Being anxious and having anxiety are two different things. People can be anxious when they have exams the next day, or maybe when they have to meet deadlines when they don’t have time, or when they cold feet a day before marriage. But having anxiety is a mental struggle, and it can affect an individual in the most unexpected of places. It gets taxing, not only to the person who is having one but also to surrounding people.
While being anxious might not be visible, having an anxiety attack surely is. From heart palpitations and chest pain to troubled breathing or choking, anxiety attacks occur out of the blue and have severe effects on the person. If anyone around you or anyone you love has an anxiety attack, here are few things you can do:
I am writing this article because personally, I have been going through it and there have been people who have had to deal with my attacks. They usually ask me what they can do in such situations. I write this from my experience, and this is also what my psychiatrist suggests.
Do Not Panic
First thing is first because the person near you had a panic attack, you must stay strong and remain calm. If you panic, then that transfers to the individual who had it, and the person has a high tendency to think that s/he is causing trouble for everyone. That can accelerate the aftereffects. It’s better not even to ask why the person is panicking.
Take Him/Her To A Quiet Place
Most of the time, the surrounding people, and the vibe can bring forth social anxiety attacks. So, take him somewhere peaceful, even if it means to a bathroom. If s/he wants to go home, give her/him a lift, but remain with him/her.
A normal panic attack lasts 40 minutes max. You need to internalize it and also assure the person that “This shall pass too.” But don’t suggest anything like “Be calm” or “Don’t stress”. They do not work because it’s not easy to calm down and it’s not as easy to not stress during the phase.
If you know the person really well and if you know the person is taking medications for anxiety; then you can ask him/her to take it. But you have to make sure that the medicine is right.
Strike a conversation to take the distraction away from anxiety. If you know the person’s interests, then you know where to start. You can talk about some movies or series that you watched recently. You might talk of the game the other night. But be careful, if his/her team is losing, it might not be the right choice.
If you are really close with the person, give him/her a hug. It can do wonders and help the person calm down too. Having said all that, it’s better to seek professional for the person as soon as you can. Things can get worse if not cured early. But be there for the person because it can mean a lot to him/her.
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