Panic attacks are brought
on by social situations and activities perceived to be a threat to the person.
The attack may be the person's first or
they may have had an number of attacks before, attacks may recur repeatedly and
rapidly, however; once these symptoms abate, moderate to severe anxiety may last
for many hours.
Shortness of breath with rapid
breathing (or smothering sensations).
Dizziness, unsteady feelings, or faintness.
Palpitations or accelerated heart
rate ( feeling ones own heartbeat ).
Trembling or shaking.
Nausea or abdominal distress.
Depersonalization or de-realization.
Numbness or tingling sensations (
pins and needles in the arms / legs).
Flushes (hot flashes) or chills.
Chest pain or discomfort. (
Normally this is not a heart attack, but if chest pain persists have it
checked out by a Doctor ).
Fear of dying.
Fear of going crazy or doing
Not all the above symptoms will be present.
Avoid becoming caught up in the
panic (remain calm )
Make direct eye contact, and speak
clearly and slowly.
Identify yourself if you're not
known to the person.
Give short clear instructions.
Make calming gestures.
Allow the casualty some space (
don't crowd them in )
Minimize embarrassment and avoid an audience.
Get them to sit down, if they
Sit with them at eye level
Encourage them to breathe normally.
( talk them through the breathing cycle )
Inhale, take in
long slow deep breath. ( breathe with them )
Hold breath for +1 seconds.
Exhale slowly, (
pucker your lips like you're going to kiss )
Tell them to relax
in a clam voice, just before they reach the end of exhalation.
Start a new
breathing cycle while telling them how well they are doing.
encouraging them to breathe normally.
Try these breathing exercises on yourself first ! ( sitting or lying down )
When you feel you're on top of the
situation, organize transport for the person if they want to go home or call an
ambulance to take them to hospital. Don't abandon them.
Does the person suffer bouts of
Anxiety about being in public places or
situations from which escape may be difficult (or embarrassing) or they may feel
help may not be available in the event of having an unexpected panic attack. Agoraphobic fears typically involve
characteristic clusters of situations that include: