What to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack (Tips)

What to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack

In this guide, we will discuss “what to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack” and how to cope with it.

What to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack

If you are thinking about what to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack here are some tips:

  • Do not panic, stay calm and be there for your girlfriend.
  • Stay there with her, the best thing to do is be there throughout her panic attack. 
  • Keep an understanding, encouraging and positive attitude towards the panic attack.

However, there are some things that you should try to avoid when helping your girlfriend go through a panic attack.

Remember, not every person experiences panic attacks exactly the same way but there are certain characteristics that are common among people who suffer from panic disorder.

You could learn about the condition yourself with self-help books, plenty of them on amazon.

What to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack (Tips)

When you are with someone that has an anxiety disorder, often you can find yourself (at first) not really sure about what to do or say to help your loved one, which is very frustrating.

However, if you are not entirely sure to avoid assuming and just ask your partner if they can tell you what are some things you could do to help them to manage their anxiety.

Therefore, having a healthy and long-lasting relationship with someone that has an anxiety disorder is possible but it is necessary to avoid letting comments and the influence from others affect your relationship.

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Panic attacks (Know the signs) video

There are many misconceptions and myths about the panic disorder so don’t let it influence your view about this condition and certainly about your relationship. 

However, it can be difficult and challenging to fully understand what your girlfriend is experiencing if you have never experienced a panic attack or other anxiety-related symptoms but putting an effort and a lot of patience and communication are fundamental, but being understanding and supportive doesn’t mean you have to suffocate her.

Things to Do

First, it is very important to stay calm and do not overreact or panic.

This will only make your girlfriend feel more anxious and even embarrassed by having a panic attack in the first place.

In addition, just avoid running away, stick around and assure her everything will be OK, you are not going anywhere. 

Also, avoid making comments minimizing the situation or making her feel as if it is not important because for her it is not meaningless.

Do your best by making statements that reflect you understand but it is important to remain positive and encouraging.

You could try distracting her with nice and funny moments you both have lived together. 

What to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack (Tips)

It can also be a good idea, to remind her about deep breathing.

It is useful if you help her synchronize your breathing pattern with her, so she can slowly feel better.

Use a soft and calming voice to validate what she is feeling, be willing to just listen. 

If your girlfriend seems very upset and overwhelmed after having the panic attack, if possible and pertinent, suggest the importance of getting help from a trained professional.

Things to avoid  

It is very important, as mentioned, avoiding minimizing the situation.

It may not seem rational to you but for your girlfriend, the panic feels very real.

In addition, avoid making judgemental statements such as “this is your fault” or “what you feel is not even real”. 

Therefore, being critical about the situation using statements as “Don’t worry, it is all in your head” will also have a negative effect, and she will feel misunderstood and have the feeling she can’t actually count on you.

Also, avoid making her a bunch of complicated questions in the middle of the panic attack, this will only make things worse. 

After a while, you may even help your girlfriend identify what causes her attacks but do not participate in helping them to avoid the situation since this will be detrimental and may cause even more attacks.

Having a willingness to help girlfriend does not mean fighting her battles but making sure she knows she is not alone. 

What to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack (Tips)

9 Natural remedies for anxiety and panic attacks

Here is a list of some of the most useful natural remedies when someone has anxiety and suffers from panic attacks.

  1. Chamomile: It has been suggested that the components of chamomile react almost the same way as some anti-anxiety meds.
  2. Green tea: It has been suggested that L-theanine, which is an amino acid found in green tea, can help to lower heart rate and blood pressure, making it useful for people with anxiety and panic attacks.
  3. Valerian: this herbal remedy has been used for centuries as a sedative and sleeping aid.
  4. Exercise: doctors always recommend exercise as a natural way to balance neurochemical reactions in the brain, helping to improve your mood and combat depression and long term anxiety.
  5. Lavender: studies have shown how the smell of lavender can help people reduce anxiety levels and also works as a sleeping aid. Putting some drops of lavender oil in your pillow has been suggested to help you sleep better. 
What to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack (Tips)
  1. Breathing exercises: it is no secret that when we are anxious our body gets activated as a response to a potential threat or dangerous situation. We can notice how our breathing and heart rate increase, preparing us to fight or flight. Controlling your breathing when you are anxious or having a panic attack can help you tremendously. 
  2. Going for a walk: if you are feeling anxious, going for a walk can lower your stress hormone levels and help you feel calm and relaxed.
  3. Mindfulness: meditation has been proven to help reduce anxiety levels. Mindful awareness of the present or “here and now”, helps you experience the moment rather than worrying about the future.
  4. Catastrophic thoughts: stop catastrophizing or fixating on the “worst-case scenario”. Assess how likely is for something to really happen by rationalizing your thoughts, you will notice how they all seem possible in your head but not in real life.

