How can you help a person with generalized anxiety disorder?

We have all experienced worry at some point in life. Especially in stressful or threatening situations. However, there are people whose anxiety is excessive, frequent and difficult to control. In these cases, it is likely that we are facing a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and we want to help.

People with this disorder worry excessively in everyday situations. They even often experience discomfort due to minor circumstances, such as being late for an appointment. This generates a significant deterioration in their social relationships, work and school.

That is why it is vitally important that they receive proper support and treatment. If you know someone with this condition, here's how you can help them feel better.

What is generalized anxiety disorder?

The American Psychological Association defines it as excessive anxiety and worry about a series of life events. Adults with this disorder are often preoccupied with job responsibilities, health, finances, family, and household chores. For their part, children tend to worry excessively about their competence and performance in school.

What is characteristic of this disorder is that anxiety and worry are difficult to control. Likewise, the intensity, duration and frequency of the discomfort is disproportionate to the occurrence of the threatening event.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) states that, for the accurate diagnosis of the disorder, anxiety and excessive worry must have been present for a minimum period of 6 months.

In addition, they are accompanied by the following physical and mental ailments:

  • Restlessness, nervousness or feeling of being trapped.
  • Fatigue.
  • Difficult to focus and insomnia.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle tension.

Sleep disorders are sometimes part of the symptoms of GAD.

Also read: Foods to avoid if you suffer from anxiety

How to help a person with generalized anxiety disorder?

Suffering from generalized anxiety disorder causes suffering. Consequently, the support of those around is essential to promote the well-being of the person.

However, many do not know how to offer the right help. It is common for family and friends to intervene with the intention of support, but they unintentionally make the situation worse. To prevent this from happening, consider the following.

Find out how it feels

It starts by asking him what he feels and how he feels. It is normal for me to answer "I'm good". However, if you notice him tense or agitated, you can challenge his statement, letting him know that he does not appear to feel as he says.

The idea is to know what you are experiencing and avoid assuming it from our perspective.

Listen and be empathetic

When communicating your emotions, feelings, and thoughts, avoid interrupting or giving unnecessary advice. In case of intervening, try to give empathic responses.

A common mistake is usually the dismissal of suffering. Thus, we try to alleviate your concern with comments such as "up that moods" or "do not worry". This kind of response, even if it lacks bad intentions, plays down your situation.

Validate their feelings

Being empathetic implies understanding, legitimizing and validating the feelings of the other. Avoid blaming him or trivializing what he feels. One way to do this is by telling him that you have also experienced anxiety and know how difficult it can be.

Transmits calm and serenity

Another common mistake is getting upset with the anxious person or distressing the discomfort they may be feeling. The ideal is that we are calm to be able to transmit that feeling to him.

For this, it is preferable speak serenely, take a relaxed body posture and let her understand that we are available to help her.

It is normal for those close to you to feel frustration and exhaustion during the process. If you feel this way, seek help. It's hard to be a support figure if you're not doing well.

Suggest and encourage her to seek professional help

If it is a person who has not received professional care and a diagnosis, the accompaniment and support of loved ones is vital to take that first step. Find out the contacts of specialists (psychologists, psychiatrists or mental health organizations) and offer them.

If she's reluctant to get help from a professional, don't force her to make that decision. One way to convince him is by informing yourself about the treatments available and showing him the benefits he can experience if he wants to opt for any of them.

Accompany during treatment

Try to offer help frequently, even if you have already started receiving support from a specialist. Support from close people has been shown to help patients experience greater subjective well-being.

Learn about generalized anxiety disorder to help

There are numerous investigations and publications on this disorder. The ideal is that learn as much as you can about its symptoms, treatments, and prevention. The more you know, the better you will handle the situation and the help that is offered will be more successful.

Some of the help in generalized anxiety disorder should come from the professional field.

Discover: The benefits of sport in anxiety and panic

Helping in generalized anxiety disorder is an important task

Generalized anxiety disorder can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are not focused on a single element. Also, nervousness is moderate, chronic, and there are no panic attacks. Generally speaking, it is about concern and that affects us all.

However, there are differences with ordinary worry. This is less serious and it is possible to put it aside to take care of other more immediate things.

However, the pathological is difficult to control and begins without apparent cause. While some patients with GAD can describe what makes them nervous, others cannot.

Many people with this disorder have lived with symptoms for years without seeking professional help. Perhaps it is because, in these cases, the degree of affectation is not so severe. However, clinical care is essential to achieve well-being.