Who to call when having a panic attack (Top tips)

Who to call when having a panic attack

In this guide, we will discuss “who to call when having a panic attack” and how to cope with it.

Who to call when having a panic attack?

Who to call when having a panic attack can be a difficult question to answer if we are not sure where to start looking or what to do.  When you are experiencing a panic attack it can be helpful to speak with someone who understands what it means to go through an attack. 

If you are concerned about yourself or someone you love, then the following information can be very useful. There are plenty of charities and organizations dedicated to helping people with mental health problems, knowing that they exist and are there to help whenever you need.

Who to call when having a panic attack (Top tips)

Panic attacks can happen without notice, anywhere at any time so panic hotlines are a very good option for people struggling with anxiety disorders or panic attacks, especially when you are feeling anxious, scared and alone. However, some people are too overwhelmed by anxiety that it tends to control and impair significantly their lives

Therefore, it can push many people to isolate themselves and avoid experiencing life to the fullest because they live in constant fear of having a new panic attack. However, as with many mental illnesses, anxiety disorders are treatable and you can learn to manage it effectively and even prevent them. 

What is a panic attack?

According to lifeline.org.au, “A panic attack is a sudden and intense feeling of terror without the presence of danger. Panic attacks are usually brief and frightening while they last. Sometimes there is a specific trigger, while at other times they seem to come “out of the blue“. While panic sensations are a natural response to danger, panic attacks are usually out of proportion to any actual danger you might be facing.”

What are the symptoms of panic attacks?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress, and everyone has experienced it before a big presentation or a social event. This is one of the reasons why anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness worldwide.  

Even if you have experienced your first panic attack recently or if you have a long history of panic attacks, the experience can still be very frightening and distressing. For many people, it almost feels like dying from a heart attack. According to mentalhelp.com, you might experience symptoms that may include: 

  • Intense fear.
  • Dizziness.
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, choking or smothering feeling.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast heart rate/pounding heart.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Feeling of impending doom.

Replaying the episodes in your head or remembering how awful it was, might lead you to start avoiding certain places or activities where you have experienced the attacks. However, panic attacks are often accompanied by other mental health issues such as depression, post-traumatic disorder, and substance abuse due to self-medication. 

Some people may even describe having a panic attack like:

  • Dying
  • Going crazy
  • Unreality/detachment from yourself/surroundings
  • Being out of emotional/physical control

What can I do if I am having a panic attack?

Here are some useful tips if you are having a panic attack:

  • Accept what you are feeling and remember it will pass in a few minutes and symptoms will go away. 
  • Breathe deeply and slowly and take your time. 
  • Do not avoid situations/activities or places just because of the panic and the fear of having a new panic attack. This will only prevent you from living your life. 
  • Avoid self-medicating since there is medication that can become addictive and potentially harmful to you if it is not specifically prescribed for you. 
  • Get help from a helpline, relative or a friend if the feeling is too overwhelming and you feel you can’t cope.

List of Organizations that may be helpful

Reaching out for help sometimes can make us feel uncomfortable and/or embarrassed, and we may feel we are going to be judged or ridiculed, so we do not ask for help until it is “really” necessary.  However, helplines are there to be used and to ensure people with mental ilnesses get help when needed and the best part is they have trained and professional staff who are going to be empathetic and non-judgemental.

Additionally, you can reach out to most of the organizations for many reasons, not only when you are having a panic attack, but you can also reach out if you or a loved one want to:

  • Know and learn more about panic attacks and the symptoms.
  • Be heard by someone who can understand what you are going through.
  • Find help.
  • Locate a therapist near you.
  • Find information about treatment centres around you.
  • Learn how to manage and prevent panic attacks.
  • Learn how to help a loved one during a panic attack.
Who to call when having a panic attack (Top tips)

What can I ask them?

If you do decide to get in touch with a helpline remember their staff will keep things you say confidential and anonymous so you can feel confident you can get the help you need. This is a great option to ask any questions you may have not only about panic attacks, but any other mental health issue. 

