1. Calm the Person
- Ask the person what you can do to help.
- Reassure the person that the attack will probably pass in a few minutes.
- Encourage the person to take slow, even breaths.
- Do not minimize the person’s symptoms.
- If they’ve had a panic attack before, ask them what helped them through it.
- If unable to calm the person, take them to see a health care provider right away.
2. Follow Up
- See a health care provider if the person has had more than one panic attack. This can lead to problems such as depression, agoraphobia (fear of open or public spaces), or substance abuse.
- The health care provider may refer the person to a mental health professional for therapy and medication.
- American Psychiatric Association: “Panic Disorder."
- American Psychological Association: “Answers to Your Questions About Panic Disorder."
- National Institute of Mental Health: “Panic Disorders: When Fear Overwhelms."
- FamilyDoctor.org: “Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia."
- Panic Attacks Information from eMedicineHealth.