What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a very normal part of daily life. We get stressed and anxious at work, at home, in traffic, and about our kids. But when the anxiety becomes too big and hard to manage (and doesn’t go away), it becomes a disabling disorder. When anxiety has increased to a level that affects your ability to participate in everyday life – your ability to leave your home, go to the grocery store, be with friends or drive/ride in a car – it’s gotten to a point where help is needed.
The word “anxiety” covers four aspects of experiences that a person may have: mental apprehension, physical tension, dissociative anxiety, and physical symptoms.
What Is An Anxiety Disorder?
An Anxiety Disorder is a blanket term that covers several different types of mental illnesses.
Anxiety Disorders can range from very mild to very extreme and can sometimes be an indicator or symptom of another problem (such as depression or hypertension), so it is important to seek the advice of a medical professional.
Approximately 40 million Americans in any given year will have some form of diagnosed anxiety disorder. Untreated, these disorders can lead to lost work days, economic struggles, physical illness, isolation and the loss of friendships, family feuds, and even hospitalization, suicide threats, and suicide.
Many people around the world have anxiety issues. In fact, in the US alone, about 18% of people struggle with an anxiety disorder every year. In addition, about 8% of children and teens develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder before the age of 21. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1 in every 13 people worldwide also struggle with anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, only about a third of people who have anxiety disorders seek and receive treatment – even though these conditions are highly treatable.
Causes and Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders:
It’s important to note that everyone feels anxiety to some degree regularly throughout their life. In fact, both fear and anxiety are adaptive and helpful emotions that can help us notice danger or threats, keep us safe, and help us adapt to the environment. Anxiety disorders represent states when fear or anxiety becomes severe or extreme, to the extent that it causes an individual significant distress, or impairs their ability to function in important facets of life such as work, school, or relationships. It is also important that risk factors don’t imply that anxiety is anyone’s fault; anxiety disorders are a very common difficulty that people experience:
Comorbidity is extremely common in people with anxiety disorders, which means that most people with have significant anxiety often experience a number of different type of anxieties. It’s not surprising that many risk factors for anxiety have the same underlying causes.
Genetic risk factors have been documented for all anxiety disorders. Clinical genetic studies show that 30-67% of people who have anxiety disorders may have inherited it from their parents. It’s also worth noting that people may be genetically resilient to anxiety disorders as well.
Parenting Behaviors can also impact risk for anxiety disorders. Parents who demonstrate high levels of control (versus granting the child autonomy) while interacting with their children has been associated with the development of anxiety disorders in their children.
Parental modeling of anxious behaviors and parental rejection of the child has also been shown to potentially relate to greater risk for anxiety.
Going through stressful life events or chronic stress is also related to the development of anxiety disorders. Stressful life events in childhood, including experiencing adversity, sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, or parental loss or separation may increase the risk of experiencing an anxiety disorder later in life.
Having recently experienced a traumatic event or very stressful event can be a risk factor for the development of anxiety across different age groups.
Along with the notion of chronic life stress resulting in increased anxiety risk, having less access to socioeconomic resources or being a member of a minority group has also been postulated to relate to greater risk for the development of anxiety disorders.
Dealing with a chronic medical condition or severe or frequent illness can also increase the risk for anxiety disorders, as can dealing with a significant illness of a family member or loved one.
Certain medical conditions such as thyroid disease are characterized by significant symptoms of anxiety. Menopause, heart disease, and diabetes have also been linked to anxiety symptoms.
Additionally, drug abuse or withdrawal is characterized by acute anxiety, and chronic substance abuse can increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can also be a side effect of certain medications.
Living with significant sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, may also be a risk factor for developing an anxiety disorder.
Behavioral choices can also significantly impact risk, as excessive tobacco or caffeine use can increase anxiety, while regular exercise can decrease anxiety.
Specific personality traits also may change the risk of developing an anxiety disorder. People whose temperament includes shyness and behavioral inhibition in childhood can increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder later in life. In personality traits, the Five Factor Model of Personality consists of five broad trait domains including Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. An individual higher on trait Neuroticism or low on Conscientiousness is at a higher risk for all anxiety disorders, while an individual low on Extraversion is at a higher risk of developing social phobia and agoraphobia.
