Ask What They Need
One of the most important things you can do is to ask what the person needs. Whether it’s a stranger or a close loved one, you have to remember you’re not inside their head. You also have to remember different individuals have different needs when it comes to recovering from panic. What works for one individual might cause increased fear in another. For this reason, even if you’ve seen others have panic attacks before, you should still ask the individual what they need. Doing this also lets them know you’re listening, that you want to help, and that they have some measure of control over the situation. Some individuals might want to be hugged during a panic attack, since the weight and pressure can be grounding. However, others might be completely averse to being touched. You should never touch a person having a panic attack without getting permission first. If they’re hyperventilating or too panicked to speak, assure them you’re here for them and sit quietly with them until they’re able to communicate their needs.
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