More than 40 million Americans struggle with an anxiety-related disorder annually. 18% of adults are afflicted with anxiety disorders, but unfortunately, less than 40% seek treatment. The prevalence of anxiety disorders means that it is more likely than not that you have a friend or loved one who struggles with anxiety. You may wonder how to help someone with anxiety or how anxiety treatment in Tampa, FL can help, especially when symptoms become disabling.
Severe anxiety can cause regular panic attacks, making it hard to find fulfillment in social interactions. Many times, people who struggle with anxiety isolate themselves and begin withdrawing from friends and family. Anxiety and panic attacks are not only emotionally crippling but can cause embarrassment and shame.
Psychiatric treatment centers offer support not only to those that suffer from anxiety disorders, but also their loved ones who struggle to understand how to help someone with anxiety.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders are a type of chronic, incurable mental health condition that causes overwhelming feelings of anxiety.
Anxiety disorders can include:
- Panic attack disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Other phobias
Agoraphobia can cause you to feel extreme panic or anxiety when you leave your home or enter an unfamiliar environment, making it difficult to leave your home. Panic disorders may cause uncontrolled anxiety attacks, which are difficult to alleviate without medication or treatment. Anxiety may also cause severe difficulty with talking to people, especially strangers.
Often, many people struggling with anxiety turn to alcohol or other drugs to deal with the symptoms. However, these are not healthy coping systems, and self-medication often turns to abuse and addiction. An important consideration for seeking treatment is identifying the need for dual diagnosis treatment that offers therapies for anxiety as well as substance abuse. Through this treatment, serious addiction and anxiety symptoms are alleviated, so each individual can focus on healthy coping skills for the long-term.
This creates a dangerous cycle because anxiety can make it extremely difficult to reach out for help or leave your home to attend treatment. Shame and the stigma around getting mental health or addiction treatment holds many people back. The best way to help someone with anxiety is to help support them, especially with the first step of contacting a mental health or addiction treatment center.
How to Help Someone With Anxiety
If you are wondering how to help someone with anxiety, there are several easy ways you can help. The first step is understanding symptoms of anxiety are beyond their control. Offering compassion when they experience anxiety symptoms or panic attacks can help them work through their feelings and emotions. Telling someone with anxiety to just get over their feelings can significantly worsen them. Additionally, this only makes your friend or loved one feel more ostracized and alone.
Avoid stigmatizing or making your friend or loved one feel judged. Instead, offer positive reaffirmations that their symptoms don’t change the way you view them.
Some other ways to help someone with anxiety include:
- Help your loved one or friend address problems instead of avoiding them
- Practice anxiety relieving activities, like yoga, with your friend or loved one
- Help your loved one or friend find treatment for their anxiety
- Provide support during anxiety attacks, such as encouraging deep breathing
Reaching Out for Help
If you are struggling to understand how to help someone with anxiety, educating yourself about anxiety disorders is a great first step. Offering support and guidance to a loved one or friend who is struggling with anxiety can help them avoid feeling stigmatized. South Tampa Psychiatry offers a broad range of treatment programs, education, and family therapy to help you or a loved one cope with an anxiety disorder.