Personality disorders have also been shown to relate to increased risk for anxiety disorders.
Women are much more likely to experience anxiety disorders; women are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety, and symptoms of anxiety disorders are lessened in men and increased in women. This sex difference in the prevalence and severity of anxiety disorders that puts women at a disadvantage over men is not specific to anxiety disorders, but is also found in depression and other stress-related adverse health outcomes such as obesity and cardiac disease.
Age research suggests that risk for anxiety disorders decreases over the lifespan with lower risk being demonstrated later in life.
What Types of Anxiety Disorders Exist?
Anxiety disorders reflect disorders that share a general feature of excessive fear (such as an emotional response to perceived or real threat) and/or anxiety (such as the anticipation of future threat) and demonstrate behavioral and functional disturbances as a result. Panic attacks are a feature that can occur in the context of many anxiety disorders and reflect a type of fear response.
1) Generalized Anxiety Disorder (also known as GAD) is a chronic and chronic disorder that is characterized by long-lasting anxiety that’s not focused upon any one situation or object. Those who have generalized anxiety disorder often feel non-specific and persistent fear or worry and may become overly concerned by everyday issues. is the most common anxiety disorder to affect older adults. A diagnosis of GAD may be made when a person becomes extremely worried about an everyday problem for a period greater than six months. Someone with GAD may have problems making daily decisions, and remembering commitments, as a result of decreased concentration or preoccupation with worries.
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder can include:
- Extreme and excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of events or activities, even when nothing is wrong or when the worry is disproportionate to the actual risk.
- The worry these people experience is difficult to control
- The worry is associated with at least three (adults) or one (children) of the following physical or cognitive symptoms:
- Impaired concentration or feeling that mind is going blank
- Increased muscle aches or soreness
- Difficulty sleeping (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
- Sometimes associated with other physical symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea
To be diagnosed with GAD, the worry must cause significant distress or interfere with the individual’s daily life, occupational, academic, or social functioning, and the symptoms cannot be better attributed to another mental disorder or be caused by substances, medications, or medical illness.
Duration: Symptoms must be present for longer than 6 months
2) Panic Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which a person suffers from brief episodes (generally lasts less than ten minutes but may last as long as hours) of terror or fear that strike out of nowhere. These episodes of terror are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, chest pains, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and/or choking sensations.
Panic disorder encompasses the experience of sudden panic symptoms (usually out of the blue with no specific triggers) in combination with persistent, lingering worry that panic symptoms will return, as well fear of those panic symptoms. These panic attacks may be triggered by fear, stress, although the specific cause is not always known.
Symptoms of Panic Disorder
- Recurrent expected or unexpected panic attacks AND one or more of the following symptoms for at least one month:
- Pounding heart
- Feeling of weakness
- Tingling or numbness in hands
- Feeling flushed
- Sense of unreality
- Feeling of loss of control or losing one’s mind
- Fear of dying or something physically wrong (like a stroke or heart attack)
- Persistent concern about the consequences of the attacks (e.g. “going crazy”, heart attack) or fears of having additional attacks
- A significant change in behavior related to attacks (e.g. avoiding exercise)
Duration of Panic Attacks: Panic attacks themselves tend to last a few minutes to 10 minutes (rarely last longer than 1 hour), but the symptoms must be experienced for at least one month for a proper diagnosis
For a proper diagnosis, these symptoms must not be better accounted for by another disorder and the symptoms also cannot be caused by substances, medications, or medical illness. In addition, these panic attacks have chronic consequences – worry about the implications of the panic attack, fear of future attacks, and significant behavioral changes related to the panic attacks.
3) Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as SAD) is an intense fear that causes a person to worry about being judged by others in daily situations and/or fear being in crowds of people. This fear may be related to specific situations or in all social interactions. Severe cases of social anxiety disorder can lead to severe cases of social isolation.
