Panic attack: 3 tips to help someone who's having a panic attack
Panic attacks can occur unexpectedly and have a significant impact on daily life. If you know someone who experiences frequent panic attacks, here are some tips to help them during an episode.
A panic attack is a sudden and unexpected episode of intense fear or anxiety that can lead to physical as well as emotional discomfort. One having panic attack may feel they are going to die or have a heart attack. However, one experiencing it does not realise at that time that it's not actually life threatening. Panic attacks have certain triggers and research suggests that it is your body's natural fight-or-flight response to danger. A racing heartbeat, sweating, trembling, difficulty breathing, stomach cramps, dizziness, nausea or choking sensation are the common symptoms of panic attacks. One must get to the root of their panic attack and get in touch with an expert as it can affect one's quality of life severely. (See pics: Silent symptoms of panic attack you should know)
While a person tends to lose control during a panic attack and feels that all the physical symptoms are real, their near and dear ones can help them deal with it with the help of certain tips. Nutritionist Lovneet Batra in her recent Instagram post offered useful suggestions to help someone who's having a panic attack.
"Panic attacks are sudden, intense surges of fear, panic, or anxiety. They are often extremely overwhelming, and they have physical as well as emotional symptoms. Panic attacks can occur unexpectedly and have a significant impact on your daily life. Due to the extreme nature of the symptoms, it is important to understand how to react and help when someone undergoes a panic attack, as they may feel as if they are dying during an episode. However, if a person present around them is able to help them, they might feel a little better or understood. Certain strategies and methods can help alleviate panic, ease the situation, and even stop the symptoms from getting worse. Each one of us must know how to react and offer help in such situations," says Lovneet Batra.
If you know someone who experiences panic attacks, guide them with things you can do (and avoid doing) to help them at the moment.
"Many people hesitate in helping someone facing panic attacks mostly because they don't know what to do and they fear making the situation even worse," says Batra.
She shared the three things that can be helpful in such situations:
Give them water
Water has calming effect. In fact, drinking cold water triggers parasympathetic nervous system to keep a person calm. What can also be helpful is physical contact with water. So, either, keeping a person's hand or feet in water or giving them cold water to put on the face around the neck that can help easing the anxiety.
Ask if they need to sit
Help them find a comfortable chair. Let them sit as this can have a literal grounding effect that can be healing and that can be calming for their anxiety.
Use grounding technique
A grounding technique uses all five senses in calming a person. A very common grounding technique is 5-4-3-2-1 where you can ask a person to list five things they see, four things they can touch, three things they hear, two things they can smell and one thing they can taste. This in fact helps in focussing their thoughts in those questions and helps you release anxiety