Helping with Anxiety: 6+ Useful Online Resources to Help You Support Your Friends & Loved Ones
Everyone feels anxiety from time to time. In fact, the feeling of anxiety likely has an evolutionary reason to exist. It can help us avoid danger, help us to prepare for future hardships, and can help us to prioritize how we allocate mental and physical resources to solve problems.
When we have an important interview coming up we may feel anxious, and this feeling of anxiety helps us to focus on preparing for the interview.
When our hunter-gatherer ancestors felt anxious that winter was coming, the feeling of uneasiness would push them to search for food and resources to help them get through these cold months.
As shown in these examples, when feelings of anxiety are the result of a balanced response to a tangible problem that the individual has some level of control over, they can in fact be helpful.
But for some people, their feelings of anxiety may be overwhelming, difficult to control, or unrelated to a specific event or problem. When this is the case, especially when this situation lasts for an extended period of time, it can result in what is known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
When someone is living with generalized anxiety, it can cause serious problems in their life. They may have difficulty at school or work, they may find it difficult to maintain relationships with friends, family, or loved ones, or they may develop further mental health issues, which is why it is so important to be patient, understanding, and supportive when dealing with someone with Anxiety.
How to Tell if a Friend of Loved One is Suffering from Anxiety
Though Generalized Anxiety Disorder is primarily a mental health issue, it can result in both psychological and physical symptoms.
An individual living with GAD may have psychological symptoms such as constant feelings of restlessness, worry, or stress. They may also have trouble focusing, organizing their thoughts, relaxing, or falling asleep.
GAD can also cause individuals to have physical symptoms related to the fight-or-flight response, such as increased heart rate, dizziness, flushed skin, or increased sweating.
While only a licensed medical professional can provide an official diagnosis for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, friends and family members can still provide support for an individual who may be experiencing these or similar symptoms.
The first and best way to help someone who is living with anxiety is to learn as much as possible about what they are going through, making an effort to understand the disorder, and to dispel myths and misunderstandings that we often see in movies, television, and popular culture.
Helpful Resources for Learning About Anxiety
When trying to understand what our friends or loved ones who are living with anxiety, it is important to explore official resources, but it can also be helpful to hear directly from other individuals who have or who have overcome GAD.
Official Anxiety Resources:
- National Institute of Mental Health – Anxiety Disorders
- The Mayo Clinic – Anxiety Disorders
- ADAA – Anxiety & Depression Association of America
- American Psychological Association – Anxiety
Living with anxiety can be frustrating, tiresome, and lonely, but with the right resources we can learn how to support those close to us who are living with anxiety-related mental health issues.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in psychology, Scott went on to work as a teacher and educational counselor while working towards his master’s degree. He has spent several years working with children and adults and has personal experience with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Dyslexia, and Depression.