How to Help Someone With Panic Attacks

March 10, 2023

Anyone of any age can have panic attacks. It involves a brief but intense rush of fear. A person may experience overwhelming emotions during a panic attack. Often, it is triggered by heightened stress. But some people may experience it without any triggers.

The diagnosis and treatment of panic attacks should be carried out by a professional using the DSM-5 guidelines. Several mental health solutions providers are actively working for mental health care. It is painful to see some you love experience panic attacks. Fortunately, you do a few things to help them with their condition.


Remain Calm

It can be frightening and distressing to watch someone having a panic attack. During the attack, it becomes harder for a person to communicate. Also, their ability to think and behave logically is affected because of the sudden fight-or-flight stress response. The duration of a typical panic attack is 5-20 minutes. However, this duration may prolong in some cases. In such a scenario, you should remain calm and not let the situation overrun you.

When you maintain a calm composure, your behavior can assure the victim that everything is OK. Emotional threats are as real as life and death threats to the body. This is why it is important to take seriously the fears of the person in front of us. If your fears about him aren't rooted in reality and are reactions from the past, providing some specific current reality checks can help.

Recognize the Signs

Panic attacks make individuals feel like they are losing control of themselves. The symptoms are similar to those experienced when a person faces danger to threats. This includes sweating, difficulty breathing, shivering, pounding heart, and chest pain. It is important for you to identify what triggered the attack considering that it might also be a sign of a heart attack or an asthma attack.

Talk to the person who is unwell to determine whether they are having a panic attack or another type of medical emergency (such as a heart attack or asthma) that requires specific immediate medical attention. If it's not a first panic attack, the person may be able to provide clues as to what's happening. Panic attacks may also be triggered by a substance-induced anxiety disorder. If this is actually the case, the person should be referred to institutes for drug rehab in Jacksonville, FL.

Provide Validation

People with panic disorder often fear going outside or avoiding the circumstance, which may trigger a panic attack. They also find it difficult to talk about their mental health issues because of the fear of being judged. Outsiders may even consider panic attacks illogical since they don’t understand the fear caused by panic attacks. Many attacks have no clear cause, or at least the panicked person is not consciously aware of what it is. If the person doesn't know the cause, we can only acknowledge it without insisting and risking creating further pressure.

In such a case, you should be empathic and offer your help. Don’t force the person into the conversation, as it can make the situation more stressful. Remind them to keep breathing and ask what you can do for them. This will help them feel safe and calm. Saying things like "there's nothing to worry about," "it's all in your mind," or "you're overreacting" will only aggravate the problem. While it seems clear to us that there is no real reason to be afraid, it is very real for the individual.

Encourage Them to Seek Help

If the person is in their own home, suggest they keep busy with demanding tasks (e.g., organizing the closet or cleaning). The whole body of the person having a panic attack is "ready" to fight or run away. It may therefore prove useful to direct energy towards physical objects and constructive and well-defined tasks. This can help you deal with the physiological effects. A sense of gratification can actually change your mood, while having a different activity to focus on can help you overcome anxiety.

Once they gather enough energy to have a conversation, help them find a licensed mental health professional. Recommend them some self-help books and search for reputable online resources that can offer them support. Research treatments like Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Therapy and guide them about these options.

Take Care of Yourself

It can be challenging to support someone who has panic attacks too frequently. At times, you, too, end up feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, taking care of your own mental health is also important. Talk to others about how you’re feeling and set boundaries.


Panic attacks are characterized by fear of catastrophe or losing control, even when there is no real danger. These attacks can occur without warning and for no apparent reason. While panic attacks are distressing and can last anywhere from five minutes to several hours, they are not life-threatening. When in doubt, it is always best to seek medical attention immediately.


I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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