How to Help Someone With Anxiety

FEATURED
April 22, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life
8 MIN READ

Top points

  • If you have a loved one who is struggling with anxiety there are steps you can take to support their journey towards mental health.
  • There are several types of anxiety disorders, but they share many of the same symptoms.
  • It is important not to try and be your loved one’s therapist, but rather to provide support and validation for what they are experiencing.

Anxiety is an incredibly difficult battle that many of us face. And watching a loved one go through it is its own kind of struggle.

But although it may sometimes seem debilitating and insurmountable, anxiety is something that your loved one can find relief from, and there is a role that you can play on their journey towards mental health.

A strong support system is an essential tool in overcoming mental health battles. Today, we’re going to talk about how you can provide the support your loved ones need as they work to overcome their anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

The first thing you can do for your friend is learn more about what anxiety really is and how to identify the symptoms. This way, you can pick up on how your friend is doing, even without them telling you outright.

First, it’s important to know that not all anxiety is bad. A little stress every now and again about a major life event is perfectly normal. But when worry and fear last for long periods, get progressively worse, and interfere with daily life, that can constitute an anxiety disorder.

The Different Types of Anxiety

There are a few different types of anxiety disorders. They all center around stress,  but they express themselves slightly differently.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety is characterized by long periods of stress, at least six months, about several different aspects of life. This stress affects a person’s normal life through restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and constant worrying.

Panic disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks. A panic attack is a short period of incredibly intense fear. The heart starts pounding; the person may tremble and shake and get very sweaty. They may get very short of breath and feel out of control or have a sense of impending doom.

Social anxiety disorder resembles a phobia. It is when people have a lot of anxiety surrounding social interactions. The fear of being perceived negatively by others causes people to avoid social situations.

Anxiety Symptoms

Although these types of anxiety are slightly different, there are some similarities between them. Everyone will have different symptoms depending on the person and how severe the anxiety is. Here are some mental and physical symptoms you can look out for in your loved ones that may indicate they are struggling with anxiety.

  • Nervousness or restlessness
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Intense emotions of stress or anger
  • Anxious thoughts
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of worry
  • Lightheadedness
  • May experience panic attacks
  • Rapid breathing
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excessive worry
  • Irritability
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Avoidance of things that trigger anxiety

This is, by no means, a comprehensive list, but hopefully, it can help you identify certain patterns in a friend or family member’s behavior that might indicate they are struggling. If you notice signs of anxiety in someone you know or interact with, treat them with compassion and have patience.

Unhelpful Strategies

Helping someone deal with their anxious behaviors is difficult, and some things that seem like they may be helpful could actually only further perpetuate a person’s anxiety. Here are some tactics to avoid when trying to help a loved one with anxiety.

Eliminating the Source

It may seem like a helpful gesture to help alleviate a person’s anxiety by going out of your way to change or get rid of the situation that is causing stress. But this method can work to enable and validate a person’s anxiety.

If this continues, their anxiety surrounding the situation will worsen over time, and more and more accommodations will need to be made to keep the person from experiencing stress.

At the end of the day, it’s an unhealthy way of dealing with anxiety because the burden gets placed outside of the self. A person with anxiety needs to find their own healing. Regular accommodations may only make it worse.  

Being a Therapist

Many people will attempt to provide advice for coping with anxiety, and some even go so far as to attempt to replace a professional therapist for somebody. And although the intentions in this situation are good, it is often ineffective and harmful in some cases.

Every person’s anxiety is different, and coping strategies that work for one person might not work for the next. A professional therapist is trained to effectively recognize how to best help the person handle their anxiety.

Don’t try to replace a person’s therapist. Leave that to the professionals. Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do for a person’s mental wellness.

Relaxation Techniques and Remedies

Now that we have a basic understanding of anxiety, let’s dive into some strategies you can implement to make a meaningful difference in your loved one’s path back to health.

A Healthy Conversation

The first thing to do is gently and lovingly bring up your concern. Many people with anxiety do not even realize they are struggling with it. Anxiety takes up a lot of headspace and makes it difficult to correctly perceive reality.

Having the courage to have that awkward conversation can help start a person on their path to a healthy mind. Gently tell your friend that you’ve noticed some changes in their behavior or lifestyle and ask them if there’s anything that has brought that on.

Express your concern in a way that lets them know you’re there for them and will do your best to walk through it by their side.

And then, listen. This should be the biggest role you have as a friend and supporter. Practice active listening and let them get their anxieties off of their chest. Don’t jump to provide advice or a solution. Just be there and provide positive reassurance and validate them.

Have Fun

Make a point to do activities with your friend that they enjoy. Anxiety has a way of making a person avoid things they used to love or suck the joy out of certain situations.

So go watch their favorite movie with them, take them out to do one of their favorite hobbies, or treat them to a nice meal. Providing normalcy and a positive aspect to life can make a big difference in a person’s anxiety, along with assuring them that you’re there for them.

Medical Treatment

Finally, as a friend, you can help the person seek out professional medical treatment. Anxiety is an illness that can be treated effectively. It is not a life sentence! Healing is ahead, and directing a person toward medical help can be one of the most important things you can do.

Cognitive Therapies

Therapy is an important piece of the puzzle when treating anxiety. Anxiety causes negative thought patterns that can be tough to break, and professional help can help root up those patterns and help a person develop healthy coping mechanisms. A mental health professional or clinical psychologist may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy to help with anxiety symptoms.

In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, can be very effective for anxiety. In CBT, a therapist can help identify harmful thought patterns or behaviors. Psychological problems are often, in part, based on these things.

In a therapy session, the therapist helps the person establish more healthy thought patterns and behaviors to deal with their psychological problems. It can be highly effective for helping to change thought patterns and develop better ones.

Ketamine Therapy

Another treatment that has recently come into the limelight is the psychedelic therapy of ketamine.

Ketamine targets a specific neurotransmitter in the brain called glutamate. By sparking glutamate production, ketamine can help to increase your brain’s neuroplasticity by allowing it to form new neural pathways.

This treatment could help treat anxiety and provide people with a new chance at mental wellness by creating a healthy brain with active neurons.

At Nue Life, we offer at-home ketamine experiences that are virtually supervised so that you can have your treatment in the comfort of your own home. Read here to learn more about ketamine treatment and how it can help with various mental disorders.

Conclusion

Anxiety is a challenging situation to navigate, and it’s difficult to know how to help a struggling friend. Still, hopefully, now you have a better understanding of how to hold your loved one’s hand as they take the next step into healing. Take the time to deal with anxiety at your own pace, no matter what type of healing journey you or your friend decide to take.

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment. What happens after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the real insights that lead to real relief.

SOURCES

Anxiety Disorders | National Institute of Mental Health

Anxiety disorders | Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

How to Help Someone with Anxiety | Health | Johns Hopkins Medicine

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? | American Psychological Association

Join the Beckley Academy
Mailing List

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Have you made up your mind to change your mind?

Need further advice?

Speak with our Welcome team.

Get Started
Begin your journey with us.
Sign up to the Nue Life newsletter.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
© 2024 NueCo Holdings, P.B.C. All Rights Reserved Reserved

NueCo Holdings, P.B.C. is a technology platform that provides services to affiliated independently owned and operated medical practices, and does not own, direct, or control the medical professionals providing the standard of care to their patients.
The Instagram logo.The Facebook logoThe Twitter, or X, logoThe LinkedIn logo
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.