According to Dr. Bubrich, a clinical psychologist working at the Child Mind Institute, panic attacks involve a sudden outburst of uncomfortable symptoms, including but not limited to, abnormally fast-paced heartbeat, excessive sweating, trembling, dizziness, and nausea. It feels like patients have a heart attack.
As parents, it is one thing to accept that our child experiences this and it is a different thing actually to deal with panic attacks together with your child. Here are 10 of the best ways to care for your child in case of these unwanted attacks:
- Pay Attention To The Details
Once you start seeing the symptoms of a panic attack on your child, pay attention. Do not dismiss it as just another episode, much less think of it as little drama. Anxiety is real, and it is taking a toll on the lives of many people – elders and teenagers alike.
2. Familiarize Yourself With Attacks
If this is not the first time that your child experienced a panic attack, you should already be familiar with his responses. Take note of his symptoms as well as the most immediate cure for the first-aid to be almost second nature to you already.
3. Be Patient And Supportive
Panic attacks do not have a standard running time. The attack may be quick, or it may take time, depending on your child and the gravity of the trigger. Throughout the entire process, stick by your child’s side and keep comforting him. Never judge too quickly.
4. Be Open About Panic Attacks
Especially when you are living in a home with other people, do not be ashamed that your child may be experiencing panic attacks. It pays to receive support from other people as well – not only your family members but also from the school and medical professionals.
5. Do Not Panic Yourself – Relax
While it is understandable that as a parent, you might be caught in the moment also and not know what to do with your child, do not panic. Your child would need to draw strength and peace from you. Stay calm and talk to your child in a relaxed manner.
6. Practice Breathing Exercises
Induce proper breathing in your child by telling him to breathe in and then breathe out. Do this breathing exercise for several minutes and let your child take his time. You can also hug him or hold his hand or help him mirror your breathing so he can slow down.
7. Give Assurance To Your Child
Never forget the words of assurance. Tell your kid that everything will be okay, that there’s nothing to worry about, and that things will get better if they believe. Encourage them with positivity and create an atmosphere that rebuilds trust and confidence.
8. Provide Healthy Disruptions
Depending on your child’s coping mechanism, you may introduce distractions that would take your child’s focus away from the trigger of the panic attack. This coping mechanism may be in the form of looking at the greens outside, listening to music, or reading a book.
9. Be Ready With Medication
In case your kid needs to take medications to manage the effects of a panic attack, be ready with these too. For instance, there are antidepressants called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors which make the body’s alarm system less reactive.
10. Know When To Seek Assistance
While it may be rare, there are still instances when external help might be warranted such as when the panic attack won’t go away even after a long while. Be ready with the contact number of the nearest hospital and ask help from professionals.
As parents, we are here to guide our children through these episodes and vow to support them all the way until they can overcome their anxiety disorder. Be encouraged by the fact that panic attacks always come to an end and they, like any other disorders, can be overcome.