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Looking for advice - Panic Attacks. ....

Jun 17, 2015 11:56 PM

A couple of my friends get really bad panic attacks, and I'm hoping for some suggestions.
Today was scary because I thought she was going into shock, like her body was trying to just so breathing and die.
What do you do when someone has a panic attack?
My dad and I were just trying to keep her breathing, and she doesn't remember it at all.
I wanted to do something, but food or meds weren't an option.
She was breathing super fast, and if it had gone on a minute longer we would have gone to the ER.

Jun 18, 2015 12:03 AM

I think what happened before she was completely hyperventilating should be looked at. I, sure there are triggers--situations, smells, people, etc...

Also, as seemingly sudden as these things are, they usually are not. When there are sign s of an approaching panic attack--those signs can be addressed before it gets worse.

If you or your friend notices a panic attack is about to happen, there are things that can "ground" her...

Something you could do at this point would be to take her hands, stand in front of her, speak to her calmly, etc..

Also sitting down and putting your head between your knees....

(Bad English day)...

Jun 18, 2015 7:47 AM

Very controlled breathing.

Jun 18, 2015 7:53 AM

Almost like yoga breathing something like counting to 4 very slow inhaling then 4 on exhale too. Total each breath lasts to an 8 second count. It take focus but works. You should be able to find some more tips look up biofeedback.

Jun 18, 2015 8:12 AM

Remain calm for her and yourself. StarryNight is on point with triggers. I have anxiety attacks, which some say are the same as panic attacks. I've had them since 1988-89 so I've learned to work on identifying triggers, and stay calm when they happen. I even got some professional psych counseling to do so.

Some things that trigger my anxiety are large crowds, loud noises, unfamiliar places where I feel lost (I got lost as a small child in a store), stress, attitudes like arguing, and new on the list is misbehaving children in public places and the does nothing. As you can see my triggers have to do with my surroundings.

Some early symptoms I get are an increase in my breathing, my pulse, pounding heart I sometimes feel in my throat, a tightening in my throat and/or avoid the top of my head.

Try and think back to what was going on, talked about, where you were when this happened. Your friend should be seen by a doctor so that they can help her figure these things out and provide meds to help her, so that it doesn't develop into something worse. At my worst, I developed a psych condition where I did not want to leave my house and go anywhere public. I didn't want to be around large crowds. There's a name for it but I can't remember. I also have claustrophobia that can trigger my attacks.

Good luck & God bless you helping your friend with these attacks in the future! ๐Ÿ™๐ŸŒผ

Jun 18, 2015 10:16 AM

I also suffer from panic attacks. I also agree with what Starrynight said about the triggers and also agree with the deep breathing.. It helps. Please have her get to a doctor and a good therapist to talk to. A word of advice.. Please just be there for your friend and try your best to talk to and understand what she is going through and never say its all in your head..and just try your best to understand her needs. Also caffeine is a big trigger of panic attacks along with what ever the trigger's are. Along with deep breathing sometimes calming music helps. Hope this helps!

Flappyslady..... The word your looking for is agoraphobia... My aunt has panic disorder with agoraphobia.

Jun 18, 2015 10:39 AM

Thanks moparmom! I was told to go caffeine free due to mine. I use to have subliminal music cassettes, but of course they no longer work. But soothing music of any kind helps me.

I even avoid stressful drama shows, or scary ones now. The older I've gotten the less I can take being frightened. Lol ๐Ÿ™๐ŸŒผ

Jun 18, 2015 10:54 AM

The reason I said triggers and not deep breathing is that although a physiological response can be redirected (using deep breathing to slow rapid heart rate/rapid breathing), once that Avalanche starts, it's hard to do this kind of redirecting. Spending time everyday doing deep breathing/yoga whatever/mindfulness exercises--whatever a person finds helpful and useful--can help to recondition the body's response.

The world can be chaotic and unpredictable... It just is. I tell my nephew that he needs to be flexible--he is not flexible at all... But he's also too young to know what the heck it means...so I am also telling myself...both of my parents are rigid control freaks--and my father might be considered to have some OCD. It took me a long time to realize that the world is not going to explode and I'm not going to die if things aren't exactly what someone else (or me) determines to be perfect...Being young means that there just isn't time to have had the experiences a to give a person the confidence that s/he is okay in the world.

Jun 18, 2015 5:29 PM

Thanks for the advice,
the only thing that managed to finally get a response was her favorite books, and luckily some triggers should be passing, at least for awhile.

