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How to Help a Family Member Suffering from Anxiety

Anxiety, a common yet often misunderstood affliction, can silently weave its way into the fabric of family life. Recognizing its symptoms in a family member is the first step towards offering support. The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that anxiety may manifest as restlessness, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances (APA, 2021). A loved one might also avoid certain places or situations and exhibit a disproportionate worry that seems resistant to reassurance.

 

Here are five compassionate approaches to support a family member grappling with anxiety:


1. Listen Without Judgment: Create a safe space where feelings can be shared openly. Listen actively and attentively without dismissing their concerns (NAMI, 2020).

 

2. Educate Yourself: Understanding anxiety disorders is vital. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) provides resources that can deepen your comprehension of what your loved one is facing (ADAA, 2021).

 

3. Encourage Professional Help: Gently suggest seeking help from a mental health professional. Offer to assist with finding a therapist or to accompany them to an appointment (NAMI, 2020).

 

4. Practice Patience: Recovery takes time. Be patient and acknowledge small victories in managing anxiety (Mental Health America, 2021).

 

5. Take Care of Yourself: Supporting someone with anxiety can be draining. Ensure you're also looking after your own mental health (APA, 2021).

 

By addressing anxiety with empathy and understanding, families can foster an environment where healing begins and love remains the cornerstone of their bond.

 

References:

- American Psychological Association. (2021). Anxiety. https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety

- National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2020). Supporting Someone with Anxiety. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/January-2020/How-to-Support-Someone-with-Anxiety

- Anxiety & Depression Association of America. (2021). Understanding the Facts of Anxiety Disorders and Depression is the First Step. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

- Mental Health America. (2021). How to Help Someone with Anxiety. https://www.mhanational.org/how-help-someone-anxiety

Photo of Juhnny Mcclung on Unsplash

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