This article is a contribution from a guest author who has had extensive experience with Panic Attacks and writes about them, as well as other anxiety related issues on his own Web Site. Please see the link at the end of the article for more from Ryan Rivera. Thank you Ryan.
How to Deal With Your Partner’s Panic Attacks
For the person suffering from panic disorder, panic attacks can be
devastating. Panic attacks represent the height of anxiety – intense
feelings of fear, sometimes about one’s imminent death. Even after the
panic attack has subsided the person can feel as though the wind has
been completely knocked out of them, and a panic attack in the morning
or afternoon can essentially ruin the entire day.
For the partner of someone suffering from panic attacks, each attack can
feel like a tremendous burden. You’re there, watching your partner
suffer from something entirely mental, and yet you cannot do anything to
help. Often those with panic attacks develop related issues as a result
of their panic attacks, such as agoraphobia, and these problems can
affect the relationships as well.
It may be difficult to experience a panic attack, but it’s also
difficult to be the partner of someone that suffers from them. Many
partners have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing, and on occasion
respond with frustration or anger at that this randomly occurring
mental phenomenon keeps disrupting their relationship. So if your
partner suffers from panic attacks, here are a few tips for how to
handle the situation.
Tips for Partners of Individuals with Panic Disorder
• Inform Yourself
Those that haven’t experienced panic disorder often find it difficult to
understand, so education is important. During a panic attack, the
person can not only think that something is seriously wrong – they can
feel it as well, with psychosomatic symptoms that legitimately resemble a
heart attack, to the point where many of those that experience their
first panic attacks get hospitalized. Understanding what your partner is
going through is a crucial first step, because only if you understand
it can you hope to empathize.
• Let Them Talk About It
Before, during, or after their panic attack, their panic attack is often
the only thing on their mind. They need to share it, so that they’re
not stuck inside their own head or afraid of talking to you about it.
They’re going to need to talk, so you should try to let them talk.
• Don’t Try to Solve It
While you should let them talk about it, you should also refrain from
trying to fix it yourself. Panic attacks may be an anxiety disorder, but
they’re not like anxiety. You can’t really “talk down” someone a panic
attack, because they’re often experiencing physical symptoms that aren’t
going to go away because of your words. Let them talk about it, but
also know that you’re going to have to let it run its course. Trying to
solve it can actually make it worse, because you’ll be forcing the
person to focus on their symptoms more in an effort to control them, and
possibly making them feel ashamed as well.
• Don’t Bring It Up
An interesting – and unfortunate – issue with panic attacks is that
thinking about them can actually cause them. So if your partner is not
currently suffering from or thinking about panic attacks, it may be best
not to ask them about it. As long as they know that they can come to
you and tell you when they are suffering or have experienced one, it’s
best to avoid the topic.
• Support Cures
Panic attacks can be cured. But they can only be cured if both you and
your partner are willing to commit to a treatment. Several behavioral
therapies have been created that target panic attacks. Combine them with
a visit or two to the doctor to help rule out any physical causes and
it is possible to live panic attack free. Know that as long as both of
you are committed to relieving the panic attacks, they can go away, so
caring about your partner and waiting it out are the best courses of
Creating a Better Relationship
Panic attacks are overwhelming experiences – experiences that many
people struggle to even describe, and impossible to control without
help. Partners of those with panic attacks may feel a bit frustrated at
times, but it’s important to remember that your partner is really
struggling. This isn’t like mild anxiety or even mild hypochondria. It’s
an uncontrollable feeling of imminent danger or death. Use the above
tips to make living with panic attacks easier on your partner and your
relationship and know that there are treatment options out there for
curing the disorder forever.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera had immense panic attacks that did damage
his relationships before he found treatments. Now he writes about
anxiety causes and solutions at www.calmclinic.com.