Excessive fear of becoming embarrassed or humiliated in social situations, which often leads suffers avoiding any situation that may evoke their fears.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder:
- Significant and persistent fear of one (or more) social or performance situations in which a person is exposed to unfamiliar people, or to possible scrutiny by others due to fear of humiliation or embarrassment.
- It’s important to note that in children, the anxiety must be present in both peer and adult interactions
- Exposure to the feared social or performance situation provokes significant anxiety, including panic attacks
- The sufferer knows that the fear is excessive or unreasonable. However, in children, they may not such insight into their fears
- The feared social or performance situations are avoided or are endured with invasive anxiety or distress.
The avoidance, anticipation of, or distress of the phobic object/situation must cause significant distress or interferes with the individual’s daily life, occupational, academic, or social functioning to meet diagnosis. The symptoms cannot be better accounted for by another mental disorder or be caused by substances, medications, or medical illness. In order for a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder, the symptoms must be:
- Generalized – fear is present across any social situations
- Specific – eating in public, public speaking, talking to authority figures
- Duration: Typically lasts at least 6 months or longer
4) Specific Phobias – specific phobias are strong irrational fear reactions that cause those with the phobia to avoid common places, situations, and objects even though the sufferer knows there is no threat or danger. The sufferer of specific phobias know that his or her fears make very little sense, but he or she feels as though he or she has no control over it. Specific phobias can sorely disrupt daily routines, limit the ability to work, lower self-esteem, and put intense strain on interpersonal relationships as the sufferer does whatever he or she can to avoid the phobic anxiety fear.
Many specific phobias develop in childhood, but others rise unexpectedly during the teen years or early adult years. The onset for specific phobias are often sudden and may happen in situations or with an object in which the sufferer previously had no anxiety.
Persistent and excessive fear of a specific object or situation, such as flying, heights, animals, toilets, or seeing blood. Fear is cued by the presence or anticipation of the object/situation and exposure to the phobic stimulus results in an immediate fear response or panic attack. The fear is disproportionate to the actual danger posed by the object or situation. Commonly, adults with specific phobias will recognize that their fear is excessive or unreasonable.
The feared object/situation is avoided or endured with intense anxiety or distress. The avoidance, anticipation of, or distress of the phobic object/situation must cause significant distress or interferes with the individual’s daily life, occupational, academic, or social functioning to meet diagnosis. The symptoms cannot be better accounted for by another mental disorder or be caused by substances, medications, or medical illness.
For the diagnosis of a specific phobia, symptoms must be present for 6 months or longer
5) Separation Anxiety Disorder is a disorder that provokes anxiety regarding separation from home or major attachment figures beyond what would be expected for one’s developmental level. This can occur in children, adolescents, or adults, but is more commonly found in children.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder may include:
- Recurrent extreme distress when separation from home or attachment figures occurs or is expected
- Persistent, excessive worry about losing major attachment figures
- Persistent, extreme worry that something traumatic will lead to separation from a major attachment figure
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or other places due to fear of separation
- Persistent or excessive fear or reluctance to be alone or without major attachment figures (at home or in other settings)
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without being near a near a major attachment figure (or to sleep away from home)
- Repeated nightmares involving separation
- Repeated complaints of physical symptoms, including headaches, stomachaches, vomiting when separated (or anticipated separation) from major attachment figures
Duration for Diagnosis: at least 4 weeks in children; 6 months or longer in adults. Plus, in order for a diagnosis, the symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, academic, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, and symptoms cannot be better accounted for by another mental disorder or be caused by substances, medications, or medical illness.
6) Selective Mutism is a very rare disorder that’s characterized by a persistent failure to speak in certain social situations, such as to authority figures or classmates, despite engagement in speaking in other situations.
In order to be diagnosed with Selective Mutism, the duration must be longer than a month and not limited to the first month of starting school. Selective mutism must also cause impairment in social, academic, or occupational achievement or functioning. Selective mutism is not diagnosed if it is related to lack of knowledge or comfort with the spoken language required of the situation or is due to embarrassment from a communication or developmental disorder. The symptoms cannot be better accounted for by another mental disorder or be caused by substances, medications, or medical illness.
What Are The Symptoms of Anxiety?
