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. 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.

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11 Responses to How To Deal With Your Partner’s Panic Attacks

  1. Whilst the symptoms of anxiety attacks (panic attacks) manifest themselves during an attack.
    CBT tends to be short-term in nature, although some patients may require a more long-term approach to therapy.

    • Brett Newcomb says:

      I agree that CBT works with some clients to shorten the amount of time they spend learning to deal with the symptoms which manifest as anxiety attacks. I think that both the client and the therapist should talk about whether or not the goal is symptom management or a more foundational approach to changing coping skills and self directed growth.

  2. Cira Jeannotte says:

    Panic disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some people have it while others don’t. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.,,..,

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  4. Ceane says:

    I have read your post. I think it is enlightening.

  5. Ceane says:

    I have a partner who I love deeply. We have children together. I suffer much pain as my partner suffers from PTSD, Complex Anxiety and OCD as well as agoraphobia. I know he suffers much. I am a mental health worker, and I understand how to give first aid in these situations, but I take this situation personal with my partner having anxiety over the smallest things at times of holidays, special occasions, xmas, birthdays, pay day, shopping day, church day, home day, work day, what ever day, and he just up s and goes. Dont matter if it is xmas, or going to a birthday, or iin the middle of no where together, or just in the plain old house together, it is toxic, it is disturbing. I get left in the lurch, and I am the one who gets the blame for his condition.

    I am sorry to say that because my partner avoids so much, run s away so much, I dont see him for hours, days, weeks or months, I am left being the mum and the dad. I am always heavy feeling as he takes my heart with him, and it cant be helped, I have to keep my mouth shut, my opinions, or he has a bout and goes and blames me.

    He has taken off again, and I want us to be over this time, but he wants to marry me! I cant marry this man who I love so much as I cant stand living with his condition, I am now secondary to it. I feel for him, I love him, but he is a sick man. He is working on it organically. He has never given me a thought about what me and the kids have gone through, and he blames me.

    Its time to give up the love of my life. Very Very Very sad situation.

    • Brett Newcomb says:

      I find myself curious about your level of entrapment. You are making choices that are almost as limiting as those your partner experiences. You take on all the responsibility for a situation that will not change and then fuss because he won’t change to help make it better or consider you and your needs. My feeling is that you need help working on your own ability to know you have value and needs and to insist that they be considered by yourself first, and then your partner. Not in the hedonistic or narcissistic way, but in the “healthy selfish” way. If we do not develop the ability to become “healthy selfish” then we will be entrapped by our internal scripts from childhood that tell us we are not worthy of being loved unless we earn it and that someone else’s needs always come before our own. There needs to be a healthy balance of other-caring and self-caring in order to have intimacy and healthy relationships. Look to your own basket before you obsess about his. Also remember his level of responsibility to a relationship and to being the father of children. You cannot carry it all. Good luck and thank you for writing.

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  9. Nickey says:

    Maybe Ceannea, likes to be the “victim” You have a life of your own, get out of that relationship, it’s not going to get better/ he loves to manipulate you,, it’s easy to blame others for your inability to cope with life/ and he has no responsibility to any one./ I “run” every time something happens..( it’s his motto in live)
    Get help yourself, and for the children and start a new life. He has a problem
    don’t make it yours/ Good luck

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