SUPPORTING A LOVED ONE WITH ANXIETY
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Most people have experienced a general sense of anxiety in their lives, however, what differentiates those with an anxiety diagnosis is the degree to which they experience their anxiety. For those suffering with an anxiety diagnosis, this is more than a general sense of discomfort or worry, the anxiety does not go away and can become worse with time. Anxiety can and does have crippling and disabling effects that can significantly reduce or impair the quality of one's life and will interfere with basic living, such as relationships, work performance, and school performance.
WHAT TYPES OF
ANXIETY ARE THERE?

The American Psychological Association (APA) differentiates many forms of anxiety:
Generalized Anxiety is described as an excessive and general sense of worry about everyday life, activities, events, situations, and interactions that interferes with daily living.
Panic Disorders are defined as recurrent panic attacks, and an overwhelming combination of physical and psychological distress.
Specific Phobias are an excessive and persistent fear of a specific object, situation or activity that is generally not harmful. Patients know their fear is excessive, but they can't overcome it. These fears cause such distress that come people go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear.
Agoraphobia is the fear of being in situations where escape may be difficult o embarrassing, or help might not be available in the event of panic symptoms. the fear is out of proportion to the actual situation and causes difficulties in functioning.
Social Anxiety is defined as significant anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed, humiliated rejected or looked down on in social interactions. People with type of anxiety will avoid the situation or endure it with great anxiety.
Separation Anxiety happens when a person is excessively fearful or anxious about separation from those whom he or she is attached. the feeling is beyond what is appropriate for the person's age, persists and causes problems functioning.
SUPPORTING SOMEONE
 WITH ANXIETY

It is important to understand that if your loved one is suffering from anxiety their levels of anxiety are not only persistent and uncontrollable, they are commonly excessive and overwhelming. When an individuals worries and fears become extreme, unrealistic, and intrusive their ability to manage emotions and cope is impaired. Dealing with this level of anxiety on a daily basis may impact their self-worth, motivation and the way they perceive the world.

For those suffering from an anxiety diagnosis, it is not uncommon to feel alone and misunderstood. As a whole, they may struggle to talk about or explain where their worry is coming from and why. This is because, for some people living with anxiety, their constant fear may be irrational and though they understand this they cannot explain it away. These individuals may be hit with anxiety at any moment and the triggers for that anxiety may be unrecognizable. Anxiety can strike at any time and while some suffering from anxiety are able to identify things that trigger this reaction, other may experience having anxiety strike at anytime with no rhyme or reason.

As the Anxiety and Depression Association of America indicates, "Not everyone understands that someone with an anxiety disorder cannot 'just let things go'. This makes the struggle with an anxiety disorder even harder and may prevent one from looking for help." Studies have shown that anxiety works on the body, just like a disease and with excessive anxiety a person may begin to have anxiety about experiencing the anxiety itself. As science has shown there are many psychological , biological, and environmental factors that contribute to and result in anxiety diagnosis. For this reason, it is important to understand that someone cannot simply use logic to explain the anxiety away.

When supporting your loved one, it is important to allow them to talk openly with you without fear of judgement or ridicule. If you begin to get flustered try to reason away their fears, or tell them to get over it, this will only isolate them further. Knowing that you are there for them, to support them, and that you care about them despite their anxiety can go a long way. Try to be compassionate to their struggle, but remember to be aware of yourself and the way that their anxiety may affect you. anxiety can take a great deal of time and learning to overcome, however keeping hope and faith in recognizing the progress they have made can go a long way.

To learn more about what you can do to support your loved one, visit here.
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