Just thought I would put this here …
Panic attacks are horrible and can come and go at any given time.
When a person is having a panic attack they may not be able to think clearly. Their thoughts are racing, as is their heart. It is important that you realize the person may not be able to express exactly what is happening.
What is a panic attack?
According to Google
“a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety.”
What are the symptoms of a panic attack?
According to adaa.org
- Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- Feelings of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
- Chills or heat sensations
- Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
- Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
- Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
- Fear of dying
How to help
The following is a simple list of do’s, and do not’s. Know that every person and every situation are completely different. These are just a few suggestions that may help you, to better help them.
- Remain calm. If you get worked up you will only make things worse.
- Reassure them. You need to reassure the person that you are there for them and are willing to help. Keep in mind they may not be able to tell you what they need.
- Remove. Ask to remove what is causing the panic or remove the person from the situation. See if they would like to sit or lay down.
- Ask. You may or may not get an answer but you can ask if the person needs anything. The person may want to be held or left alone, ask them before assuming.
- Understand. You need to understand that at this very moment the person is terrified. They feel and may believe that they are about to die.
- Talk. Sometimes talking can help the person to shift focus.
- Grounding. Help the person become grounded again. There are different ways to do this. You could try 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Another grounding idea is to have the person describe an object. Example: This is a bottle of water, it is clear, it has a blue label, it contains water, it is firm, etc.
- Do not panic. You will make things worse.
- Do not get upset. You will make them more upset.
- Do not get angry. You will cause them to feel even lower.
- Do not be pushy. Take your time helping, everything is already moving way too fast for them.
- Do not call emergency services unless they ask you to.
- Do not draw attention to the situation, especially if in public.
- Do not touch them without asking. You may frighten them or they may lash out.
- Do not tell them nothing is wrong.
As I mentioned this is just a simple list of some common things. Everyone is different. Every situations is different. Treat the person with love and respect. Go easy and be there to help them find their way back down to being calm again.