What To Say To Someone During A Panic Attack

What To Say To Someone During A Panic Attack – When someone you love is having a panic attack, it can be difficult to know how to help. By acting with understanding and compassion, you can make a real difference.

Whether it’s a friend, relative, or spouse, you probably know someone who has or will have a panic attack. If you’re around when it happens, it’s natural to want to do what you can to understand and support them.

What To Say To Someone During A Panic Attack

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people develop an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Statistics show that women

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If your loved one is panicking, there are some ways you can help. With some research-based strategies, you’ll be better equipped to support.

Gently mention this and tell your loved one that you believe they are panicking. It provides context for what is happening and eases the fear of the unknown.

You can let them know that this will pass. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety attacks can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, but the worst symptoms usually subside within 10 minutes.

If your loved one has panic attacks for the first time, it is recommended to see a doctor to rule out other causes of their symptoms.

How To Help Someone Who’s Having A Panic Attack

Everyone experiences anxiety in different ways. It’s important to note that what works for one person may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to try different methods.

One of the best ways to help someone is to stay calm, even if you’re a little nervous about what’s going on.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is temporary. If the situation becomes difficult for you, ask someone else for help.

Your loved one may need space during a panic attack. Panic hyperarousal—when your brain’s limbic system is “on alert”—can mean that simple elements in your environment, such as touch, music, bright lights, or other sounds, become hyperstimulated.

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After reminding them that they can manage their symptoms, you can give your loved one space until the panic attack passes. They may ask you to stay. If so, reinforce their ability to experience their symptoms on their own by saying a rescue word or two and allowing them to deal with the symptoms until they pass.

If you both have plans, you can offer to go through them after the panic attack is over to help your friend see that she can get through the day despite the panic attack.

When someone is having a panic attack, we want to show compassion, but we don’t want to reinforce the idea that panic is dangerous, harmful, or should be minimized, minimized, or avoided.

Therefore, it helps to remind your loved ones that they can handle what’s going on for themselves, rather than trying to convince them and worry about them. This, in turn, empowers them to deal with the situation.

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Although panic attacks can last forever, remember that they usually peak after 10 minutes. The body cannot be tense for longer than that.

What do you do if you get a text from someone saying “I think I’m having a panic attack” while you’re on the road?

One of the best things you can do is to offer words of encouragement that will strengthen their ability to cope. Try some of these supporting sentences:

Whether it’s in person or via text, try not to make too much of their signs. Your role may be to help them stop thinking that a panic attack is dangerous or unbearable, and remind them that they can overcome the experience. If they need more help later, you can offer to help them reconnect.

What Panic Attacks Feel Like According To People Who’ve Had Them

Although panic attacks can make us feel that something is wrong, they are simply false signals—a misunderstanding of the body’s fight, flight, or freeze response. The sympathetic nervous system responds to perceived threat by controlling physical processes such as heart rate and breathing rate. Panic attacks are a simple example of the flight or fight response taken out of context.

If your loved one has an anxiety disorder—they experience unexpected, recurring panic attacks and avoid the behaviors or situations that trigger them—the best thing you can do is to get the most out of the panic attacks and not perpetuate the cycle of anxiety. .

It is also helpful to avoid reinforcing the avoidance behavior that can occur by being close to them or being overconfident. Doing so may inadvertently reinforce the feeling that something must be wrong.

A great way to help your friend with panic disorder is to support them as they connect with a therapist who is in exposure therapy. You can encourage them as they gradually expose themselves to increasingly difficult situations that can trigger panic attacks – with the guidance of a trained therapist. In this controlled environment, they practice avoiding or resisting safety behaviors.

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While it’s tempting to help your loved one avoid feelings of panic by distracting them from bodily sensations or distancing themselves from the situation, these are considered “safety behaviors.” While safety behaviors may help reduce anxiety in the moment, they can also exacerbate the cycle of panic that exists in panic disorder.

Safe behaviors and distractions can prevent people from knowing that panic attacks, while unpleasant, are not actually harmful or dangerous.

Your loved one may struggle with panic attacks without doing anything, and it’s important for them to know that panic attacks will go away on their own without harming them.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)—the main treatment for anxiety disorders—teaches you strategies to reduce your anxiety and avoid panic attacks. The idea is not to prevent them, but to sit with them until they inevitably pass. And often, over time, you will experience fewer panic attacks because you are less afraid of them.

Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety And Panic Attacks

The most effective way to deal with a panic attack is to banish it instead of resisting or avoiding it. While avoiding a panic attack may relieve anxiety in the short term, it perpetuates the cycle of panic in the long term because you reinforce the belief that panic is dangerous, harmful, or something that should be avoided at all costs.

The idea is to just let the symptoms be, which helps you see panic attacks as a manageable experience rather than something to be avoided.

Do not try to repeatedly ask someone if they are okay, as this can reinforce the idea that panic is dangerous or harmful. Also, don’t use phrases that invalidate their experience, such as:

Don’t suggest content. It may be tempting to give something to your loved one, but it can make the panic attack worse. Certain strains of cannabis, such as sativa, can increase anxiety and cause paranoia. Alcohol alters serotonin levels in the brain, making anxiety worse.

How To Calm Down After A Panic Attack

If your loved one wants medication to help with future panic attacks or anxiety disorders, recommend a visit to a primary care physician or psychiatrist. A doctor may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or benzodiazepines for occasional use.

An anxiety attack usually disappears within a few minutes. If it doesn’t, it could mean a more serious medical event like a heart attack is happening. Remember to be calm when assessing the situation.

Some of the symptoms of a panic attack are similar to those of a heart attack. You can read the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack here.

Supporting someone during a panic attack can be stressful—not only for them, but for you as well.

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After the panic attack has stopped and your friend is calmer, it’s important to take some time for self-care.

Take it easy for a few hours or the rest of the day. Take time to recharge by doing yoga, taking a hot bath, journaling, or doing something else that relaxes you.

If caring for someone is interfering with your quality of life, talk to a therapist about what you’re going through. Check ADAA’s Find a Therapist Directory to find a local doctor or teletherapist who may work for you.

Remember, we can only love others as we love ourselves. You cannot give even from an empty cup. Take care of your energy first, and then the rest can flow to those you love. We use cookies to make it great. By using our site, you agree to our cookie policy. Cookie settings

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This article was written by Alexandra Janelli and staff writer Nihal Shetty. Alexandra Janelli is a licensed hypnotherapist, anxiety and stress management coach, and owner and founder of Modrn Sanctuary.

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