Helping Someone During a Panic Attack – Please share this


If this is the first time the individual has experienced this, seek emergency medical attention. When in doubt, it is always best to seek immediate medical attention. This is doubly important if the individual has diabetes, asthma or other medical problems. It is important to note that the signs and symptoms of a panic attack can be similar to those of a heart attack. Do keep this in mind when assessing the situation.

Find out the cause of the attack. Talk to the individual and determine if he or she is having a panic attack and not another kind of medical emergency (such as a heart or asthma attack) which would require immediate medical attention. If they’ve experienced it before, they may be able to clue you in to what’s going on.

What is Panic Attack?

11 Simple Mental Exercise that Will Reduce Your Anxiety and Panic

1. Don’t panic

Panic fuels panic so it’s most important that you control your own anxiety when responding to someone else’s panic attack.  If necessary, you may also need to take active steps to calm down others too; it’s possible for one panic attack to trigger a kind of mass hysteria as people set each other off.  This is a moment to really assert your control and appear authoritative. Be polite but firm in telling other people to move away from the sufferer, to give them some space.  Encourage people not to crowd, run, scream or otherwise panic.

2. Be there

Don’t call or text anyone unless you need backup. Act like there’s nowhere you’d rather be than right there with that person, helping them get through a tough experience. Don’t leave them alone. Stay with them until they have recovered from the attack especially if the person is struggling to breathe.

A person with a panic attack may seem like they’re being unfriendly or rude, but understand what they are going through and wait until they’re back to normal.

3. Give them time

Pressure will only add to the panic, so try to be as relaxed as possible.

4. Don’t touch

Don’t ever touch a person who’s having a panic attack without asking and obtaining definitive permission to do so. In some cases, touching the person without asking can increase the panic and make the situation worse.

5. Prevent hyperventilation

Some of worst attacks involved hyperventilating. Breathing quickly and rapidly brings too much oxygen into the brain and not enough CO2, and that makes it go a bit haywire, to say the least.

Have your friend hold their breath in and exhale for a couple counts or breathe through their nose (possibly alternating between plugging nostrils) to try to regulate their breathing. If it gets bad, bring out a paper bag or have them breathe into their cupped hands — this gets them to intake CO2 they’re lacking.

Help slow the person’s breathing by breathing with him or her or by counting slowly to 10.

6. Talk to them

Don’t let your friend get stuck in their head, because that leads to a downward spiral of anxiety. But don’t make assumptions about what the person needs. Ask : do they want a movie playing to distract them? Do they want you to contact someone for them? Don’t overwhelm them with questions, but make sure they know you’d do anything to comfort them. Speak to the person in short, simple sentences.

7. Meds and water

Offer medicine if the person usually takes it during an attack. Get a glass of water

8. Keep them cool

Oten panic attacks are accompanied by a feeling of extreme warmth. A cold object, ideally a wet washcloth, can often help minimize this symptom and aide in reducing the severity of the attack.

9. Helpful Things To Say

“You can get through this.”
“Your fears are understandable”
“Tell me what you need now.”
“I am here for you”
“Concentrate on your breathing. Stay in the present.”
“What would you like me to do to help?”
“It’s not the place that is bothering you; it’s the thought.”

10. Distract them

When it seems like your friend’s gone through the worst part of their attack, try talking to them about inane things or watching silly videos. Try getting them to focus on a simple task such as counting breaths. They won’t be too responsive, probably, but be there to chase the bad thoughts away.

11. Give them space, but don’t go far

Nervous hovering is incredibly bad, but a gentle presence that’s ready and willing to help is good. Sit nearby and play on your phone, so the person don’t feel watched or pressured, but still know you’re there. Every few minutes ask how the person doing, but without pressing for in-depth answers.

12. Minimize external stimulation.

Turn down the music, pull off the road, walk away from the crowd, etc. Remember that a panic attack is a fight-or-flight adrenaline response, so it’s not unusual for someone to retreat into themselves during one, closing their eyes and becoming less responsive.

I know it’s tempting, but do not try to hug someone having a panic attack, and keep your questions limited to an occasional “are you Ok?” and “can I get you anything?”

13. Don’t let them feel guilty

Be careful not to patronize or scold. Leave no room for argument — you were more than happy to help them, and they were no imposition at all. The most effective method on how to help someone having a panic attack is with sympathy rather than concern. Make sure they know you care about them, and hopefully you can alleviate their post-attack depression a bit.

14. Tell them it’s going to be Ok.

calming person

Remind them what they’re feeling is temporary. Remember their fear is both real and physical, so they just need an anchor through the tumult. It’s not rational or logical, so don’t try to reason it away; just be as reassuring and confident as you can. (If you get scared, their own fear will feed on that.)

Sometimes it helps to distract the person by talking about something else. Try telling them about your day, or a funny story. Just don’t expect any interaction, and know when to zip it.

15. When the time is right, give a little push.

This is the trickiest one of all, so proceed with sensitivity and caution. However, when you feel the person is ready (ie your friend’s eyes are open and starting to interact with his/her surroundings again), try a little firm guidance. Something like, “Ok, we’re going to walk to the car now. It’s going to be fine, I promise. Let’s go.”

If your friend resists, try one more round of encouragement. If the person still resists after that, though, stop. Some attacks take a lot longer to recover from, and you can only rush things so much.

16. Help with the aftermath

Your friend’s probably going to be sluggish and tired after it’s all over, so let them rest and stay with them.

Remember to not agree to help the person avoid things or situations that cause anxiety. Read more here : How to Stop a Panic Attack in 10 Ways

By following these simple guidelines, you can:

Reduce the amount of stress in this very stressful situation.
Prevent the situation from getting worse.
Help put some control in a confusing situation.


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  • JacDani

    Thanks, I’m gonna try it once my gf having panic again..

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