How can I help a loved one with an anxiety disorder?
Support and tips for helping someone in need.
June 5, 2019
Supporting a loved one who is experiencing an anxiety disorder can be difficult. You may not understand why your loved one feels or acts a certain way. Some people who experience an anxiety disorder feel like they have to do things a certain way or avoid things or situations, and this can create frustration or conflict with others.
You may feel pressured to take part in these behaviours or adjust your own behaviours to protect or avoid upsetting a loved one. Support can be a delicate balance, but you should expect recovery—in time. Here are some general tips:
- Remind yourself that the illness is the problem— anger, frustration, or behaviours related to anxiety are nobody’s fault.
- Be patient—learning and practicing new coping strategies takes time.
- If your loved one is learning new skills, offer to help them practice. Listen and offer support, but avoid pushing unwanted advice.
- Set boundaries and seek support for yourself, if needed.
- If other family members are affected by a loved one’s anxiety disorder, consider seeking family counselling.
From the Canadian Mental Health Association. For more information on anxiety disorders, click here or call us at 1-555-444-3333
If you are in distress and need immediate help, call us now at 1-800-267-2001.