Try to comfort the sufferer by uttering soothing words. However, that does not mean you utter cliched phrases like ‘take a chill pill’, ‘calm down’ or ‘just relax’. Now, only if those words could provide a calming effect. The thing is, if it was so easy to calm down, the person wouldn’t have had a panic attack in the first place. Some get annoyed after seeing their friend in the midst of panic attack and say something like ‘Aren’t you overreacting’, ‘Your fears are imaginative’ or ‘It’s all in your head’. Making such irresponsible statements will only make matters worse. Being rude or shouting at the person will not prevent a panic attack from exacerbating.
A panic attack sufferer requires support, reassurance, and not criticism. Saying something like ‘you can easily go through this’, or ‘focus on your breathing pattern and live in the present’, can work wonders to relieve her discomfort. Your words should convey that you are by her side and ready to help in whatever way you can. You need to take the person seriously, and make her aware that you really care for her health. Try to understand her apprehensions, and make her realize that panic attacks are no threat to her health, and it’s just a temporary phase that will soon go away.