When someone suffers from a panic attack, it can be a frightening experience for both the person having the attack and those around them. It is important to know how to respond to help make the situation more manageable for everyone involved. Here are eight things that you can do when someone is experiencing a panic attack:
- Stay with them and remain calm
This can be difficult to do, but it is important to try even if you feel scared. The person having the attack may need your support to feel more secure, so stay close by and calm yourself. If you can, talk to them in a calm voice. This might be helpful but if they ask you to stop talking, then stop.
- Encourage them to breathe slowly and deeply
Panic attacks can cause people to hyperventilate. When a person is having a panic attack, they may feel like they are suffocating or having a heart attack, so it is important to help them focus on their breathing. This will help ease some of the physical symptoms they are experiencing.
- Ask what you can do to help
Most people who experience panic attacks have their coping methods. When offering support, remember the person having a panic attack knows what works best for them. In some instances, they may not be able to tell you what they need, but asking can show that you care and want to help. Sometimes, just being there with them is enough. Other times, they may need you to do something specific like get them a drink of water or help them to lie down.
- Do not try to force them to stop panicking
Trying to force someone to stop panicking will only make the situation worse. Avoid telling them to calm down because it can make them feel worse. It is important to remember that the person is already feeling out of control, and telling them to calm down will not help. Instead, let them know that you are there for them, and you will get through it together.
- Suggest grounding techniques
You can use several grounding techniques to help someone during a panic attack. Some include having them hold a textured object or repeat a soothing phrase. These techniques can help distract the person from the thoughts and sensations that are causing them to panic.
- Avoid making any sudden movements
When you are around someone who is having a panic attack, it is important to avoid making any sudden movements. This includes things like shaking them or moving too close to their face. Sudden movements can startle them and make the situation worse.
- Reassure them that the attack will end
It is important to let them know that the attack will eventually end even though it may feel like it will never stop. This can be reassuring for them and help to ease their anxiety.
- Encourage them to seek help from a professional
If the person has panic attacks regularly, it is important to encourage them to seek help from a professional at a psychology clinic like Brisbane Wellbeing. This can be a difficult conversation, but it is important to let them know that you are there for them and want to help them get the support they need.
Panic attacks can be scary. If you know how to respond properly, you can help make the situation more manageable for you and the person experiencing the attack. By following these tips, you can offer support and reassurance to someone experiencing a panic attack.
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