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A panic attack - How to Help During and After the First Panic Attack

Posted Oct 07 2009 4:41pm

A panic attack - no matter to whom it happens or when and where - is always a dreadful experience. Not only will the life of the person who had just experienced the attack not be the same, but of all the people around as well. Knowing what to do, how to help and what not to do can make a huge difference and be very meaningful to the person whose world has suddenly changed.  

A panic attack is usually short and run its course within 20 minutes. However the fear of having another attack can develop into a serious problem.

What You Can Do

After the first attack, the person who had just experienced it will be startled and confused. Calming down the person who has just had a panic attack is a good start. Reassuring the person that she or he is safe and that you are there to support that person is paramount. Arranging a doctor appointment and accompanying the person to it will help relax that person.  

What You Should NOT do.

Being a horrifying experience to the person who had just had a panic attack, he or she may react in a way that to you, the observer, may seem as an “over reaction.” What you must remember is that you are not in that person’s body. Only that person knows how he or she feels and whatever it is that they express, allow it. To her or him it’s real and that’s all that matters.

No matter what transpires, you do not want to become a “crutch” to the person who is suffering from this condition. That will only worsen matters for them, giving them an excuse to postpone seeking treatment. Insist that he or she takes charge, but do it gently.

How Else Can You Help?

Educating yourself and helping your loved one right after having a panic attack is extremely important. Understanding that, when it comes to panic attacks, fearing the attack is the very reason another attack will, sooner or later, appear. Thus, learning NOT to fear the fear of having a panic attack is the key to getting rid of them.
By: D. More

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