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What is panic attack, its symptoms and how can you help a person suffering from it

India TV got in touch with a psychiatrist to know more about panic attacks and what should the patient and people around him should do to help. Here are symptoms, diagnoses and breathing exercises that can help a person suffering from a panic attack.

Vaishali Jain Written by: Vaishali Jain
New Delhi Updated on: January 20, 2022 14:18 IST
Representative image
Image Source : FREEPIK

Representative image

Highlights

  • What is panic attack and its symptoms
  • What to do if you suffer a panic attack?
  • How can you help if someone suffers a panic attack?

Normally panic attacks as opposed to popular belief are not just anxiety bouts. It has a very specific diagnosis and symptoms. Just having hyperventilation or having palpitations does not count to be a panic attack. India TV got in touch with Dr Pallavi Arvind Joshi, Consultant - Psychiatrist, Manipal Hospital, Varthur Road, Bengaluru to know more about panic attacks and what should the patient and people around him should do to help. 

Symptoms of a panic attack

  • palpitations 
  • hyperventilation, 
  • chest pain, 
  • dizziness,
  • feeling of impending doom of death. the person will feel I cannot escape out of the situation. 

What to do if you suffer a panic attack?

Dr Pallavi says the most normal thing to do during a panic attack is to wait because it comes and goes off. "It will reach the peak and will fall down. Most of the panic attacks respond within one hour 30 minutes to an hour," she said. 

How can you help if someone suffers a panic attack?

While the person suffering a panic attack is already tense, the ones near him should maintain their composure and give the person the required space. Here's what they should do in order to help the patient:

  • Try and calm the person down: Assure them that this is not going to cause any serious damage. 
  • Breathing exercises: They can be done together. Don't ask the patient to do it alone, but perform it with them. Breath in from the left nostril and breath out from the left. Explain this to the patient slowly. It calms the person down.
  • Square breathing: Count 1234 and breath in. Again count 1234 and hold your breath. Count 1-4 and breathe out and for the next counting don't do anything. This also helps to calm down a sit lowers the heart and breathing rate.
  • Ventilation: Because most panic attacks happen in closed spaces, if possible, open the window. If it is not possible, take the patient outdoors in the fresh air. It is very helpful. 
  • Hydration: Hydration has to be maintained. So a glass full of water can also help the patient in calming down.

These exercises and steps help in calming down an anxious mind and person. If we can manage to relax the body, mind can take care of itself.