How you can support a family member suffering from anxiety?

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If your loved one is suffering from anxiety, you’ll likely be aware of how damaging the condition can be. Anxiety comes in many forms and can be triggered by an array of factors, but there are some simple steps to take if you want to improve the wellbeing of your family member – how can you best go about supporting a loved one with anxiety?

What is anxiety? – Anxiety is mental state in which we feel highly worried, nervous, uneasy, or uncomfortable. While it’s normal to feel anxious in certain situations and at notable points in our lives (this is linked to the ‘fight or flight’ instinct), it’s important to address the problem if you feel that your anxiety is impacting your quality of life.

What are the five major forms of anxiety? – The 5 most common forms of anxiety as diagnosed by medical professionals include generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social phobia, also known as anxiety disorder.

What causes anxiety problems? – Anxiety can be caused by a wide range of factors. We’re more likely to become anxious when we’re overworked, stressed, depressed, under financial pressure or physically or mentally unwell. It’s also common to become anxious after traumatic events such as having to make medical negligence claim after sustaining a surgical based injury, losing a home or the death of a loved one.

How you can help a loved one with anxiety – It’s best to consult with your family doctor for the best advice regarding potential anxiety treatments, but you can help your loved one by:

  • Understand their condition – If you’re caring for a loved one with anxiety, it’s important that you’re familiar with the specifics of their condition and diagnosis. People with anxiety may be overly tired and even rude and moody – this is normal, so don’t get offended!
  • Take your time – Remember that social situations can be difficult for people experiencing anxiety, so be patient and try to make your loved one feel safe and comfortable, even if that means giving that social gathering a miss.
  • Ease them through panic attacks – If your loved one suffers from panic attacks, learn how to help them cope with these by providing reassurance and support. Practice using grounding techniquesand encourage your loved one to focus on their breathing during attacks – counting out loud is also an effective way to weather the storm.
  • Encourage them to get out there! – While social situations may be tricky, it’s important that your loved one takes the time to get active, exercise and connect with the wider world. Encourage them to spend time walking, cycling or playing with a local team to boost self-esteem and confidence.
  • Encourage them to seek medical assistance – If your loved one is reluctant to go to the doctor, try to book them an appointment and encourage them to attend. Anxiety management is essential for their overall health and quality of life.

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