How to Help Someone Struggling with AnxietyAs strange as it might appear, anxiety is normal. Worrying is actually considered to be protective, as it alerts us to dangers in our life. However, if you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety then that is a sign that anxiety has become excessive.
It is difficult to watch a family member or friend experience anxiety and it can have a crippling effect on family safety and daily tasks.
However, if you know someone struggling with anxiety, or you are experiencing the symptoms of anxiety yourself, there are steps that can be put in place to provide help and support.
Signs of Anxiety
Anxiety manifests itself in very many ways and with different levels of severity – but the signs and symptoms are generally the same. Someone experiencing anxiety will often feel out of control and unable to control feelings of worry, fear, panic, or nervousness.
They will become irritable, tend to overgeneralise, have a constant feeling of impending doom and believe that the worst will happen, and they will also develop an all-or-nothing mindset. Someone suffering with anxiety will also have problems getting to and staying asleep and have difficulties with their concentration.
There are also physical signs and symptoms of anxiety. Someone suffering with anxiety will be experiencing headaches, nausea, stomach aches, chest pains and shortness of breath. They will also experience an irregular or rapid heartbeat, muscle tightness, a dry mouth and they will sweat profusely.
Anxiety is not something easy to handle.
Different types of Anxiety
Anxiety is a relatively common condition, and it is in fact one of the most common mental illnesses. Whilst treatable, only low numbers of those who are diagnosed go on to receive any treatment.
Anxiety is a complex disorder and as such, it is hard for anxiety to be diagnosed and defined within a specific set of criteria. As a result, anxiety has been broken down into categories – social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder is also known as social phobia and social anxiety. This kind of anxiety is characterised by a severe fear of being rejected, negatively perceived or judged in a social situation.
Because of this, people suffering with Social Anxiety Disorder will generally attempt to avoid these situations, because if they can’t, they are likely to experience heightened stress and anxiety.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (also known as GAD) is recognisable through someone suffering with excessive emotions, actions, worries and thoughts that are occurring commonly for a period of at least six months.
People who have GAD are worried about everyday issues such as money, family and health. They also have work anxiety and are struggling at work with anxiety.
Panic Disorder develops in people that have unexpected, recurrent panic attacks or anxiety attacks. These are unpleasant episodes where people experience intense discomfort, fear and anxiety and feel the need to flee and hide until the ordeal, which can last several minutes, has passed.
How to know if you’re struggling with Anxiety
It is difficult to know what to say to someone struggling with anxiety. Helping someone, or yourself, begins with recognising and understanding signs of heightened worry and learning how best to support the person affected.
Many people who have developed an anxiety disorder are unable to recognise their issues, and family and friends are often better positioned to notice problems developing before the person suffering realises themselves.
Ways of coping with Anxiety
If a friend or loved one is constantly asking you for reassurance as they fear something terrible might happen, you may cause more damage by issuing reassurance as you are inadvertently perpetuating the anxiety they have already developed.
You should instead point out to your friend or loved one that they are actually constantly seeking reassurance and it is making them much more anxious long-term. At that point you are able to suggest methods to decrease anxiety.
As well as seeking professional medical assistance, there are a number of other ways for individuals to help those who are struggling with anxiety. You can encourage them to challenge negative thoughts and instead focus on what they can control instead of what they cannot.
They should be encouraged to limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol they consume – this is because both substances can cause panic attacks and anxiety. Physical activity and regular exercise is to be encouraged and regular sleep patterns are beneficial to people experiencing regular anxiety.
An individual may find it beneficial to engage in deep breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation and limiting worrying time to 20 minutes a day to work through the issues causing upset before focusing on the rest of the day.
Although the symptoms of anxiety often feel draining, permanent and overwhelming, you can be assured that anxiety is very treatable. If you are concerned about your own welfare, or that of a loved one, then you should encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional.
This is the most important thing you can do to help someone – your role as a friend or relative is to not offer treatment, but support.
How Ocean Recovery can help
Due to the overwhelming nature of anxiety, you likely have many questions about anxiety and its causes. At Ocean Recovery, we have a lot of experience in helping people who are suffering from anxiety and we can help you to tackle your problems.
If you are experiencing anxiety at work, or in general life, we can help you to overcome this with practical advice. If you have concerns about your condition, or that of a loved one, or have questions about the causes of anxiety, why not call Ocean Recovery today?
We can be contacted by texting HELP to 83222 or by calling 01253 847533 and we are on hand 24 hours a day if you would like to discuss your anxiety and how we can help you to regain control of your life.
John Gillen - Author - Last updated: January 13, 2022
John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.
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