Anxiety Disorder,  Panic Disorder,  Self Help

What to do if a family member has an Anxiety Disorder

  1. Do not make assumptions about what the affected person needs; ask them
  2. Be predictable; do not surprise them.
  3. Let the person with the disorder set the pace for recovery.
  4. 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.
  5. Do not enable avoidance; negotiate with the person with panic disorder to take one step forward when he or she wants to avoid something.
  6. Do not sacrifice your own life and build resentments.
  7. Do not panic when the person with the disorder panics
  8. 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 the panic disorder.
  9. Be patient and accepting, but do not settle for the affected person being permanently disabled.
  10. 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 what you are feeling is painful, but it is not dangerous. You are courageous.”
  11. 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.”

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