Helping Your Teen Cope with a Panic Attack

teen mental health treatmentTeen mental health issues are very real and more common than you may think. Still, it can be difficult to know what to do when a teen suffers from depression or an anxiety disorder. Life with a teen has its challenges, and panic attacks can add quite a bit to those issues.

So what can you do to help your teen cope with a panic attack?

Stay Calm

If your teen is experiencing a panic attack, it’s helpful when the people around them are able to stay calm. In many cases, the physical symptoms of a panic attack—including shortness of breath, shaking, sweating, and even heart palpitations—can seem severe. As a parent, it’s tough to see your teen in that position.

However, it’s important to remember that the symptoms of a panic attack will subside, usually after about 20 or 30 minutes. Remain calm, speak gently to your teen, and remind them that this is only temporary.

Be Patient and Understanding

Panic disorder in teens can be frustrating for a parent. When a panic attack appears out of the blue, parents may feel their teen is being overdramatic or simply acting out on purpose.

It’s important to remember that your teen’s reaction feels very warranted in the moment. The best thing you can do is to coach them through the panic attack the best you can and, most importantly, be there for them.

If your teen avoids certain places or events because of prior anxiety or panic attacks, remember that your child is dealing with a lot. Your teen cannot help their body’s response to this stress, and may need professional help to get through it.

Stay Informed and Talk to Your Teen

Not all teens who experience panic attacks have panic disorder. Sometimes, panic attacks are isolated incidents not related to any disorder, while some may be related to social anxiety or other anxiety disorders.

What’s most important is that you stay informed. Remain educated about your teen’s condition and help them decide whether treatment might be a good fit. The sooner you seek treatment for a teen struggling with mental health disorders, the better they’ll be equipped to deal with it later in life.

Teen mental health issues, including depression and anxiety disorders, are treatable. There is hope, and help is available.

Rosecrance offers both inpatient and outpatient teen mental health services. To schedule a consultation for your teen, call (888) 928-5278.