How to Support a Loved One Through a Panic Attack

Do you have a friend or family member who regularly experiences panic attacks? If so, you may be looking for ways to recognize when these attacks are taking place and offer your support. We’ve got the answers you need below.

How to Recognize a Panic Attack

Even if you’ve experienced panic attacks yourself, it can be difficult to tell when someone around you is having one. Your loved one may be experiencing a panic attack if:

  • They’re flushed, sweating, or otherwise appear to be hot (for example, they might have taken off an outer layer of clothing).
  • They’re shivering or shaking.
  • They’re hyperventilating or having trouble breathing.
  • They suddenly went quiet.

How to Help Someone During a Panic Attack

If you think that a friend or family member might be having a panic attack, it’s important to stay calm and treat them gently. You may want to:

  • Reassure them that they’re safe, the panic attack will be over soon, and you’ll stay with them in the meantime.
  • Guide them through breathing exercises.
  • Take them outside or open a window so they can get some fresh air.
  • Take them to a more private place.
  • Bring them a glass of water.

If your loved one frequently has panic attacks, you may want to ask them when they’re feeling calmer about how they’d like to be supported in the future.

Get Help With Your Loved One’s Panic Attacks

If you have a friend or family member who regularly experiences panic attacks, we encourage you to meet with one of the knowledgeable therapists at our practice. We have extensive experience treating panic attacks, and we can supply you with tools and tips for how to support your loved one. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


5 Ways to Stop Panic Attacks

If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you know firsthand the name is apropos. Within seconds you can go from feeling quite well and “ordinary” to experiencing absolute dread and fear. And often with no obvious trigger. It’s a horrible way to live.

But you don’t have to live feeling like a helpless victim of these attacks. Here are some powerful ways you can stop panic attacks in their tracks:

1. Recognize What’s Happening

If, in the moment, you can recognize that you are having a panic attack and not a heart attack, you can begin to instantly calm yourself at the realization this is temporary. It will pass and you will be okay. And once you gain a little bit of calm, you can employ further techniques.

2. Deep Breathing

Hyperventilating is a common symptoms of a panic attack. Breathing in an erratic pattern tends to make the attack intensify.

Conversely, deep breathing can reduce the symptoms of a panic attack and bring you back to a state of calm. Breathing slowly and deeply signals to the rest of your body that the “threat” is gone and you can get out of “fight or flight” mode.

3. Close Your Eyes

Some people can become triggered by things in their environment. If this happens to you and you find yourself in a fast-paced environment with too much stimuli becoming overwhelmed, close your eyes while taking some deep, slow, full breaths.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Panic attacks tend to cause a feeling of detachment or separation from reality. Mindfulness meditation is powerful because it can help you stay fully present in the here and now. In addition, the practice of meditation has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety.

5. Get Help

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other mental health treatments have been shown to help people suffering with panic attacks. CBT sessions can happen in private, in groups, and even online.

If you are interested in exploring treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’m here to help and answer any questions you may have.