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How to help someone having a panic attack

Your timely action can help a person having a panic attack.

Written by Bhakti Paun Sharma |Published : November 3, 2015 5:40 PM IST

Have you felt or seen someone feeling intensely scared or anxious and being restless? It could be a panic attack. Since shortness of breath is one of the symptoms, it is often confused with asthma attack. Panic attacks have different triggers like confined spaces, height or crowded places. Depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia are also some causes of panic attack. Symptoms include sweating, trembling, chest pain and palpitations. A panic or anxiety attack can last between 5-30 minutes or even more in rare cases. Read about anxiety symptoms and how to deal with them.

So what do you do when you are with a person having a panic attack? Bring the person out in a well-ventilated place and ask him/her to calm down, suggests Dr Ratan Kumar Vaish, Senior Consultant Physician and Director, Astha Multispecialty Clinic.

Follow these steps

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  • It is important to get rid of the trigger or move the person away from the trigger that has caused the panic.
  • Reassure the patient that everything is okay and ask them to remain calm. You will have to keep repeating these words and comforting them. Once the person feels comfortable mentally, physical symptoms will mellow down.
  • Ask the patient to take deep breaths by inhaling from the nose holding it for a moment and breathing out from the mouth. You can demonstrate it or breathe along so the patient follows you.
  • If the situation is still out of control, rush the patient to the nearest health care centre.
  • If the patient has a history of frequent panic attacks, it can be a disorder. In such a case, immediately take the patient to the doctor and provide first aid enroute. A panic attack could be something dangerous. Don t take it lightly.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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