There are a number of both physical and emotional symptoms that can be attributed to anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety are as follows:
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety:
- Pounding heart
- Upset stomach
- Frequent urination
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
Emotional Symptoms of Anxiety:
- Feelings of dread
- Difficulty concentrating
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling jumpy and tense
- Feeling like your mind has gone blank
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Derealization or depersonalization
Seeking Help For An Anxiety Disorder:
A psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional can properly diagnose and help treat Anxiety Disorders. There is no one laboratory test that can diagnose this disorder, but a physical exam along with mental assessments can give accurate information to determine whether treatment is needed. You can start off by going to your GP (general practitioner) who can get you started on certain medications and refer you to a therapist to continue your care. It’s highly important that you do seek help for anxiety disorders as they are manageable with treatment, which can majorly impact your quality of life.
Most treatment providers for anxiety-related disorders can be found in hospitals, clinics, private or group practices. Some also operate in schools (licensed mental health counselors, clinical social workers, or psychiatric nurses). In the mental health field, is also Telehealth in which mental health workers provide their services through an internet video service, streaming media, video conferencing, or wireless communication. Telehealth is particularly useful for patients that live in remote rural locations that are far from institutions that provide mental health services. Mental health providers that work in Telehealth can only provide services to patients currently located in the state in which the provider is licensed.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?
Anxiety disorders can be treated with medication, therapy, or both. A therapist can help figure out the best form of treatment to help each individual situation. Learning to manage stress and different situations will also help lessen the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
Types of therapy used to treat anxiety disorders:
Counseling: is a short-term form of talk therapy in which a therapist helps people develop strategies and coping skills to address specific issues like stress management, anxiety triggers, and/or interpersonal problems.
Psychotherapy is a longer-term type of talk therapy and targets many more issues, including behavioral patterns. The anxiety disorder of the person and his or her personal preference leads the therapist to the types of most effective therapies. The goal for psychotherapy is to help someone regulate their emotions, understand behavioral patterns, and manage stressors, and may include the following:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a short-term treatment to help people identify inaccurate and negative thinking in situations that cause anxiety-like panic attacks. CBT can be used in one-on-one therapy or in a group therapy session with others dealing with similar problems. CBT primarily focuses on the ongoing problems in a person’s life and teaches the development of new ways of processing their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors to help them develop more effective ways of coping with their life. This type of therapy works well for people who have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) is a specific type of CBT that can be used to treat PTSD and phobias. The goal of PE therapy is to help people overcome the distress they experience when reminded of past traumas or confronting their fears. With the guidance of a therapist, the patient is slowly reintroduced to the trauma triggers or reminders. During exposure, the therapist guides the person to use coping techniques such as mindfulness or relaxation therapy/imagery. The goal of PE therapy is to help sufferers realize that trauma-related memories (or phobias) are no longer dangerous, thus do not need to be avoided.
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a therapy that gets rid of the distress and emotional disturbances brought about from memories of traumatic events. Most often used to treat PRSD, it’s very similar to exposure therapy. EMDR helps people process the trauma they experienced so they can heal. During the therapy, patients pay attention to a back and forth movement or sound while recounting their traumatic memories. Patients continue these sessions until the memory becomes less distressing.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) uses a skills-based approach to help patients regulate their emotions. While primarily used for Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT is also effective for anxiety disorders such as PTSD. This treatment teaches patients how to develop skills for how to regulate their emotions, stress management, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) s a type of CBT that encourages people to see their positive behaviors even in the presence of negative thoughts and behaviors., with the goal of improving their lives and daily functioning despite their disorder. ACT is often used to help people with treatment-resistant Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression.
Family Therapy is a type of group therapy that includes the person’s family to help improve communication and develop better conflict-resolving skills and can be useful if the family is contributing to the patient’s anxiety. During this short-term therapy, the person’s family learns how not to make the anxiety symptoms worse and to better understand their loved one.
Common Medications Used To Treat Anxiety Disorders:
Antidepressants are used to treat symptoms of depression that can also be used to treat anxiety symptoms. In particular, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are the primary type of antidepressant used to treat anxiety. SSRIs commonly used to treat anxiety are escitalopram (Lexapro) and paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva). SNRI medications used to treat anxiety include duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor XR).