Why is this blog about what to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack important?

As discussed, it may not be easy to have a partner that suffers from an anxiety disorder and it can be quite challenging some times but it is not impossible to have a healthy and long-lasting relationship when you are supportive, patient and understanding. 

Additionally, avoid being judgemental or critical, this will only add more stress and debilitate your relationship and learn about the condition yourself through self-help books so you can actually know what she is talking about and what she is going through when having a panic attack (even if you can’t entirely wrap your head around it). 

Please feel free to comment in the comments section! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about what to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack

What do you do when your partner is having a panic attack?

When your partner is having a panic attack what you can do is:

– Stay with your partner and stay calm.

– If your partner takes medicine during an attack remember them.

– Ask your partner if they need something, do not make any assumptions.

– Use simple questions and sentences.

– Your behavior needs to be predictable to avoid adding more anxiety to the situation.

– Help them to breathe slowly, do it together.   

What should you not do when someone is having a panic attack?

Here are some tips of things to avoid when trying to help someone that is having a panic attack:

– Avoid telling them to calm down, this will make things worse.

– Avoid running away from them or panicking.

– Avoid making assumptions, always try to ask if there is something you can do.

– Avoid complicating the situation by throwing a bunch of questions at them, keep it simple and short.

– Try not to be judgemental or blaming them for what is happening.

What do I say to my girlfriend with anxiety?

There are a few sentences you could use and say to your girlfriend with anxiety:

– Ask her if she is OK. 

– Remind her you are always there if she needs to talk.

– Remind her the thing she is feeling, thinking or what worries here is never silly, it is important for you.

– Remind her she can take all the time she needs.

– Remind her you are there to help her in every way you can.

– Remind her what she is feeling will pass.

What to do after you have a panic attack?

What you can do after you have a panic attack is:

– Taking your time to wrap your head around it and to calm yourself down.

– Try drinking some tea or something warm to relax.

– Eat something.

– If necessary and you feel comfortable, try getting comfort from someone you trust.

– Assess the situation and change the perspective.

– Try not to blame yourself or feel guilty about what happened.

Should you touch someone having a panic attack?

Avoid physical contact and assuming it can help them calm down.

Try to be patient and supportive helping your friend to slow down their breathing and ask for their permission to touch their shoulder or back.

If they say you are allowed to touch their hand or back, it can really accelerate their calming process.

Recommended reading

  • Anxiety: Panicking about Panic: A powerful, self-help guide for those suffering from an Anxiety or Panic Disorder (Panic Attacks, Panic Attack Book)
  • Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks Fast
  • The Now Method: A Cure for Anxiety, Panic Attacks & Depression
  • Panic Attacks: The Guide to Beat the Panic Trick and Workbook About All Therapies and Social Issues. Self Development program to Cure and Improve Good Relationships. (Anxiety and Depression 2)
  • Panic Attacks: What They Are, Why They Happen and What You Can Do About Them

References 

Bakkila, B. (2018, May.) You Need to See This Woman’s Viral List of ways her Boyfriend Can Support Her During a Panic Attack. Retrieved from Health.com.

WebMD. “How to Help Someone Who’s Having a Panic Attack.”

 Rose, M. (2017, Apr.) How to Comfort Your Partner During a Panic Attack (Because Saying ‘Don’t Worry’ Doesn’t Help). Retrieved from Themighty.com. 

Star, Katharina (2019, Oct.) Tips for Dating Someone With Panic Disorder. Retrieved from Verywellmind.com.

What to do when your girlfriend is having a panic attack (Tips)

Daniela Paez

Daniela Paez is a Clinical Psychologist with an MSc. In Clinical Neuropsychology from Bangor University. She has vast experience in working with children with disabilities, adolescents and their families, in extreme conditions of poverty and vulnerability. Additionally, she owns a private practice where she provides neuropsychological evaluation for children and adults, and treatment for mood disorders, anxiety, couple therapy, among other conditions.