How to Care for Someone With an Anxiety Disorder

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Care for Someone With an Anxiety Disorder
Care for Someone With an Anxiety Disorder

How to Care for Someone With an Anxiety Disorder. The primary role of a caregiver when dealing with someone who has an anxiety disorder is to provide emotional support. If someone you care about has an anxiety disorder, it is crucial that you provide her with non-judgmental, compassionate support aimed at helping her heal.

Help Someone Cope With Anxiety

Understand that your primary role is to offer emotional support, not to treat the condition in any way. If the person you are caring for has a team of doctors, leave medical treatment of the condition up to them. If he does not, encourage the person to make an appointment with a mental health professional to evaluate his condition.

Be prepared. Seeing a close friend or loved one suffering from an acute panic attack or other outbreak of anxiety can be very difficult, even frightening, for the caregiver. Research the condition so that you have an idea what to expect.

Stay positive and offer positive reinforcement. Never, under any circumstances, should you chide or scold the person suffering from the anxiety disorder. Her fears are very real to her, and should not be dismissed in an offhand or callous manner. Sensitivity is key, especially since dismissive behavior often exacerbates the phobias and anxieties from which the patient suffers.

Get the patient out of the house! Encouraging normal social interaction to the greatest possible degree, given the circumstances, is a healthy step you can take to care for someone with an anxiety disorder. Even if this just means a trip to the grocery store together, it will help. Do all you can to see that the patient is not simply avoiding the real world or escaping deeper into his own.

Plan ahead. Most people suffering from anxiety disorders do not respond well to sudden changes or surprises. Observe and understand, to the greatest possible degree, the triggers of the person's anxiety and avoid them at all costs.

Be patient. You are performing a valuable service to your friend or loved one and, whether you know it or not, you are helping her cope with and heal from her condition.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experts universally point to the importance of limits on the amount of care you offer. Remember that the patient's doctors are his primary caregivers. Don't over-extend yourself to the point where it compromises your ability to work or socialize as your normally would.

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