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Caring For Someone With Anxiety: The Do’s And Don’ts

People living with anxiety require special attention and care, and there are different ways for you to provide them with proper support. When you have family members, friends, or colleagues with the condition, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do. The actions you take will play a significant role in their recovery process given that anxiety isn’t easy to handle.

It can be caused by several factors such as genetics, traumatic life experiences, withdrawal effects, and abnormal brain function. Anxiety attacks can be mild such that they can be treated using simple techniques like calming the individual down, or they can be severe and thus require more advanced anxiety treatment such as medication and therapy.

But because your loved one who’s living with the condition spends more time with you than with their doctor or therapist, you should learn the right ways to help them. Although your intentions are good, if you go for an inadvisable approach, you might end up making the situation worse.

The Do’s When Helping Someone With Anxiety 

When offering support to an individual with the disorder, know that everything you say and do would ultimately affect their recovery. Therefore, be mindful of every decision you make, and choose methods that’d benefit them the most. Here are just some of the things that are acceptable for you to do:


  • Keep Lines Of Communication Open


People with anxiety would want someone they can freely have a conversation with. Having someone to talk to helps them calm down and reduce the effects of their condition. Therefore, you should make them feel comfortable communicating with you. Ease their mind by encouraging them to share the things that make them anxious or worried and assuring them that everything’s okay.

To keep the line of communication open, ensure that you visit them regularly or talk to them via phone calls, texts, or video calls. You can also tell them some of the things that happened to you during the day or share other personal stories to show that they can trust you with anything.


  • Learn To Understand Them


When someone is overly anxious, they can be irritable and do things that may bother you. However, you should understand that it’s not their wish to make you feel that way as they’re trying to cope with the anxiety attack. Therefore, you need to be as patient and empathetic as possible.

When you recognize that their actions are due to their condition, you can build their trust in you. If at any point they feel anxious, they can comfortably approach you knowing that no matter what their concerns are, you’ll listen to them and help them. But if they sense that you don’t want them there, they’ll shy away from talking to you, and it may even trigger an attack.


  • Take Their Preferences Into Account


In caring for a person with anxiety, you should listen to what they say and what kind of support they prefer. Some people would want you to take them out for a walk, others may ask you to simply talk to them, and there are those who’ll be grateful to be given some form of distraction. One technique may work for one person and not work for another. 

Also, doing what they like would build a strong understanding between the two of you, and you’ll be able to learn more about how you can help them.


  • Be Aware Of Their Symptoms 


Symptoms such as aggressiveness, irritability, and restlessness are all common in people with the condition. These would vary depending on the person, so you need to observe how they act every time they feel anxious.

When you familiarize yourself with all of the possible symptoms, it’ll be easier to help your loved one even if they don’t tell you what the problem is. You’ll also be able to assess the degree of the anxiety they’re experiencing and take suitable measures such as seeking medical assistance.

The Don’ts When Helping Someone With Anxiety 

Some practices should be avoided when taking care of people with the disorder as those may exacerbate their symptoms. Here’s a list of what not to do:


  • Don’t Talk About It Often 


While one of the keys to helping someone with anxiety is by letting them share with you what makes them anxious in the first place, don’t let that be the center of your conversations. You should talk about other aspects of their lives that have nothing to do with their condition or anything negative.

If you ask them about the disorder outright, it may trigger an attack as they may start thinking about how they’re struggling to handle it. Therefore, steer away from this direction and only talk to them about it when they’re accessible and willing to or if they bring up the matter on their own.


  • Don’t Put Pressure On Them


Encouraging people with anxiety to do some of the things that make them uncomfortable is an essential step in helping them recover. However, it should be done gradually, and you should know when to stop.

Pushing them too much into facing certain scenarios or trying out things that make them uneasy may trigger an attack. Moreover, they aren’t suited to handling excessive pressure, which will harm their recovery, so be very careful about what you ask them to do.


  • Don’t Let Their Anxiety Affect You 


How you feel about a situation may influence how others feel. So if you let their condition get to you or let it impact how you feel at the moment, it’ll be harder for you to take care of that person. When they notice that you’re affected, they may assume that they have something to do with it and avoid opening up to you.

If you have any anxiety or distress, you should work on resolving it before helping someone else. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do anything good or beneficial for the other person.


  • Don’t Give Up 


As you care for an individual with anxiety, don’t expect an immediate turnaround. Healing is a process, so it’ll eventually happen as the disorder is treatable. Therefore, don’t give up on your loved ones. Instead, look for positive ways to encourage them and tell them that they’re progressing.

In cases where one treatment method doesn’t seem to work, you can gradually introduce another method that their doctor approves of.


Caring for and offering support to people with anxiety can be challenging. However, you’ll have an easier time doing it if you’re mindful about your words and actions. Put all of the tips above into practice so you can help your loved one deal with their condition.

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