5 Ways to Support Your Loved One with an Anxiety Disorder
Dealing with mental illness is not easy. It’s not easy for the person struggling with it, and it’s not easy for their loved ones. We all want the best for the people we love, and finding ways we can help a loved one with a mental illness is very important.
There are many mental illnesses, but dealing with each of these can vary by person and by condition. Anxiety disorders, for example, take patience and understanding when helping a loved one with difficult thoughts and physical symptoms of panic, anxiety, nerves, etc.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting an estimated 18% adults and 8% of teenagers and children.
Let’s say your daughter is suffering from panic disorder and has a big math test. Some of her symptoms may include feelings of being out of control, sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and feelings of smothering or choking. She is afraid to go to school and misses several days out of fear of another attack. At face value, a panic attack can appear to be signs of a much bigger health problem. But on the bright side, most panic attacks subside and physical health is maintained. But when a panic attack strikes, it could feel like the end of the world to the person struggling with an anxiety disorder.So what can you do to help your daughter through these attacks? How can you best be there for her while also providing a safe space to heal? Here are five ways to support your loved one with an anxiety disorder.
- Let your loved one know that you are there for them. Being a metaphorical or literal shoulder to cry on is very important for people with anxiety disorders. But also be willing to help them get professional help. Healing is a team effort.
- Find a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders. These professionals will have the best resources available to them to pass on to your loved one when they seek treatment.
- Help them come up with a plan of action for the next time a panic attack or anxiety takes over their day. Finding healthy coping mechanisms can help both you and them become centered and present. A therapist can also help with finding these strategies.
- Check in with your loved one. Ask them how they are doing, if they are worried or stressed about anything, and how their appointments are going. Be an active listener, and don’t offer advice when they are not asking for it.
- Take care of yourself, too. Dealing with somebody who struggles with anxiety can take a toll on you. Make sure you set boundaries, have your own coping strategies, and know that you are doing your best for yourself and your loved one. Remember that there is not just one solution for everybody, and that we all have unique struggles and needs.