Anxiety disorders develop in many ways. Their manifestation, frequency, and severity differ from one individual to another. For instance, many people experience anxiety when awaiting an important day in their life, for example: a job interview, a wedding, or when shifting to a new environment. Also, if you’re about to make an important decision in your life, like resigning or relocating to a faraway country, you may experience some form of anxiety as well.
More often than not, anxiety comes about when you’re experiencing fear or stress because of an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes, this disorder may be hereditary or because one has gone through a traumatic experience in their life.
With the current global condition of uncertainty and increased cost of living, many people are dealing with anxiety disorders. One of the primary reasons is the fear of what tomorrow holds. The ultimate result of this worry is severe anxiety, which, at times, needs medical attention.
If you want to know how to support a loved one through anxiety treatment, keep reading this article. Some of the essential things you can do include the following:
1. Encourage Them
Words carry a lot of power. They can make or break a person. The words you utter to someone might change their perspective towards life or completely shatter them. So, when dealing with an individual undergoing anxiety treatment, it’s best that you encourage them and show them that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’d also help if you make them feel that they’re going to emerge victorious after the treatment.
Even when, sometimes, their anxiety makes them throw tantrums or overreact, you need to be still and know that such actions aren’t deliberate. The more you understand and encourage them, the higher the chances of them healing.
Avoid using statements such as ‘I can’t believe you’re getting angry over such petty issues’ or ‘you must be crazy.’ Such remarks can destroy the individual and even worsen their condition. Instead, try speaking life unto them by using positive words.
Also, you can purchase motivational books on how to overcome anxiety disorders for them to read. Another option is to download videos of people who’ve gone through anxiety treatment and are in the process of healing to help give your loved one hope. Through this, they’ll feel that they’re not alone, and even borrow some tips to help them through their condition.
2. Try Listening
People who are undergoing anxiety treatment often try to avoid interactions with people; thus, they end up isolating themselves. The reason is that they fear judgment from others and sort of feel like they’re peculiar.
One incredible thing you can do if you have a loved one with anxiety is to create a safe space that’ll enable them to confide in you. Your aura should inspire them to be free with you and be comfortable sharing what they’ve been through, their worries, and how they’re feeling at the moment. Allow them also to tell you how their treatment sessions are going and if they’re helpful.
Something that’s similar among individuals with an anxiety disorder is that once they’re comfortable talking to you, they may repeat almost the same stories whenever you’re having conversations with them. For instance, if the cause of your loved one’s anxiety attack is rape, they’ll talk about it almost every single they’re with you.
Furthermore, you may have already given them a lot of advice and encouragement to the point where you don’t know what else to tell them. And, when you get to this point, the best thing you can do is to listen! You don’t have to say anything—most of the time, your presence is more than enough.
The more your loved one opens themselves up, the better they become. This allows them to let go of the negative emotions they’ve probably been withholding for so long. So, you need to realize that sharing is part of the healing process and a step towards attaining full recovery.
Never get tired—whenever they talk, give them your full attention so they may get the comfort they’re seeking. Also, avoid comparing them to anyone or judging them as they’re going through something that’s different from anybody else’s struggles.
3. Offer Transportation To The Treatment Center
If you live in the same house or vicinity as your loved one, you can volunteer to take them to see their doctor. You don’t have to participate in the session, but you can drop them at the treatment center, wait until their session ends, and take them back home.
On their way to and from the hospital, it’s essential that you show concern for how they’re feeling. You can also engage them in a conversation unrelated to their condition. For instance, you can discuss:
- A trending movie
- The countries that you’ve visited
- Your hobbies and interests
Ideally, you can discuss anything to help ease the tension between you two. By the time your loved one gets to the treatment center or home, it’d be great if they’re feeling calmer and more relaxed. So, keeping them company as they go to see the doctor is also a good way of offering support.
4. Ask Them About Their Preferred Support Style
In as much as there are many ways you can give a hand to your loved one undergoing anxiety treatment, there are specific things that would make them feel supported. Thus, aside from encouraging them and listening to them, you can also ask them about the type of support they want.
Some of the answers you’re likely to get are:
- Financial assistance because they may be spending a lot of money on treatment
- Emotional support and a shoulder to cry on, especially if they’ve undergone rejection or have abandonment issues.
- Help in planning and managing their schedules and tasks
- Assistance in taking care of their kids while they visit the treatment center
- Advice on how to deal with a difficult situation, like a stubborn or abusive partner
- A request for housing for a while until they’re mentally stable after treatment
Therefore, it’s essential that you avoid guessing what your loved one needs and ask about their preference and what they feel will work best for them.
5. Try Being Their Workout Buddy
Regular workouts can help improve your loved one’s mental health when undergoing anxiety treatment. Often, they may forget to exercise because of the overwhelming emotions or stress that they’re going through. Also, incorporating therapy into their schedule may cause them to forget about the importance of daily exercise.
When you notice this, it’s time to step in and be their workout buddy. You don’t have to compel them to exercise against their wish, but you can encourage them by telling them some of the benefits.
Examples of activities that you can indulge in together to help them get well as soon as possible and have better coping mechanisms include:
- Taking morning runs
- Jogging around the house
- Riding the bike
Try not to engage in intense exercises to avoid triggering issues, like panic attacks. You can use light exercise sessions to bond with them and help them divert their attention from the problems that make them anxious.
6. Go For A Therapy Session With Your Loved One To Understand Their Illness
One of the most effective forms of support you can offer your loved one is getting knowledge and insight about their condition. You’ll be able to understand them better if you know the nature of the illness and the issues that might have caused the anxiety.
Sadly, most families don’t take the time to understand their loved ones’ mental illness. In worst-case scenarios, others don’t even consider anxiety disorder as a big issue. Thus, they ignore every anxiety symptom their family member exhibits, believing that, in life, everyone is going through stress. Such ignorance, dismissal, and lack of proper awareness of mental health issues may cause the victim to get acute depression. It’s actually one of the major causes of why people commit suicide since they feel like no one understands them.
So, if you go for one of the therapy sessions as a family, the professional will guide you on some of the ways to handle your loved one with care, if at all you want them to get better. The therapist will also discourage you from using hurtful statements like ‘stop acting like a baby’ and tell you to be careful of your utterances.
You’ll also realize that anxiety isn’t a deliberate choice. It’s a condition someone gets themselves in after going through something. After the professional has finished educating you and giving you suggestions on the best way to handle your loved one, it’s fundamental that you implement those things immediately. This, plus medication, will help improve the patient’s condition.
Anxiety disorder is one of the common mental health issues that people are suffering from today. Apart from medicine, the love and support you give to your loved one can significantly help improve their situation. Therefore, you ought to encourage them more, listen actively when they’re speaking, and indulge together in activities like working out.
Moreover, learning about your loved one’s condition is good as you’ll handle them in a better way. Also, try to encourage them to heed the doctor’s advice and take all the medications. Your main aim should be to support them, to help them feel better and get back to optimum health and wellbeing.