Thursday, 5 July 2012

How To Deal With Your Partner’s Panic Attacks

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 action.
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