Sometimes things just get to you and your body reacts in ways you can’t keep up. These are known as panic attacks and affect 5% of adults in Canada. Women, in fact, are twice as likely to develop this disorder than men.

Panic attacks can set in anywhere and at any time. Spending over 8 hours a day in the workplace means that more people are susceptible to having an attack during work hours. Those around them need to know how to deal with the situation effectively to support and soothe their colleague or employee.

What is a panic disorder?

Panic disorders are associated with anxiety. Panic attacks are a sudden episode where one experiences intense fear that manifests in physical ways. People tend to experience shortness of breath, chills, sensory distortions, nausea, chest pain, trembling, dizziness and heart palpitations, which can be accompanied by them bursting into tears.

Panic attacks don’t necessarily have a direct cause and can stem from indirect triggers as well. A panic disorder is diagnosed when an individual has recurring attacks during a four-week period.

Panic attacks can last from 5 minutes to half an hour. It’s essential the individual is taken care of during this attack.

How to help someone having a panic attack?

As a friend, colleague, or employer, you need to know how to deal with the situation immediately. It’s not easy to watch someone in extreme stress during a panic attack. There are a few things that can help the situation:

Make arrangements for first aid training sessions

First aid training courses are beneficial for all employees. Other than dealing with physiological issues, such training courses provide the tools needed to manage psychological problems like panic attacks.

Take the time out to provide such training for employees. It proves to be a valuable skill for the organization. Our professionals teach you how to deal with various situations and take control of the situation until medical professionals arrive.

Remove them from a crowded place

While experiencing a panic attack, an individual may scream, cry, or tremble uncontrollably. Moving them to a quiet area will help them relax and they won’t feel embarrassed in front of other employees. Being surrounded by too many people can also make their symptoms worse.

Take them to a safe, but secluded area of the workplace. In some cases, taking someone outdoors can help with their shortness of breath too. They can express themselves and allow their emotions to take their course.

Reassure them


The main thing a person feels during a panic attack is extreme fear. A panic attack can sometimes feel like a heart attack, causing them to feel like they’re going to die. Reassurance is the key to their recovery. Reassure them repeatedly that they are safe, remind them to take long and deep breaths, that this is just their anxiety and that they will be fine. Sometimes a light touch or holding their hand might also help them relax; just make sure to ask them if they’re okay with it first.


Try to get them to talk. Sharing their emotions and thoughts will most definitely help with their attack, as they say, “a burden shared is a burden halved!” Encouraging someone to open up about what they’re feeling can help provide them with the comfort they need.

If your organization is looking to hold first aid training in BC, Metro Safety Training is here to help. We provide a number of first aid training courses in the Surrey area that include Standard First Aid, Emergency First Aid, Occupational First Aid, and much more.

Check out our comprehensive tips on dealing with panic attacks as well. Contact 604-521-4227 for more information about our services.