When someone experiences a panic attack, it’s usually scarier for that person to go through it alone. One exception to this might be if that same individual is panicking because he or she has difficulty being around people.
If that isn’t the case and you’re with someone who is requesting assistance, there are numerous things you can do to help. These are just a few of them.
Keep Them Calm
Having a panic attack can be a very scary and confusing experience. One of the best things you can do for someone who is suffering from one of them is to help the individual stay calm. Come up with a simple activity you can do with them. This gives him or her something to focus on.
It can be something as easy as lifting your arms or counting to ten. If possible, find something that’s a bit more challenging for them to do. The sense of accomplishment they feel when they finish the task should help to make them feel more in control.
Get the Person to a Quiet Place
Getting over a panic attack is all about calming down, which can be hard to do in a noisy or chaotic location. Try to encourage the person to move to a calm and quiet place, if they are willing to do so. Consider asking if there is a certain place they’d like to relocate to and help them get there if possible. However, don’t be too forceful about it. Doing so might potentially make the situation worse.
Help Them Breathe
People who are having a panic attack tend to hyperventilate, especially if it’s the first time they are experiencing the sensation. Shallow, rapid breaths cause the amount of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream to fall. This can lead to symptoms such as headache, weakness, dizziness, or tingling in the hands and feet.
When people experience these symptoms, they often feel like they aren’t getting enough air, which causes them to hyperventilate even more. Encourage the panic attack sufferer to take slow, deep breaths by doing so yourself. Inhale slowly, count to three, then exhale slowly and repeat. Chances are good that this will have a positive effect.
Stay with the Individual
When someone is having a panic attack, they may feel like they want to be alone. But, the best thing that you can do for them is to stay with them and keep them calm. Remind them that you are there to help them. They may say things to you that are rude or aggressive, but try to keep in mind that they’re very upset and don’t mean everything that they say.
Take Care of Yourself
If the person you’re trying to calm down sees that you start to panic, it can make things even worse. It’s perfectly normal to feel stressed out or have an elevated concern for your friend during this situation. But, you need to make sure that you stay calm and in control. Quite honestly, it’s the best way to help.
Of course, these aren’t the only methods to help someone who is having a panic attack. Everyone responds to different things. If the first thing doesn’t work, try something else. The most important thing to do is to try.