How To Help Someone with Anxiety

how to help someone with anxiety in leander texas

How To Help Someone with Anxiety

Anxiety is how most people react to everyday stress and can be helpful in certain situations. It can warn us of danger and help us plan and pay attention. But anxiety disorders differ from being nervous or anxious, and can lead to extreme fear or anxiety. These are the most widespread mental disorders, affecting nearly 30% of adults during their lives. Anxiety disorders, however, can be treated with several effective forms of care readily available. But there are other ways to help, too. 

Examples of Anxiety Disorders

  • Agoraphobia, where you fear and try to avoid places or situations that could lead to panic and feelings of being trapped, helpless, or ashamed.
  • Anxiety disorder caused by a medical condition that creates feelings of intense anxiety or panic.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder, featuring continual and excessive anxiety and worry about routine activities or events – with the worry out of proportion to what’s happening, hard to control, and influences your feelings physically.
  • Panic disorder with repeated episodes of intense anxiety and fear or terror that may lead to panic attacks. 

Help for Someone with Anxiety

How you help someone with anxiety, or a more severe anxiety disorder, depends on knowing the warning signs of what’s going on, things like:

  • The other person feels restless, highly energetic, or on-edge
  • Your friend is easily tired
  • Problems concentrating
  • Easily irritable
  • Headaches, muscle soreness, stomach aches, or pains unrelated to a known health problem
  • Problems controlling feelings of worry
  • Sleep problems, including issues falling or remaining asleep
  • Pounding or fast heartbeat
  • Perspiration
  • Trembling or tingling sensations
  • Chest pain
  • A fixed body posture or talking in monotone or overly softly
  • Avoids making eye contact or being around strangers
  • The other person takes steps to avoid a dreaded object or situation, and may feel immediate, severe anxiety if avoidance isn’t possible
  • Specific fears which may be phobia-related, like flying, heights, specific animals, receiving injections, or giving blood

It’s difficult to watch someone dealing with anxiety or a more serious mental illness, but there are things you can do to help them manage their symptoms and regain control of their life. Change and improvement are never instantaneous but can happen with time and commitment. Here’s what you can try.

  • Anxiety shows up differently for everyone, and recognizing that in your friend or loved one may be the first step in helping them persevere. Our biology means we’re hard-wired to respond to danger or fear by fighting it, fleeing it, or freezing and being unable to do anything. If you recognize this, it becomes easier to understand their fears and be compassionate to their plight.
  • Make sure the support you offer matches their needs and any strategies they appear receptive to trying. Don’t be afraid to ask what support they’re interested in, as that step shows you’re genuinely interested in meeting them halfway in their journey to receiving support. 
  • When talking to someone with anxiety, depression, or another mental illness, listening to them is critical in understanding things from their perspective. Many people, even as they’re challenged with illness, can offer valuable insight into their anxiety and help create an effective treatment plan.
  • Help the person temper or reel in their anxious thoughts. Anxiety disorders are often a vicious cycle where symptoms get recycled one after another, so by helping your friend consider the worst-case scenario or outcome – based on the reality of what’s happening – you can help that person develop coping mechanisms.
  • Be generous in offering support, but be mindful that you should never try and take control of your friend or loved one’s situation. Don’t do something the other person should do, because that may create a false sense of security that collapses when you’re not around.
  • Avoid stigmatization. Even if you don’t realize it’s happening, your response to your friend’s illness – to the symptoms and their effect – may be perceived as minimizing what they’re going through. Stigmatization of mental illness is one of the top reasons people don’t seek or receive the care they need.
  • Be mindful of your own health and know when to step back and take a break for your own benefit.

If you know of someone with mental illness, there are many resources you can refer them to for help. One of the best things you can do, however, is exhibit compassion and be understanding and patient. People who have tried medicine or psychotherapy in the past may benefit from alternative treatment options like ketamine infusion therapy.

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