Panic Attack – How to help a friend
If you have ever suffered from a panic attack, you know how exhausting it may be.
But if you have not experienced it (and even if you have), and you’ve seen someone else get such an attack, you’ve probably felt confused and lost.
As a side observer, your first instinct is probably to remind the person having a panic attack simply to relax.
But this is really impossible when your friend or loved one has unintentionally experienced such a sudden and extreme rush of anxiety for no apparent reason, along with physical symptoms such as blurred vision, sweating, palpitations and dizziness.
In other words, even if you recognize the symptoms of a friend’s crisis, and even if you know he will be fine (it’s good to know: panic attacks do not have any long-term physical effects), that does not mean anything in such a situation.
Let’s start with the things you need to avoid.
1. Don’t neglect the situation
Sometimes people think that it’s a good idea to be harsher with the panicing person and tell him that what he’s experiencing is nonsence or even worse – that he’s dramatizing.
This is a completely wrong aproach which can make the panicing person even more upset.
2. Don’t panic yourself
The other bad alternative is to be so worried that eventually you start looking afraid and panicing.
If that happens you will enchance your friends anxiety by making him feel that there might something really wrong if other people are panicing too.
3. Don’t ask them what is wrong
Do not ask: “What’s going on?” Actually, do not ask for any open questions that require more than one answer yes / no.
The more you ask, the more you raise the anxiety for both of you.
Think about it: If you are in crisis and have difficulty overcoming it, you probably will not respond well if you need to explain yourself.
You may be trying to find out what is happening to try to help. The questions are uncertain and when there is uncertainty we just feel even worse.
The most important is to be in a balanced position – not neglecting the situation, but also not looking afraid of it.
So what do you need to do?
Here are our 4 things that you can do to help, if your friend, loved one or sibling is having a panic attack:
1. Ask them to point 3 objects
Instead of questions, you can ask your friend if he/she can name three objects or three sounds around them.
This tactic will distract them from the attack of panic while giving them time to calm down.
Changing the focus from the symptoms of panic and focusing on other things allows your body to realize that you are clearly conscious, and if you were really in danger, you would be able to focus only on the danger.
This method may not immediately stop the panic, but it can help the symptoms to slowly disappear.
2. Speak to them
Instead of asking open questions, try to calmly talk to them by reassuring them that they are not in danger.
“I am with you.” “We know what that is. It’s a false alarm. ” “Your body is preparing for battle, but there is no such thing.”
All these things, spoken with care and love can help them focus on the protective things around them and soothe the symptoms.
3. Help them with breathing exercises.
If you are in a panic attack, you may have shortness of breath and palpitations.
You may also find it difficult to remember to keep your breath.
In this case, breathing exercises will help: Take deep breaths through the nose and mouth out for three to five minutes. Try to inhale for five seconds and then exhale for five again, but it is normal if you can’t get to five in the first place.
Just like naming three objects, breathing exercises will help your friend do something different than thinking of the panic attack or what triggers their anxiety.
4. Use EFT
This is a simple technique which you can apply emediately on your own and the results can be quite fast. I’m speaking from personal experience.
The main idea of EFT (also called tapping) is to tap on certain accupuncture points on the body, while speaking about the things which are bothering you.
The tapping technique allows the person to release the stress and balance the energy flow.
You can tap on your friend or tell him how to do it alone.
You can learn more about it in this article What is Emotional Freedom Technique?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marina Stoichkova is an experienced astrologer and life coach. She has a Masters degree in Biochemistry and Healthcare management. Her mission is to raise your awareness of the core reasons for your health and life challenges and help you resolve them! Learn more HERE