Buspirone (BuSpar) is a drug used in the treatment of anxiety, especially Generalized Anxiety Disorder. BuSpar is particularly effective at reducing the cognitive and interpersonal problems associated with anxiety. Unlike benzodiazepines, buspirone does not have a sedative effect or interact with alcohol. Most importantly there is a very low risk of developing a dependence on buspirone. Its side effects are minimal but can include dizziness, nervousness, and headaches.
Benzodiazepines are sedatives indicated for anxiety, epilepsy, alcohol withdrawal, and muscle spasms. Benzodiazepines have short-term effectiveness in the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and can help with sleep disturbances. A doctor may prescribe these drugs for a limited period of time to relieve acute symptoms of anxiety. However, long-term use of these medications is discouraged because they have a strong sedative effect and can be habit-forming and addictive.
Beta Blockers work by blocking the neurotransmitter epinephrine (adrenaline). Blocking adrenaline slows down and reduces the force of heart muscle contractions, which leads to lower blood pressure. Historically, beta blockers have been prescribed to treat the somatic symptoms of anxiety (heart rate and tremors) but they are not particularly effective at treating the generalized anxiety, panic attacks, or phobias.
How To Cope With Anxiety Disorders:
Learning Relaxation Strategies
- Relaxation strategies, such as deep diaphragmatic breathing, have been shown to lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, and reduce tension associated with stress. Engaging in relaxation strategies regularly can help you to reduce anxiety when it occurs, by allowing your body to switch from an anxious state to a more relaxed and calm state in response to stressors.
- Guided imagery is another relaxation strategy that can help reduce or prevent overwhelming anxiety. Guided imagery involves directed mental visualization to evoke relaxation. This could involve imagining your favorite beach or a peaceful garden that can distract you from your anxious state and allow your mind and body to focus on the positive thoughts and sensations of the imagery exercise.
- Learning relaxation strategies as a coping strategy for anxiety can boost your confidence that you will be able to cope with anxiety during other stressful situations. Relaxation strategies are a great tool for anxiety prevention because they are free, simple, and can provide instant results
- Count to ten. Or twenty. Or 100. Just do it slowly and allow your body to relax as you feel the tension leave.
Mindfulness and Meditation
- A simple definition of mindfulness includes the practice of being aware, without judgment, in the present moment. When feeling anxious, often times you might feel that you don’t have control over your mind or your body’s reaction to stress. You also might feel that anxiety causes you to focus and dwell on past mistakes or future fears.
- Laugh – humor may be one of the few ways to bring about that feeling of lightness. Use it.
- Mindfulness, meditation, and mindfulness yoga can increase one’s awareness of the world around you, increase control over how you experience situations, and how you respond. Loss of feelings of control is often a symptom of anxiety when a person is feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Practicing these strategies can help you live life in the present moment and enjoy the present things in your life that bring you joy
- Take a time-out – meditate, listen to music, get a massage, or try other relaxation techniques.
- Make a real effort to replace all negative self-talk with positive self-talk.
- Remember that stepping away from a problem often helps to clear your head and help refocus your energy.
Exercise, Eating, and Self-Care
- Volunteer your time – be active in your community. Not only can that help develop a great support network for you, but it can also make you feel good about your accomplishments.
- Another important prevention strategy for anxiety is to incorporate exercise into your daily activities. Exercise has been shown to decrease stress hormones that influence anxiety and also improve overall mood. Exercise can also help you disengage from worry and stress and focus on the current task of exercising. Exercises such as light jogging or brisk walking that can be incorporated into your daily activities can help reduce the impact of anxiety when it occurs.
- Eat well – don’t skip meals and make sure to keep healthy, energy-boosting snacks around.
- Exercise daily – not only is it good for you physically, but exercise tends to release the “feel good” chemicals from the brain. Exercise also helps you channel the nervous energy from anxiety disorders.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake – while coffee and beer are both delicious, both alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety and increase panic attacks.
