How to Help Someone with Anxiety

What you’ll learn here:

  • There are many ways you can take steps to help a loved one with anxiety.

  • It's important to check in with and help loved ones who are experiencing anxiety issues.

Do you have a loved one in the Wichita, KS area who's dealing with severe anxiety? It can be challenging to know what to do to support them during such a difficult time. Fortunately, helping someone with anxiety is possible when you take the right approach.

Recognizing the Signs of Anxiety

It's essential to familiarize yourself with the signs of anxiety disorders, so you'll know when a loved one needs support.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety can manifest itself differently from person to person. Some may experience numerous signs, while others may only exhibit one or two. In general, anxiety symptoms often include:

  • Restlessness

  • Agitation

  • Excessively thinking about or voicing worries

  • Avoiding normal social interactions

  • Irrational behaviors or fears

Sometimes, anxiety can lead to panic attacks, which may cause:

  • Heart palpitations

  • Trouble breathing

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Chills or hot flashes

  • Tightness in chest

  • Sense of impending doom or death

Panic attacks can often mimic a heart attack and should be taken seriously.

The Side Effects of Anxiety Issues

Sometimes, people may not exhibit symptoms that point directly to an anxiety problem. However, they may demonstrate some side effects that are worth noting. These may include:

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Weight loss or gain

  • Irritability

  • Muscle tension and pain

  • Difficulty concentrating

How to Help a Loved One With Anxiety

When someone close to you is struggling with anxiety symptoms, these four tips can turn you into a valuable source of help. If your loved one is located in or near Olathe, KS, or Wichita, KS, St. Anthony's Behavioral Health Hospital can also be a helpful resource for you.

1. Be a Listening Ear

Those who are suffering from severe anxiety often find it calming to vent about their fears. Having a safe space to speak truthfully can offer comfort and relieve stress. Sometimes, a good conversation with a friend can also be a welcome distraction from anxiety symptoms. Try to listen without judgment or advice.

2. Don't Pressure Them

If you've never experienced it yourself, it can be challenging to know what helps with anxiety. Many people assume facing your fears head-on will help you overcome your concerns. However, this approach isn't usually effective and should always be left to professionals. Pressuring your loved one to tackle anxiety head-on will likely only make matters worse.

3. Offer Encouragement and Validation

While you may not be qualified to create a treatment plan for anxiety, you can still encourage your loved one in healthy and positive ways. First, recognize that their feelings are real and valid, even if you may not understand them, and try not to depreciate the situation. Ask open-ended questions that show your concern for their happiness and wellbeing.

4. Don't Be a Problem Solver

If anxiety is crippling a friend or family member, you may be tempted to come to the rescue by removing the source altogether. However, eliminating normal, everyday responsibilities and interactions to avoid an anxiety attack isn't helpful in the long run. It doesn't treat the heart of the issue, and the anxiety will likely manifest itself in new ways instead.

When to Seek Help for Anxiety Issues

For some people, anxiety can be a short-lived response to sudden changes in life. However, if symptoms persist and start to interfere with a healthy, normal lifestyle or lead to feelings of depression, it's time to seek professional help. St. Anthony's Behavioral Health Hospital has two convenient locations in the Olathe and Wichita areas for those suffering from anxiety. Contact us today to learn more about our inpatient and outpatient services and how we can help your loved ones choose the path to recovery.