Helping during a panic attack

help books (cropped)
11-05-2015

People often forget that anxiety is a natural and normal feeling. It is needed to keep us safe, as we may find ourselves in a flight or fight situation. But sometimes these feelings of anxiety can become overwhelming and they can be experienced as a panic attack.  

Panic attacks are scary. People who don’t know what they are may think it is something more serious such as an asthma or heart attack. Should you find yourself in the situation with someone who is experiencing an attack, try not to panic too. There are some steps you can take to try and help while the attack runs its course.

If possible, try to establish that there is no other underlying health problem

Stay calm and speak in a controlled manner

Ask the affected person to breathe in and out slowly for a few seconds 

Count the seconds of inhales and exhales aloud and clearly - you may have to repeat this several times

Reassure the person that the attack will pass and that they will be able to breathe normally again

When the attack has passed the person affected should contact their GP as soon as they can. Their GP can decide if any further medical assessments are required.

  • If you wish to speak to a member of the LionHeart support team, call 0845 6039057. Counselling can help you to cope better with some of these feelings - click here to find out more about LionHeart counselling.

AnnMarie is a LionHeart counsellor based in Scotland and has been with the charity for eight years.

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