September 5


Texting Your Way to Calm: How to Help Someone with Panic Attacks Over Text

By Joshua Turner

September 5, 2023

If you have a loved one who experiences panic attacks, you may feel helpless and unsure how to support them. They can be overwhelming and scary, and knowing what to do or say to help can be difficult. Fortunately, there are ways to support someone during a panic episode, even if you are not physically with them.

Texting can be an effective way to support someone during this time. While it may not be as personal as being there in person, it can still be a helpful way to offer reassurance and guidance.

This article will explore how to identify a panic attack over text and provide tips for supporting someone during an episode.

Key Takeaways

  • Panic attacks can be supported over text messaging.
  • It is vital to identify the symptoms of a panic attack over text.
  • Providing empathy and reassurance can help support someone during this time.

Understanding Panic Attacks

Recognizing Symptoms

Panic attacks are sudden and intense feelings of fear or discomfort that can come without warning. Symptoms include a pounding heart, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and more. These symptoms can be frightening and overwhelming, lasting for several minutes.

Panic Disorder Vs. Anxiety Disorder

Panic disorder and anxiety disorder are similar but different. Panic disorder is characterized by repeated, unexpected panic attacks, while anxiety disorder is more generalized and involves excessive worry and fear about everyday situations. It is necessary to understand the difference between the two to provide the appropriate support.

The Role of Fear and Stress

A specific situation can trigger panic attacks or can come out of nowhere. Fear of having another episode can also contribute to the development of this disorder. Stress can also exacerbate them and make them more frequent.

Understanding it and its symptoms, differentiating between panic disorder and anxiety disorder, and recognizing the role of fear and stress can help you better support someone experiencing a panic attack over text.

How to Identify a Panic Attack Over Text

Analyzing Text Patterns

When helping someone over text, analyze their text patterns. Look for signs of anxiety, such as excessive use of exclamation points, repetitive messages, or a sudden change in tone. These patterns can indicate that the person is experiencing it or is in distress.

Recognizing Distress Signals

Recognizing distress signals can include phrases like “I can’t breathe” or “I feel like I’m dying.” Other signs may include sudden changes in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn or agitated. If you notice these indications, act quickly and support the person.

These can be incredibly overwhelming and scary. Analyzing text patterns and recognizing distress signals can help you identify when someone is experiencing it over text and provide the support they need.

Supporting Someone During a Panic Attack

Offering Reassurance

Offer reassurance and let them know that they are not alone. You can do this by sending supportive messages such as “I’m here for you” or “You’re going to be okay.” Avoid belittling their experience or telling them to “just calm down.”


Grounding Techniques

Grounding techniques can help someone feel more connected to the present moment. Encourage them to focus on their senses by asking them to describe what they see, hear, smell, and feel. You can also suggest that they try counting backward from 100 or reciting the lyrics to a favorite song.

Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing can regulate their breathing and calm them down. Encourage them to take slow, deep breaths through their nose and mouth. You can also suggest that they try holding their breath for a few seconds before exhaling. Remind them that it’s okay if they don’t get it right the first time and that they can keep trying until they feel better.

Supporting someone during a panic attack can be challenging, but staying calm and patient is important. You can help your loved one feel more in control and supported by offering reassurance, grounding techniques, and breathing techniques.

Long-Term Management of Panic Attacks

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a compelling long-term management strategy for panic attacks. CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to them. A therapist trained in CBT can help individuals learn coping skills, such as relaxation techniques and exposure therapy, to manage panic attacks.


Medications, such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Benzodiazepines, can effectively manage them in the long term.

SSRIs are an antidepressant that can help regulate brain chemistry and reduce anxiety. Benzodiazepines are a sedative that can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. However, it’s vital to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment and manage any potential side effects.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can also effectively manage them in the long term. Caffeine can increase anxiety and trigger panic attacks, so reducing intake or avoiding it altogether can be helpful.

Exercise can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, making it a great addition to a management plan. Self-care practices can also help, such as getting enough sleep and practicing mindfulness.

Long-term management involves a combination of strategies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes. Working with a therapist and healthcare provider can help individuals develop a personalized management plan that works best for them. These strategies can effectively manage panic attacks and improve their quality of life.

What Not to Do When Someone Is Having a Panic Attack

Avoiding Harmful Behaviors

There are certain behaviors you should avoid to prevent making the situation worse. Avoid telling them to “calm down” or “just breathe,” as this can dismiss their feelings and make them more anxious.

Don’t try to distract or change the subject, as this can prevent them from working through their feelings and make them feel like their situation is not being taken seriously.

Understanding the Impact of Misguided Help

It’s important to understand that misguided help can be harmful and worsen the situation. For example, telling them to “snap out of it” or “get over it” can dismiss their feelings and make them feel like they are not being heard. Similarly, trying to rationalize their fears or minimize their feelings can make them feel like they are not being taken seriously.


Panic attacks are not a choice and are not something that someone can simply “get over.” Instead, provide support and understanding, and help them work through their feelings in a safe and supportive environment. Avoiding harmful behaviors and understanding the impact of misguided help can help someone feel heard, supported, and safe.

Role of Empathy and Love in Supporting Someone

Building Strong Relationships

Building a solid relationship with them can help them feel supported and loved. You can do this by being empathetic and understanding towards their situation. Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how they might be feeling. Listen to them and validate their emotions.

Creating a Safe Environment

You can do this by providing them with a calm and quiet space where they can feel safe and secure. Encourage them to take deep breaths and remind them they are not alone. Be patient and understanding. Everyone experiences them differently, so be flexible in your approach.

Love and empathy are powerful tools for supporting someone with a panic attack. Building strong relationships and creating a safe environment can help them feel supported and loved. Be patient, understanding, and empathetic toward their situation. With your help, they can overcome them and live a happy and healthy life.


Helping someone with panic attacks over text can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It requires patience, empathy, and understanding of their mental health condition. Support and reassurance can help them feel more in control of their panic attacks and reduce their anxiety levels.

Always prioritize their safety and well-being. Encourage them to seek professional help if necessary and provide them with resources and information on mental health services.

Be mindful of your language and avoid making exaggerated or false claims. These can be debilitating, and treating them with respect and sensitivity is vital.

Above all, let them know that they are not alone and that you are there to support them through their journey. With your help, they can learn to manage their situation and live healthier lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some ways to help someone having a panic attack over text?

  • Encourage them to take deep breaths
  • Remind them that they are not alone
  • Suggest they try progressive muscle relaxation techniques
  • Ask if they need any specific help or support

Are there any things I should avoid doing when someone is having a panic attack over text?

  • Don’t tell them to “calm down”
  • Avoid minimizing their feelings or experience
  • Don’t pressure them to talk if they don’t want to
  • Don’t offer unsolicited advice or solutions

How can I tell if someone is having a panic attack over text?

  • They may express feelings of intense fear or anxiety
  • They may describe physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, or shortness of breath
  • They may seem agitated or unable to focus
  • They may express a fear of losing control or going crazy

What are some comforting things I can say to someone having a panic attack over text?

  • “I’m here for you”
  • “You’re not alone”
  • “You’re going to get through this”
  • “I’m proud of you for reaching out”

How can I support my partner who experiences panic attacks over text?

  • Ask them how you can best support them during an attack
  • Encourage them to seek professional help if they haven’t already
  • Offer to be a listening ear or a source of comfort
  • Be patient and understanding of their experience.

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