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How to help a Family Member suffering a Panic attack
Don't make assumptions about what the person needs; ask them.
Be predictable; don't surprise them.
Let the person with the disorder set the pace for recovery.
Find something positive in every experience. If the affected person is
only able to go partway to a particular goal, such as a movie theater or
party, consider that an achievement rather than a failure.
Don't enable avoidance: negotiate with the person with panic disorder to
take one step forward when he or she wants to avoid something.
Don't sacrifice your own life and build resentments.
Don't panic when the person with the disorder panics.
Remember that it's all right to be anxious yourself; it's natural for you
to be concerned and even worried about the person with panic disorder.
Be patient and accepting, but don't settle for the person being
Say: "You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me
what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It's not the
place that's bothering you, it's the thought. I know that what you are
feeling is painful, but it's not dangerous. You are courageous. Don't say: "Relax. Calm down. Don't be
anxious. Let's see if you can do this (i.e., setting up a test for the
affected person). You can fight this. What should we do next Don't be
ridiculous. You have to stay. Don't be a coward.
When a member of a family has panic disorder, the entire family is affected by the condition. Family members may be frustrated in their attempts to help the affected member to cope with the disorder, overburdened by the taking on additional responsibilities, and socially isolated.
Family members must encourage the person with the panic disorder to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional. Also, it is often helpful for family members to attend an occasional treatment or self-help session or seek the guidance of the therapist in dealing with their feelings about the disorder.
Certain strategies, such as
encouraging the person with panic disorder to go at least partway toward a
place or situation that is feared, can be helpful. By their skilled and
caring efforts to help, family members can aid the person with panic disorder
in making a full recovery.
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The Experience of Anxiety and Panic Attacks A fast-paced modern lifestyle can be difficult for
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