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15 July 2009

Helping someone with anxiety

Do you know how you could help a family member with an anxiety disorder? The South African Depression and Anxiety Group offers advice.

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Do you know how you could help a family member with an anxiety disorder? The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) offers advice:
  • Do not make assumptions about what the affected person needs; ask them.
  • Be predictable; do not surprise them.
  • Let the person with the disorder set the pace for recovery.
  • Find something positive in every experience. If the affected person is only able to go partway to a particular goal, such as a movie theatre or party, consider that an achievement rather than a failure.
  • Do not enable avoidance: negotiate with the person with panic disorder to take one step forward when he or she wants to avoid something.
  • Do not sacrifice your own life and build resentments.
  • Do not panic when the person with the disorder panics.
  • Remember that it is all right to be anxious yourself; it is natural for you to be concerned and even worried about the person with panic disorder.
  • Be patient and accepting, but do not settle for the affected person being permanently disabled.
  • Say: “You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It is not the place that is bothering you, it is the thought. I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it is not dangerous. You are courageous.”
  • Do not say: “Relax. Calm down. Do not be anxious. Let me see if you can do this (i.e. setting up a test for the affected person). You can fight this. What should we do next? Do not be ridiculous. You have to stay. Do not be a coward.”

- SADAG, July 2009

 
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