warned me not to fall in love with him because of his anxiety. “I get in these moods,” he told me almost seven years ago, as we sat by a pool in Palm Springs, our first real trip together as a couple. “I’m on an upswing right now,” he said. “But it’s not always like this.” He topped off my glass of champagne and smiled, a melancholy look in his eyes.
I’ve never suffered from anxiety, so I didn’t quite understand what he meant back then. I also loved him, so I didn’t listen to his warning. I’d become better acquainted with his anxiety in the years that followed. I didn’t always handle it well. In fact, I’ve made all the classic mistakes. Half a decade would go by before I even felt like I recognized what his personal breed of anxiety looked like, and how it informed his behavior. My mental image of the condition involved visible panic attacks and other external displays of agitation; but as I’d learn, not everyone’s anxiety looks the same.
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If Youre Going To Go To Battle Know What Youre Fighting Against
Anxiety is a battle between your mind and your mind, literally. And sometimes the battle can get heinous, especially when it steps outside of your mind and into your body as a panic attack. Anxiety and panic attacks do get better with time, but it is a condition that your partner lives with forever. Loving someone with anxiety can be difficult. You need to look within yourself and determine if this is something you are capable of doing. Dont feel ashamed if you cant, either. There are some things that people simply cannot handle.
Never Forget That We Love You
Sometimes anxiety can evolve into rage or depression. Its a shape-shifter; it takes on a lot of different forms. But in the midst of a bad episode or a difficult time, do not forget that we love you, we care about you, and we appreciate you more than you know. We appreciate you for standing by us when we are at our worst. Our supporters motivate us to keep growing and changing when things seem impossible. And having someone there who genuinely is interested in your well-being and happiness makes the whole managing thing easier. Thank you for everything that you do. We love you.
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Rest Up After As It Can Knock The Life Out Of You
Make sure that after a panic attack you take it easy. They are very scary and can make you feel very upset for a while after the panic attack has passed. So dont try and rush back into getting on with things, take your time and only continue with your day when you feel ready.
Take a look at some of our other stuff on stress, anxiety and more below:
Explain That It’s Just Your Body Acting Up
For some people it can be helpful to remind them that they’re not dying, that it’s just a biological process playing up. âA panic attack is a spike in adrenaline activated by a perceived threat, which can be both a conscious and non-conscious dynamic on the part of the sufferer,”Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W., a psychotherapist, author, and anxiety expert, tells Bustle. “The key to controlling an anxiety attack in any environment is the paradox of accepting, versus fighting the adrenaline.” So remind them that it’s just a rush of adrenaline and that it’s not something they need to be afraid of.
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How Anxiety Destroys Relationships
There is an abundance of information about how anxiety impacts our healthmentally, emotionally, and physically. Have you considered the impact anxiety may have on the health of your relationship?
If you are feeling a strain on your relationship, anxiety may be playing a role. Could your anxiety be putting your relationship at risk?
Heres how and why anxiety destroys relationships, and what you can do to stop it.
Symptoms Of Panic Attacks And Anxiety Faqs
How do you ground someone having a panic attack?
The most effective way to ground them, or bring them back to the reality around them, 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. They 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.
What triggers panic attacks?
How do you calm a panic attack?
What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack?
Take Yourself Out Of Your Head And Try And Bring Yourself Into Reality
Panic attacks can be because of loads of different things, but usually panic attacks come with negative thoughts. So if you try and bring yourself out of your head and into reality this may help lessen the panic feelings. Its easier said than done but try and remember that everything is OK. Youre just thinking these scary thoughts in your mind and whilst they feel very, very real, a panic attack doesnt cause any physical danger it just feels like it is.
Do Not Speak About Your Partners Anxiety Unless Explicitly Given Permission To Do So
Mental illness is still very much stigmatized in our culture. We are seen as crazy nuts, or people who just let their mind run wild and dont bother to control it. One of the more interesting judgments that have been passed upon me is that I have no reason to have anxiety, since I have a roof over my head and clothes to wear. I lack nothing, what is there to worry about?
Mental illness does not discriminate. The last thing I want is for your family and friends to pass judgment or alter their opinion of me because you told them about my anxiety, the exception being when its highly visible, such as a panic attack.
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Try Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Another symptom of panic attacks is muscle tension. Practicing muscle relaxation techniques may help limit an attack. This is because if the mind senses that the body is relaxing, other symptoms such as rapid breathing may also diminish.
A technique called progressive muscle relaxation is a popular method for coping with anxiety and panic attacks.
This involves tensing up and then relaxing various muscles in turn. To do this: