Even if you have never experienced one yourself, it is no secret that panic attacks can be a terrifying experience for those going through them. As a bystander, you may want to help but are unsure of what to do. This is normal, as many individuals may be able to recognize a panic attack but be confused about how they can help. At Alta Loma Transformational Services, we hope to educate others about panic attacks and how to help someone experiencing one to facilitate further healing, understanding and lessen the stigma surrounding anxiety. Here is what to do when someone has a panic attack.

Stay By the Person

You may want to run and get help, but staying by the person will give them the best chance at calming down. Having a calm and reassuring presence can help mitigate the panic attack. While you are with them, ask if this has happened before. Provide support through statements such as, “You can do this. You’re doing such a good job. I’m proud of you.” Continue speaking in concise sentences and ask the person what they need.

Ask What They Need and Listen

It can be easy to assume you know what the person needs during a panic attack, but they know what will help their anxiety in reality. Don’t think you know what’s best for them at this moment. Instead, ask what they need and help them receive what they ask for. This may be moving away from a crowd of people or drinking water. Whatever it is, make sure you are not judgmental and continuously provide support.

Model Steady Breathing

During a panic attack, the person may breathe rapidly, which can cause more panic and distress. To help with this, try to do breathing exercises to help them slow their breathing. You can do practices such as the 4-7-8 method, which involves inhaling four counts, holding for seven counts, and exhaling for eight counts. Continue to do so until they are calm and able to breathe normally again. This will help end the attack and allow you both to take the next steps, such as seeking help, leaving the area, or taking medication.

Panic attacks can happen to anyone, even if the person doesn’t have an anxiety disorder. This is why it is essential to know how to help someone with a panic attack, as you can be the voice of reason and help them calm down. If you experience panic attacks and are unsure of how to get help, or you want to learn more about helping those with anxiety disorders call Alta Loma Transformational Services. We offer various treatment modalities that can help those struggling and their families find the healing necessary for a happy and healthy life. Call us today at (866) 457-3843.