Here are some questions you may consider asking (mentalhelp.net):

  • How do I know if I have panic disorder?
  • What do I do if I’m having a panic attack?
  • What causes a panic attack?
  • Can panic attacks be treated?
  • Do I need medication?
  • What are the symptoms of panic attacks?
  • What if I have other mental health issues?
  • What if I am using drugs or alcohol?
  • Will I need to go to a special treatment program?
  • How much does treatment cost? Will my insurance cover it?
  • Will I ever feel normal?
  • What are the next steps I should take?
Who to call when having a panic attack (Top tips)

Anxiety UK

They help everyone that suffers from anxiety disorders through self-help groups, counselling, phone self-help groups, email support. 

Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm)

07537 416 905 (text)

Website: Click here

Breathing Space- Living Life (covering Scotland)

This is a free telephone service that offers free guided self-help and cognitive behavior therapy to anyone over the age of 16 who are suffering from mood disorders and anxiety. 

Phone: 0800 83 85 87

Website: Click here

Anxiety Care UK

They help people with anxiety disorders.

Website: Click here 

Mental Health Foundation

They provide information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities. 

Website: Click here 

No Panic

This is a voluntary charity that offers support for those who suffer from panic attacks and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and also, they offer a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD. 

Helpline: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge

Youth helpline: 0330 606 1174 (Mon to Thurs 4 pm to 6 pm; 13 to 20 years old)

Website: Click here

Samaritans

116 123

samaritans.org

Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK

PO Box 90 90

Stirling FK8 2SA

[email protected]

24-hour emotional support for anyone who needs to talk.

Who to call when having a panic attack (Top tips)

Triumph Over Phobia (TOP UK)

Provides self-help therapy groups and support for those with OCD, phobias and related anxiety disorders.

Website: Click here 

Mind.org.uk

Helplines

Infoline: 0300 123 3393

Email: [email protected]

Text: 86463

Post: Mind Infoline, PO Box 75225, London, E15 9FS

Their Infoline provides information and signposting service (open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, except for bank holidays).

Aske them about:

  • Mental health problems
  • where to get help near you
  • treatment options
  • advocacy services

Why is this blog about “Who to call when having a panic attack” important?

There are many helplines for you to call when you or a loved one is having a panic attack, however, you can also call to request additional information or help to understand mental health conditions. 

In addition, as we have discussed it can be quite embarrassing or scary to ask for help but if we are too overwhelmed or do not know what else to do, using this type of lines could be a good option. Remember they keep the information confidential and anonymous, their staff is characterized for being empathetic and non-judgemental. 

Please feel free to comment in the comments section!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about who to call when having a panic attack

Can you go to hospital for a panic attack?

You can go to a hospital for a panic attack but if doctors do not find a health issue then they will just send you home and stay alert if symptoms persist or change. Most panic attacks are said to last between 20 and 30 mins and symptoms can resemble having a heart attack.

Should you call an ambulance for a panic attack?

You can always call an ambulance if you think you are ill, need help or have an injury that is life-threatening. However, if you are having a panic attack it usually tends to resolve between 20 to 30 mins so probably you will feel uncomfortable or embarrassed after the paramedics arrive since it is not considered a life-threatening condition. 

When should you call 911 for a panic attack?

If you call 911 for a panic attack but it is actually the first time you are experiencing one then you may feel as if you were dying or something wrong is happening to you. However, panic attacks are temporary and symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath are not considered life-threatening. 

What should I do if someone’s having a panic attack?

If someone is having a panic attack it is important to remain calm, ensure the person has enough space and if possible take them to a quiet spot nearby. Also, make sure they know you are there for them and ask if they need anything, do not assume and keep it simple without asking too many questions. 

Can panic attacks disappear?

People with panic attacks often wonder if they can disappear with a technique or medicine. However, it has been said that panic attacks never can entirely be cured, but the symptoms can effectively be managed to where it is not impacting your life significantly.  

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  Audible Audiobook – Original recording
  • 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

Nhs.uk: “Mental Health Helplines”. 

Mind.org.uk: “Anxiety and Panic Attacks”.

Mentalhelp.net “Panic Attack Hotline”.

Lifeline.org.au

Supportline.org.uk 

Who to call when having a panic attack (Top 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.