What to Do if Someone is Having a Panic Attack

Panic attacks can be a simply terrifying experience, not only for the individual experiencing it but for those nearby who care about them and witness the event. If you or someone you know has an anxiety or panic disorder, understanding what to do if someone is having a panic attack is critical to being able to effectively and compassionately support your friend or loved one. 

We’re going to cover the signs that someone may be having a panic attack, and then what to do when someone is having a panic attack. Finally, we’ll share about an effective way to deal with recurring panic attacks in seeking professional treatment, and for those living with daily panic, effective and compassionate treatment is closer than you may realize. We’ll also talk about why Casa Recovery is the perfect place to overcome panic attacks.

Recognize The Signs Of A Panic Attack

Before learning what to do when someone is having a panic attack, it’s important to be able to recognize when someone is having one. While each individual is different and their issues unique, some of the most common ways that panic attacks manifest include:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or rocking
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Feeling detached from reality

What To Do When Someone Is Having A Panic Attack

Here are some general guidelines and tips on what to do if someone is having a panic attack near you.

Stay Calm & Supportive

When someone is in the midst of a panic attack, it’s important to remain calm and supportive. While they may be having trouble staying grounded, you can, and that will help. Your composure will help them feel safer and can increase their ability to move past the attack. Assure them that you’re there to help and that the attack will pass soon.

Encourage Slow, Deep Breaths

Someone having a panic attack is likely to be breathing rapidly, and often very shallowly as well. Help them by encouraging slow, deep breathing. These breathing exercises can help them to regulate their heartbeat, which can drastically reduce many of the symptoms of a panic attack. One popular exercise is inhaling for a 4-count, holding for a 4-count, then exhaling for a 4-count, and repeating.

Ground Them In The Moment

Another popular technique for helping mitigate a panic attack is called grounding. Grounding is helping the individual having the panic attack to feel connected to reality at the present moment. Encourage them to focus on something or someone, as well as a specific sensation, which can help distract their brain from feelings of anxiety and panic. Thinking of things that use all the senses is another good tactic, such as finding something they can see, something they can feel, something they can smell, and something they can hear.

Offer A Safe Space

If possible, help get the person to a quieter or less crowded area to minimize the sensory input. Sensory overload is a common contributing factor to panic attacks, and limiting that can help an individual feel more in control of their surroundings, and reduce their anxiety.

Encourage Them To Seek Professional Help

Once the attack has passed and they are able to relax, gently encourage them to speak with a professional about it. Working with a leading mental health center like Casa, even for a short time, can have significant benefits for those looking for mental health resources.

Casa Recovery Can Help You Overcome Panic Attacks

If you or someone you know is having panic attacks, helping them during an attack can only help so much. A key to long-term management is seeking professional help. Reach out to Casa Recovery today and speak to an experienced mental health expert.

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