How to Help Someone during a Panic Attack

Updated: Jan 21

A panic attack can come at any time, with no warning. It can be hard for you to realize what to do and how to help somebody having a panic disorder. You have to be familiar with the symptoms of panic attacks so you can identify when it occurs and get an idea of what to do for supporting someone having this disorder.



How to Know If It’s a Panic Disorder

Before helping individual suffering from panic disorder, you should know whether it is due to anxiety or fear he or she is encountering or whether there is a physical description. A few symptoms of panic disorders include:


· Shortness of breath

· Numbness

· Sweating

· Shaking

· Fear of dying or going crazy

· Heart palpitations

· Abdominal distress

· Chest pain

· Dizziness


How to Help Somebody Suffering from Panic Disorder


1. Stay Calm and Neutral

Talk to the person politely. Stay neutral and never take anything he or she does or says personally. Since he/she is undergoing a stress period, he/she might act abnormally.


2. Ask Him or Her How You Can Help

Ask the person in case he/she has had the attack before and in case he/she had it, how you can help. Maximum individuals who have panic disorders or other kinds of anxiety have chosen dealing strategies. Remember that during an anxiety attack, the person might find it difficult to remember things or think. Hence, you can ask beforehand how you can help in case he/she encounters the attack around you.


3. Concentrate on Taking Actions

A calm voice and attitude might help somebody, but don’t say things like “Don’t Worry” again and again. It might mean well, but these words may not help at that moment. You can try these actions:

· Tell the person to take deep, slow breaths and breathe with him/her. Sometimes, this can help as he/she begins following your actions.

· Ask the person for counting backward gradually from 100.

· Help him/her to become comfortable.

· Ask him/her to say 5 things he/she can feel, smell, hear, or see.

· Reassure him/her that he/she is encountering panic and that it will go away.


4. Verify Their Distress

Sometimes people go through a tough time sharing their mental health issues. They might get judged or that they will not be considered seriously. So, try to be empathetic and understand what they are experiencing. During an anxiety attack, in case everything appears okay to you, the problems the person feels is very real. Thereby, never say things like “Is anything wrong with you?” or “Just cool down”.


Take-Home Message

To know more tactics, stay tuned to Refresh Psychiatry. Our mental health experts can help you how to recognize, understand, and respond to the symptoms of mental health problems. Contact us regarding any kind of mental health issue. Also, keep in mind to practice self-care after helping somebody. You must take time for yourself as it’s tough to help someone encountering a panic attack.

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