Prayer is the most important thing to help the sufferer of panic attack. I have had firsthand experience of this unpleasant condition and have also given voluntary counseling, to people who have been sent to me, by a priest friend who did not know what else to do to help people who came to him, seeking prayers and help to overcome their panic attacks.
These people did recover from the condition. When you add prayer to the equation things improve out of sight.
As well as prayer, I would like to recommend to your friend the following advice. There are many books on panic attack, however the one which I would recommend to your friend is entitled: Living with It. The author of the book is Bev Aisbett. It is published by HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.
A search of the Internet will quickly locate web sites which distribute the book. What is different about this book, is that it is actually a cartoon book with captions. The author of the book Bev Aisbett, is a professional cartoon artist, living in Sydney. She wrote this book, after suffering and recovering from this debilitating condition. The visual humour in the book is extremely valuable to the sufferer of panic attack, and instructs them in what the condition really is, and the techniques which you can use to overcome panic attack.
Briefly the symptoms of panic attack are caused by a release of a large flood of adrenaline into the blood stream, which ordinarily is meant to protect you in dangerous situations, such as when you would flee if you saw a violent person running toward you to physically attack you, or to help you to move with great haste out of the path of a speeding car, which was coming toward you. However in the case of panic attack the body releases a flood of these chemicals inappropriately, (when there is no real danger). However you are not sunk in this matter. There are steps that you can take to deal with the situation and be healed of panic attack.
I will outline some of these for you now. If you feel the condition of panic attack coming upon you with its unmistakable symptoms of heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, extraordinary fear that doesn’t match the situation that you are in, (for example you may be just simply shopping at the supermarket, where no real danger exists), there are special breathing techniques which can be used. Another technique is that you dare your body to unleash the symptoms upon you. The symptoms will abate or stop completely, if you adopt an attitude that says, “I do not care if the body unleashes the symptoms of panic attack upon me”. The release of adrenaline in panic attacks is not able to operate when this attitude is adopted. The more often you get on top of this matter the sooner you will recover from this condition.
It has been observed that consciously switching to a calm attitude, during a panic attack, somehow enables the brain to switch off further releases of Adrenalin, thereby minimising the severity of the attack.
The habitual use of relaxation techniques, such as lying down and listening to soothing music or using imagination techniques, such as the imagining yourself in a very relaxed calm place such as the beach, are also useful in the treatment and management of panic attack. It is important to replace negative and fearful ideas with the calming and positive ones.
It doesn’t really matter what stresses in your life led to panic attack, the important thing is dealing with it, and recovering from it.