In the case of a panic attack, what would.....

  1. Hi,

    there was a person having a panic attack, the typical feeling I can't breathe, chest tight, etc. What were you taught to do in this situation? I was taught don't touch the person (makes it worse, feeling closed in), but don't leave him/her either, and wait until the attack is over. Is there something else I am missing. Should the pulse, etc. be taken, just in case it is the heart? Thanks for for your input.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   KellieNurse06
    Well I can tell you from personal firsthand experience.....I actually passed out once and had many near fainting episodes from anxiety/panic attacks....I don't have them any more..but I can tell you they are as real as anything......and anyone who thinks different is an idiot.......
    I found that if I lied down with my feet up it helped alot......and also a cold wet wash cloth ( wringed out of course) on the back of my neck helped alot too. Breathing through the nose and out the mouth like COPD'ers are taught help too.........some people take ativan/xanax prn too.I also think if the person having panic attacks/anxiety attacks finds out the root of the problem that it can also get rid of them or alleviate them immensly.........I went to a counselor for a few months on top of taking an SSRI & a benzo ..and it did a world of good for me......
    I have been free of these horrible attacks for about 3 years now......and med free just as long.........so I really think because I got to the root of the issue it helped me get over the attacks......which is why they don't happen anymore. I do still get heart palpitations once in a great while but it sure beats what I used to go through..............
    Oh ya...I forgot........No..don't leave the person alone.....believe it or not it helps make the person feel safer......I always feared if I was alone something would happen ..like my heart would stop or my breathing would stop and no one would be there to help me and what if I died because of it......it is really the fear itself that does it..because you can't control what is happening.

    I remember in school a long time ago when I had an attack one of the instructors made me lay in the break room, feet up and they stayed with me until it passed..............
    Hope this helps.....sorry for it being sooooo long! lol! Good Luck!
    Last edit by KellieNurse06 on Nov 9, '06
  4. by   bargainhound
    Relaxation techniques......verbal cues to the person to concentrate
    on the breathing....relaxation breathing techniques...visualiztion
    of a place or situation that they find calming,etc..soothing
    talk to them the calm them....
  5. by   nomdeplume
    I've had some panic/anxiety attacks over the last few years. They've increased since I started nursing school the last couple of months, usually while driving. I take a low-dose SSRI, as I have been for years for mild depression (although I haven't been depressed in a long time, now I just get anxiety attacks).
    I've noticed that my recent attacks have become more somatic rather than just in my head- my hands and arms get tingly, I get dizzy even when I take slow deep breaths. What worries me is that soon the physiological response will override whatever I do to calm myself down. What is it about anxiety/panic attacks that causes fainting or passing out? Is it a vagal-type response? I'd hate to physically lose control of myself...
  6. by   P_RN
    My daughter had a very bad first year of graduate school. She said the thing that worked best was breathing into a paper bag. It also helps that someone takes you seriously and allows you to calm.
  7. by   AfloydRN
    Isn't it sad what nursing does to us? LOL. I had my first panic attack while in nursing school as well. I was sitting @ the hospital getting prepped for our first CCU rotation and suddenly got very SOB. My chest started hurting and my hands started sweating. I had no idea what was going on. I just knew something was not right. I was sent to the walk in clinic- had an EKG and all... was ok of course and had to make up the clinical later! What does help is for the person to recognize what is going on and try to calm your own self down. It really doesn't help me for others to try. You can't really listen when you are all anxiety ridden.
  8. by   Irene joy
    Evan though I am not yet a nurse, I can relate to the panick attacks. While I have fainted before, this ,I think was the first time that it was related to anxiety. I was nervous about my A&P lab that night, as we were going to be taking blood samples of ourselves and putting them through the centrifuge. Well I got my blood, but , looking around the room at everyones bloody fingers, I started to get a little light headed and nausous. I tried to walk out quickly to get some fresh air, and woke up in the hallway, wet from losing bladder control. What a horrible night, ended up vomiting in the bathroom in front of my professor. Eversince then I have had panick attacks, mostly while driving, I think I'm scared of passing out while driving. I do know, that it's good to not be alone, a comforting feeling, just in case.

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