Each year thousands and thousands of people are diagnosed or are undergoing ongoing treatment for any one of a number of anxiety disorders which affect people either on a physical or emotional level. Because anxiety is thought to be associated with personality traits, thought processes and or chemical imbalance in the brain, treatment and recovery require both medication and other specific therapies. It is usually a ongoing long term process to full recovery which can take years to complete.
Directly related to this issue of time taken to overcome or gain control of the anxiety disorder is the need for support and assistance from family members and close friends. This support is critical for the self esteem of the sufferer. Because of the physical nature of anxiety symptoms sufferers tend to withdraw from being in the public eye. This increases the stress and anxiety levels as they then feel cheated and deprived from the social interaction that is normal in the workplace, church or going out to restaurants , shopping centres or visiting friends
There are many things that Family & Friends can do such as:
The Family can;
- Always remember that anxiety is a medical condition that requires medical treatment. Make sure the sufferer takes the required medication at the required times.
- Find out as much about the anxiety and the related treatment options and help provide some guidance
- Knowledge is power and gives you a much better chance of developing good coping strategies when times are tough
- Be patient, People experiencing anxiety need to come to some insight regarding there illness.
This is not always easy and takes time
- Know what to expect of the mental health system and be prepared to be assertive in seeking appropriate care for the family member. You may have to demand further assistance even after it has already been knocked back once or twice already.
- Link in with community support organizations that offer support and services that complement clinical services your involved with. They often provide educational programs, counseling and local support groups. Talking with like sufferers can also assist in seeking out trigger points for anxiety attacks and appropriate treatment s to assist management of the anxiety.
- Remember to stay health your self. Do not underestimate the impact of illness on you. You are often the rock that the recovery is built on. The patients anxiety, trauma and grief will impact on the whole family.
- Be prepared to seek external support to develop strategies that will assist in the management during the anxiety attacks.
- Assist the sufferer to get out into the public areas as and where you can to rebuild their self esteem.
A good supportive circle of family and friends can make all the difference, particularly to the mental state of the sufferer.
- Be a shoulder to cry on when things get rough which they will on occasions
- Provide support as a confident to the sufferer, who may want to talk about their concerns about treatments or medication etc to a non family member
- Support the family in times of need as the pressure of the anxiety attacks and feelings of depression start to get the whole family down.
- Maintain a social activity as before the anxiety attacks to help maintain a degree of normality and to help reduce the withdrawal from public activities.
- Help in the physiological component of the recovery by providing reassurance and support. This is important if a incident takes place where the sufferer may have made a fool
- Assist the sufferer with their particular symptoms such as relaxation techniques, slow breathing exercises and hyperventilation control.
Both the family members and close friends must realize and clearly understand that anxiety;
1. Is not just feeling tense.
2. It interferes markedly with a persons capacity to go about their everyday life
3. Is the most common of all mental disorders
4. Symptoms can be effectively treated.
Support and understanding of the sufferer is paramount to their recovery.