- Not getting enough restful sleep can also trigger anxiety. Stress and anxiety can also interfere with sleep and cause you to stay awake at night. It can be a frustrating cycle when the stressors of the day and future worries cause you to stay up at night. Take some time to wind down before bed such as some of the above relaxation and meditation strategies. Also, instead of letting your mind continuously race at night, try putting your thoughts, worries, and plans for the next day on paper before bed. This will ease your anxiety about forgetting something you need to accomplish in the future and allow you to relax and rest.
- Celebrate all accomplishments – sometimes making it out of the house is something worthy of a celebration.
- Put your stress into perspective – is it as bad as it seems or is your mind playing tricks on you?
- A key component for the prevention of anxiety is awareness. Learning to recognize your anxious thinking patterns can help you manage and reduce them. Awareness of anxiety is the process of trying to identify the cause and/or trigger of anxiety so you can see how it affects your mood and behaviors. Awareness of the source of your anxiety is the first step to finding out the best way to relieve it.
- Break bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and do them piece by piece rather than focus on the big picture.
- Sometimes, there are things that trigger anxiety. It could be an exam, having to give a speech, performing in front of an audience, and/or the stress and anxiety related to parenting. Once you identify your triggers, you can start to practice coping strategies that can help calm your anxiety before and as it occurs.
- For example, if you know you often procrastinate, try out strategies that prompt you to start the task earlier and set realistic study schedules.
- After a long day of parenting, you often feel exhausted and overcome with anxiety by all of the things you need to do, work to schedule in “me time” so you have time to relax, exercise, or engage in an enjoyable activity that helps to reduce your anxiety.
- Taking care of yourself is important to be able to take care of others.
- Use a journal that you use to track your stressors, mood, thoughts, and behaviors impacted by anxiety. This can help identify the cause of your anxiety and notice when you may be engaging in unhelpful thoughts that increase anxiety.
- Remember – you can’t control everything.
Use Your Support System:
- Some research shows that people who have close and supportive friendships have a greater ability to fight mental and physical diseases than those who are isolated. The mind can be our worst enemy and having a supportive network that you can discuss and decompress your deepest worries can help prevent anxiety from consuming your life. Find trusted friends during times of anxiety that you can open up to; know that they will provide a listening ear and supportive feedback.
- Finding the right strategy that works for you is important. Maybe you don’t need to schedule “me time,” so you find another way to reduce your anxiety. A friend or therapist could be a great resource to turn to if you need help finding the right strategies to reduce your anxiety.
- Therapy services such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have also been shown to help with the prevention of anxiety symptoms from reaching a diagnosable disorder. Even if you do not have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, attending therapy could be a wonderful resource to aid in gaining strategies to reduce your stress and anxiety.
- Do the best you can – screw perfection. Be proud of your accomplishments, big and small.
- Join a support group – not only can you meet people who can support you, but you can also learn different and more effective coping strategies to manage your anxiety.
- Find a therapist – sometimes, an outside perspective may be just what’s needed to provide a sounding board and advice about controlling and managing anxiety.
How to Help Someone Who Suffers From Anxiety Disorders:
Listen. Be there to listen if they are open to talking about it.
Educate yourself. Learn about signs and symptoms and try to be knowledgeable about the disorder. That will relieve a lot of your own fear about bringing it up.
If a friend asks for help finding treatment, don’t be afraid to help them. They’ve reached out. Do all you can to find them someone to talk to.
Talk to someone yourself. If you are really close to the one suffering from an Anxiety Disorder, make sure you have an outlet, somewhere or someone to talk to so your mind stays clear.
Be fun! Don’t think that just because someone has this diagnosis it doesn’t mean they don’t want to have fun. They don’t always want to talk about their diagnosis. Lighten up!
Additional Anxiety Resources:
Mental Healthy is a UK-based website dedicated to providing support and advice to those who are looking to improve their state of mind. With free guides to anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and more. Mental Healthy provides a great online resource and community for those interested in living a healthy life from the inside out.
Anxiety Disorders Association of America – Offers great information and resources for local support groups. There is a “find a therapist” tool and personal stories that will offer support and a sense of community.
Page last audited 7/2018