How To Help Someone Having An Anxiety Or Panic Attack

Anxiety and panic attacks are physical manifestations of an anxiety disorder. An individual can experience anxiety or panic attacks in a variety of different situations. When an individual has a panic or anxiety disorder, they have a higher chance of experiencing unprompted or irrational panic attacks. Anxiety attacks can last for longer than panic attacks, but they also tend to have milder symptoms. Someone having an anxiety attack may have an elevated heartbeat, rapid breathing, and increased feelings of stress. For the most part, panic attacks last for ten minutes at the most, but they have much sharper symptoms. An individual having a panic attack might experience pressure or squeezing on their chest, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, and intense feelings of fear.

Many individuals often wonder about what they can do to help a loved one experiencing a panic or anxiety attack but are quite unsure. While there can be some variance, here are the most common pieces of advice for situations like this.

Stay Calm And Collected


Panic attacks can seem frightening to witness. You may not be sure what to do when your friend or family member seems unable to control their fear. However, panic attacks are much scarier for the individual experiencing them. To support your loved one, the best thing you can do is to stay calm and collected. Remember the situation isn't about you. If you need to talk about it with them, you can do so later, once they've recovered from the episode. In the moment, your focus needs to be on helping them feel safe and giving them the time to calm down. During a panic attack, an individual's body is being flooded by fear signals, and they can't control their responses to things. It's scary enough to feel out of control, and if those around them also seem panicked, it will just feed into the attack. The best way to convince them there isn't anything to be afraid of is by acting like there's nothing to be afraid of. Keep your posture neutral, your voice calm, and your volume low and soothing.

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Katherine MacAulay