A panic attack can be overwhelming, scary, and disorienting. The symptoms can be so severe that the person experiencing them may feel like they’re having a heart attack or even dying.
Unfortunately, panic attacks can happen anywhere, anytime, and often without warning. And when this happens to a loved one, it is not always easy to know how to help or react. In this blog, we’ll discuss the signs of a panic attack and what you can do to help someone going through one.
Signs That Someone Is Having a Panic Attack
The symptoms of a panic attack can be physical, emotional, or both. However, not all symptoms are evident to those around the person experiencing the attack. Some physical signs to look out for include:
- Sweating or trembling
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilating
- Looking hot and flustered
- Sudden inability to move or speak
It’s important to remember that everyone experiences panic attacks differently. Some people may experience all of these symptoms, while others may only experience a few. The severity and duration of the symptoms can also vary.
What You Can Do To Help
Try to Stay Calm
The first thing you can do to help someone having a panic attack is to remain calm. Your calm demeanor can help the person feel more in control and less anxious. If you appear anxious or panicked yourself, it can escalate the situation and make it more challenging for the person experiencing the attack to relax.
Offer words of reassurance to the person. Let them know that they are not alone and that you are there to help them. Reassure them that the panic attack will pass and that they will be okay. You can use words like “You’re safe,” “It’s going to be okay,” and “I’m here for you.”
Ask the person What They Need
People respond to panic attacks in different ways, and they may have specific needs that can help them feel better. Ask the person what they need – it could be a glass of water, a hug, or some fresh air.
Encourage Them to Breathe Slowly and Deeply
A panic attack comes with shallow and rapid breathing, which can make your situation seem worse. Encourage the person to take slow and deep breaths through the nose and out through the mouth. This will help slow down their heart rate and ease other physical symptoms.
Help Them Find a Safe, Quiet Place
If possible, help the person find a quiet, safe place where they will feel more relaxed and secure. If you are in a public place, try to find a secluded area away from too much noise or other potential triggers. You can also encourage the person to sit or lie down comfortably if possible.
Stay with the Person Until the Panic Attack Has Passed
Remain with the person until the panic attack has passed. Talk to them in a calm, soothing voice, and be patient. Don’t rush them or force them to do anything they don’t want to do. Just stay with them and offer your support until the intensity of their symptoms has subsided.
Encourage Professional Treatment
If the person has experienced panic attacks before, or if they continue to experience them frequently, it’s important to seek treatment. Recurrent panic attacks are not only debilitating and disruptive but can also be a sign of a deep-rooted psychological illness. As such, encouraging your loved one to seek professional treatment is a great way to find a lasting remedy.
The Bottom Line
Panic attacks can be scary, but with the right help and support, they don’t have to be overwhelming. The above tips are just a few of the ways you can provide support and comfort to someone during a panic attack. If you or someone you know is struggling with recurrent panic attacks, consider seeking professional help as soon as possible.