Panic attack: How to help someone cope

Seeing a friend or family member have a panic attack can be scary. A panic attack is a crushing sense of worry and fear. The outward signs include sweating, shaking and shortness of breath. In someone who’s never had these symptoms, it could be a medical emergency. You may need to call 911.

If you know it’s a panic attack, you might help with these tips.

GETTING THROUGH A PANIC ATTACK

Find a quiet place to sit. This could be an empty room.

Be calm and supportive. Talk softly; let them know it will be OK.

Help them control their breathing. Have them take slow breaths.

Encourage them to seek treatment. Panic attacks can be caused by anxiety disorders or other medical conditions. Treatment can help.

Not sure how to get help for mental health? You can always start with your primary care provider.

Reviewed 5/30/2022

Sources

HelpGuide. "Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder." 
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorders.htm 

National Council for Mental Wellbeing. "How to Help Someone Who is Having a Panic Attack." https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2018/12/how-to-help-someone-who-is-having-a-panic-attack/

 

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