Panic Attack is an episode of having intense feelings of terror and fear. This episode can strike without any warning. It can occur any time, sometimes even when a person is asleep. Usually, a person who experiences a panic attack makes the mistake of thinking that he/she is having a heart attack. Because of this, there's that feeling of fear of death.
Common symptoms of panic attacks are racing or pounding heart (palpitations), weakness, fainting, dizziness, tingling or numbness of hands and fingers, sense of terror, fear of death, feeling sweaty, chills, chest pains, breathing difficulty, and feeling a loss of control.
Panic attacks don't usually last long. The duration is only for about ten minutes or so, although in some cases the attack may be longer. When the episodes happen repeatedly, a person may be diagnosed with a condition called panic disorder. A panic attack should never be taken lightly.
How To Help
If you find yourself with a person who's having this kind of attack, here are the things that you should do.
• Stay With The Person
Keep calm. It's imperative that you don't panic. If you do, this will only aggravate the person's feeling of terror and worsen his/her condition. Move the person to a quiet place and talk to him/her.
• Ask The Person To Describe What's Causing The Panic Attack
This is important to rule out the possibility of another serious medical condition like a heart attack. It's also possible that it's caused by hypoglycemia, inner-ear infections, or congenital heart defects. You don't have to enumerate all these to the person who's already in panic. This can cause for him/her to get even more scared. Also, there are times when the person doesn't really know what's causing the panic attack. In that case, just keep talking to the person.
• Find Out If The Person Is Under A Treatment
If the person is using any prescription medications for his/her panic attacks, assist the person in taking the necessary medicine. Ask if there are any behavioral modification techniques advised to him/her by the doctor and help the person do these.
• Don't Dismiss The Problem
If you tell the person, "That's nothing" or "There's nothing to worry about," this would only make him/her feel that you're not taking his/her condition seriously. But don't scare the person too much by showing too much fear yourself. Instead, assure the person that everything is going to be all right as long as he/she tries to relax to the best of his/her ability.
• Encourage Relaxation Techniques
Encourage the person to do relaxation techniques. A good example would be deep breathing exercises. It's also advisable to have him/her do another activity, something simple like walking. This helps reduce stress as it gives the person something to do and think about other things than his/her fears.