Anyone around you can suffer from an anxiety attack at any time. And while you may not be a professional when it comes to handling these situations, you should still know what you can do to help them feel a bit better.
Here are 6 things you can do to help someone suffering from an anxiety attack.
Sticking around: The first and most important thing to do when you see someone having an anxiety attack is to keep a close eye on them. Make sure you are there to comfort them. Whatever you do, do not let them out of your sight. Leave only if you have urgent matters to deal with and get someone else to watch over them while you are gone.
Panic attacks can make an individual feel vulnerable. On top of that, being alone in such a situation will only make matters worse for them. Hence, you have to stay put and be with them throughout the attack and even after it has passed.
Keeping calm: While dealing with someone who is having a panic attack, you need to stay calm and keep the other person calm as well. Do not start panicking, otherwise, you will lose hold of the situation. Instead, act smartly.
Keep the person grounded and help them distract themselves. Offer them some water as well (it is fine if they do not want to drink it right away, but keep it with you). You can also try holding their hands if they allow you to. Besides, you could even cover them with a weighted blanket (often referred to as an anxiety blanket) to help them keep calm.
Listening to what they have to say: When someone is suffering from a panic attack it is important to listen to them. Sometimes people want to express their deepest emotions but end up suppressing them thinking that no one cares. The same thought might cross their mind as the anxiety hits. But you have to be there with them and assure them that you are indeed listening.
Let them speak their heart out to you. Listen to everything they have to say and keep a lookout for any red flags. Some of the things they say might be the reasons behind their anxiety. So make sure not to zone out during your conversation.
Validating their distress: Stress, anxiety, and mental illness are very real. Anyone can fall victim to these situations. But by dismissing the idea that such issues are real, or saying that they exist only in our heads is a very wrong thing to do. You should never say such things to someone having an anxiety attack.
Instead, you need to try and understand their problem. Validate the situation they are going through and assure them that it is indeed real. You should also be careful regarding what you say to them in such situations. Your choice of words could very well make or break them.
Asking if they need anything: Once you have talked to them and gotten them to calm down a bit, you should ask if they need anything. They usually reply in the negative but you can still offer them some water or maybe some tea or coffee even. You could also ask if you should call someone on their behalf and tell them about the situation.
Take this opportunity to check if they are supposed to take any medication. People suffering from frequent anxiety attacks are often prescribed drugs that they need to take on a timely basis. Missing out on any one of the dosages could lead to further problems.
Calling for professional help: You did all you could to help them get through their panic attack. But you are probably not a professional in this field. Hence, they must seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Sometimes, when the situation is too difficult for you to handle, you probably have to call for help while they are still having the attack. You should also be prepared to take them to the nearest emergency room if things get out of hand. If it is something you cannot do alone, call someone to assist you.
Anxiety is something many of us have to deal with at some point in our lives. It is a very horrific experience and only those who have suffered it can vouch for it. Hence, anytime we find someone suffering from such an attack, it is our responsibility to try and help them out as much as we can.