Panic disorder is a kind of psychosomatic disorder which has distressing effects not only on the life of ones who suffer from it but also on people around them, such as, family, friends, etc. These effects can be minimized and even eliminated if you support your family member or friend who is suffering from panic disorder.
In order to support someone suffering from panic disorder in your group, you need to understand panic disorder and panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden attack of extreme anxiety, which can occur without any warning or any obvious reason. In some cases, the symptoms include an extreme fear of dying. However, these attacks, though being very severe with dangerous symptoms similar to heart attack, are not life-threatening and wear away in 5 to 20 minutes or half an hour at maximum.
If you are doubtful of whether these symptoms are really due to panic attack, or if the person also suffers from diabetes, asthma, or other diseases, you should seek immediate medical attention for them. However, if you are sure that the person who is displaying distressing symptoms similar to a heart attack is suffering from a panic attack and he or she does not have any other history of serious diseases, then immediate medical emergency attention is not required. It is better to talk to the person whether he is having a panic attack or any other medical emergency which may require immediate medical attention. When in doubt or communication is not possible, always err on the side of caution-get medical attention.
To support a person suffering from a panic disorder, try to find out cause of fear by speaking to him. Once identified, remove the source that triggered panic attack or take the person away from source of trigger. You can also ask if he is taking any medicine to cope with the attack, if he has a history of panic disorder.
Speak to the person in firm but reassuring manner. Try to calm the person. He or she may try to escape the situation, but don’t clutch at the person; just ask him or her to remain still. If they want to move around, go with them and walk slowly. Try to make them feel that you are with them and they need not worry. Don’t deny their fears by telling them that they are over reacting; just acknowledge their fear and try to assure them that they can cope with it.
Have the sufferer of panic attack breathe in and out slowly. You can also try counting their inhalations/exhalations in a reassuring manner. Don’t try to force the person to answer your questions, just try to ask about the problem in calm manner. If the attack does not subside in 15 minutes, seek medical help.
Panic disorder support is important for people around you who suffer from panic attacks. This support can help them cope with the disorder better and attempt to lead a normal life without affecting their daily routines.