How to help people with anxiety

People can develop anxiety at any age and it can have a huge impact on every aspect of their life.

It’s highly likely that, at some point in your life, you will experience some form of anxiety, or at least come into contact with someone that has anxiety-based depression or an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders can be caused by many different feelings, situations or life events, and they can cause a wide range of mental and physical feelings. Leaving individuals feeling scared, nervous and anxious, anxiety can take over a person’s life. It’s important that it is addressed as early as possible.

Why do people suffer from anxiety?

Everyone has feelings of anxiety from time to time, however an anxiety disorder is a lot more serious than having feelings of worry and fear in response to the situations that naturally cause us to act this way.

If you have an anxiety disorder, these feelings can take over your life, having a significant impact on every aspect. From racing thoughts, difficulties concentrating, feeling irritable and heightened alertness, through to uncontrollable overthinking, changes in appetite and dissociation, there are many symptoms that could indicate you have an anxiety disorder.

What causes anxiety?

There are lots of reasons for developing an anxiety disorder. For some people it’s in their genetics and they are simply more anxious than others. For others, anxiety can be caused by a certain trauma or life event, such as losing a job, a relationship breaking down, or any other big change.

Drugs, coffee, and alcohol have also been linked to heightening feelings of anxiety in those that already suffer from the condition.

What types of anxiety disorders are there?

There is a huge spectrum of anxiety disorders, all with their own symptoms.

These include generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, body dysmorphic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, hair pulling and skin picking.

The good news is there are lots of treatments and medication available to cases of anxiety including therapy, self-help guides and low intensity treatments.

If you are interested in helping someone with anxiety and working as a therapist or counsellor, there are lots of courses that aim to provide the knowledge, skills and expertise you will need.

How to help people with anxiety

Helping someone with anxiety can be challenging however, there are lots of ways to offer support.

From being reliable and encouraging them to try new things and get out of the house through to asking how you can help, encouraging them to explore support options and simply being there.

There are lots of things you should not say to someone with severe anxiety

Anxiety is not only difficult for the person suffering but also for their friends, family and colleagues. It can be difficult to know what to say or do, as well as frustrating if you do not truly understand their condition.

Here are some of the things to avoid saying to someone with severe anxiety:

  • Pull yourself together
  • Get a grip
  • Stop overthinking it
  • It’s not a big deal
  • It’s all in your head
  • Calm down
  • Stop being dramatic
  • Drama queen
  • I know exactly how you feel
  • Why won’t you tell me how you are feeling

Instead, you should listen, respect people’s feelings and support them however you can. And remember, people suffering with anxiety often struggle to open up and communicate their feelings.

If you're interested in becoming a counsellor yourself, why not order our course prospectus for 2020.