Jun 18, 2015 9:00 PM

I find that breathing deeply and then putting something on my tv helps me. But most of the time I need to take a Xanax when it happens. They have landed me in the hospital several times where I really thought I was going to die. First, it felt like my blood sugar bottomed out and then breathing and chest pains. I would get to the E.R and it would pass in an hour to an hour and a half and I would feel like such a fool. I would think my family thought I was a hypochondriac or something. But I had no control over what was happening and I was not conscious of my triggers for years. I know now that crowds, being outside my home, Small spaces, angry people, things like that set it off. I have a lot of social anxieties when I use to not have any before my accident. I would like to get over this and become more social. So for me breathing and my favorite distraction. I have a few.

Jun 19, 2015 11:33 AM

The best thing you can do if someone is having a panic attack is to be calm. Keep them calm. Talk to them reassuringly and let them know it's going to be ok. I've had them where I've hyperventilated and passed out. Don't panic then either because when that happens your body will automatically relax and will begin to breathe normally again and come to quickly. When it's over, don't press them to remember if they don't. That will just add stress. Hope this was helpful๐Ÿ’•

Jun 19, 2015 3:28 PM

I've always found the most useful thing is to 1) acknowledge it as a panic attack, and 2) realize that a panic attack just means your brain is going haywire for a few minutes but will stop eventually. Reading up on the physiology and logic-ing through it really helps take some of the powerful feelings out of it for next time. Until then, I usually just remind people that their bodies can't sustain that level of panic for too long. Focusing too much on my breathing drives me batty, so I usually focus on other super simple physical things - putting on a favorite pair socks, holding a hand, walking around the house, and then popping in a movie or something and waiting it out.

Jun 19, 2015 3:51 PM

I agree with Alwayz on this one. I never, ever used to have panic attacks as severe as I have had in the past 6 months then I had before the accident. I actually have found out what my triggers are and for me it's strange, but male doctors always sets it off. It used to not be a big deal but because of the PTSD due to issues in the past, it really has become a big deal for me. I find that no amount of redirection will get it to stop except for me to quietly turn on my iPad and plug my headphones in and listen to music. But that's just me.

Jun 19, 2015 4:43 PM

I found breathing into a paper bag helped control my breathing. My doctor sent me to relaxation classes where they played soothing music. I found that I missed most of the class because I fell asleep. I remember panicking in a busy supermarket. Trolleys appeared to be coming at me from every direction. When I was in tears friends would ignore me as they didn't know how to respond. The brief touch of a hand on my shoulder would have meant so much.

Jun 19, 2015 8:25 PM

I'm realizing one thing is she's pretty dehydrated.

Jun 19, 2015 8:40 PM

I have had a hard time staying calm, but now I'm reacting when she first starts acting off.
It seems like she has a separate memory when she's barely able to move, she'll remember what my dad and I talked with her about during her other panic moments.
I've found that getting her to look in my eyes helps a lot, especially if she can only repeat what I say to her.
I keep trying to bring her back with memories, and sometimes it works, other times she starts hyperventilating.
Her muscles were also super tense, kava helped her be able to sit up and stop clenching.
She has had some family stress lately, and is tough because she has dual citizenship, and the other country is pissed at her.
She never remembers the panic attacks, but I'm beginning to understand the signs, she always repeats "hi," then stops moving.
I'm just hoping things get better over time, but I'll just have to wait and see.

Jun 20, 2015 7:27 PM

I get panic attacks too and everyone is different but here is a general guide.

1) Remove them from the situation that caused the anxiety and panic attack

2) Get them to sit or lay down

3) Offer them water and get them to slow their breathing through breathing exercises. If it helps them, do them yourself as an example. (A breathing exercise I know is taking a deep breath an then counting to 3 then another and to 5 etc. going up in 2 until you reach 11, then go back down to 3. Another is to breath in deeply, count to 5, then exhale and continue etc.)

4) When the panic attack is over talk to them about it and let them relax

People experience panic attacks differently. Many feel like they're dying, I do too and yes it's awful but at least were not actually dying. I get oxygen saturation trouble during my attacks but it eventually comes back up. If you have any more questions ask away

Jun 20, 2015 8:46 PM

My daughter has panic atta cks there are signs that you can helpstop before it snowballs if it snowballs you can forget it there is no stopping it . It has to run it's coarse. Ask her to tell you what to look for. Try to get her to doing breathing exercises.

Jun 25, 2015 12:42 PM

I forgot to put that in weezie, good point. There are signs you can look out for which she can tell you of. When I think I'm going to have a panic attack (for instance), I remove myself from the situation if I can. If I can't then when it's about to happen I leave and then collapse outside. You can email me about it or PM/DM me about it on another app (until the feature comes here) and I can explain a lot more

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