Having a panic attack is an absolutely terrifying experience. And when you compound it by having your child go thru one… well I don’t know of anything more scary. There are a number of very real physical symptoms that accompany a panic attack in your child. These range from chest pain to a feeling of being choked. Some adults even feel like they are having a heart attack during a panic attack. Anyone who has suffered from one of these debilitating attacks will tell you that they never want to have another. Fortunately, there are ways that you can not only control panic attacks but also prevent them altogether.
Here are some tips on how to stop these extremely painful episodes.
1. Learn to recognize the symptoms. Part of what makes a panic attack so scary is because you feel like you are dying. The fact is, however, a panic attack won’t kill you. Or your little one. The symptoms may be incredibly uncomfortable, but they will pass. By recognizing them for what they are, you can help weaken their power.
Here is a list of some of the symptoms:
- chest pain
- feeling scared that they may die,
- feeling like your throat is closing,
- numbness or tingling,
- heart palpitations,
- or feeling too hot or too cold.
You may also feel detached from reality or like the world around you is not real. If you can teach yourself to recognize these symptoms early, then you could save your child a lot of pain. You will see it start to happen, and then take some easy steps to stop it.
2. Control and slow down their breathing. Once you realize that a panic attack is occurring, the next step is to focus on breathing. Have them take long, slow breaths, breathing through their nose with each inhale and through their mouth with each exhale. If you find it too difficult to slow down their breathing, try taking a deep breath and holding it for as long as they can. Then breathe out slowly. After this, focus on taking slow, steady breaths. Try to fill their lungs completely. This deep breathing will help relax them by giving your body the oxygen that it needs. It also helps distract them from the symptoms that they’re feeling.
3. Try not to flee or run away from the situation that caused the panic attack. Each time you do that, you solidify the anxiety in their mind. Instead, try to stay where you are and work your way through it. Feelings of panic will pass if you give them time. Once you make it through a panic attack once or twice, they will be far less likely to experience one again in the future. The best way to loosen the hold of anxiety is by trying to confront the situation head-on. This sends a message to the mind and your body that the situation is not actually a threat, which can help reduce the anxiety response.
Finally, talk to your doctor about whether or not medication may help you combat their panic. There are many drugs out there that are excellent at helping to control anxiety. When it comes to how to stop panic attacks, often times a multi-pronged approach that includes behavioral changes and medication is best.