Signs Of Anxiety In A Family Member

Nobody likes to see a family member suffer from a debilitating disease or illness. Many individuals try their best to eat healthier and stay active to avoid acquiring life-threatening diseases. Yet, some illnesses slowly creep up in your family, which you might be unaware of–anxiety. 

Knowing if a loved one has a mental illness could be challenging to determine. The thing about anxiety is you don’t see what’s going on inside someone’s head. Of course, the best way to diagnose this concern is by going to mental health institutes like Alvarado Parkway Institute. However, there are telltale signs to help you identify whether a family member is suffering from anxiety.  

Read on to understand the signs and symptoms of anxiety so you can help your family combat this debilitating mental illness. 

Anxiety At A Glance 

Being anxious or nervous about something is a normal emotion. We usually feel uneasy about a job interview, an upcoming exam, or even asking someone out on a date. However, excessive worrying about things you shouldn’t worry about is not healthy. 

In terms of mental disorders, anxiety is only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, anxiety is a group of mental disorders that causes an individual to experience debilitating fear over everyday situations. These worries become severe that can even disrupt a person’s day-to-day activities, like work, school, personal relationships, etc. 

Some of these mental disorders include: 

  • Panic Disorder, commonly known as a panic attack. It occurs when an individual experiences immense fear all of a sudden. People who are in panic typically experience chest pains, palpitations, and an increase in perspiration. 
  • Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by experiencing high levels of anxiety and fear in social situations. People with social anxiety disorders avoid social gatherings because they feel vulnerable and self-conscious, worrying about how others might judge them. 
  • General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Individuals with GAD suffer from irrationally worrying about normal daily activities despite the reality of the situation, having little to no risk at all. 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs in people who have experienced traumatic events such as natural disasters, serious accidents, terrorist attacks, wars, or even sexual abuse. 
  • Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder. Illicit use of substances like drugs or medication can increase anxiety in individuals. 
  • Selective Mutism occurs typically in children who decline to speak in situations outside of their home or family. 
  • Specific Phobias. Anxiety can also develop phobias in situations or objects such as heights, spiders, etc. 
  • Separation Anxiety. Contrary to common belief, separation anxiety can also occur in adults. This is a type of stress where individuals feel an excessive fear of losing a loved one. 

Signs And Symptoms 

According to mental health professionals, signs and symptoms of anxiety vary depending on the individual. These signs are typically the reaction of your body whenever you feel nervous or anxious. 

Here are some of the common symptoms of anxiety:  

  • Experiencing increased heart rate or palpitations
  • Always on edge
  • Continually worrying about impending danger 
  • Feeling tense, restless, or nervous all the time
  • Hyperventilation 
  • Inability to focus
  • Insomnia 
  • Heavy perspiration 
  • Trembling 
  • Always exhausted
  • Gastrointestinal problems 
  • Avoiding triggering situations or things 
  • Forming obsessive behaviors 

Causes Of Anxiety 

Modern science has yet to provide a definitive answer as to what causes anxiety. However, mental health professionals believe that anxiety risk factors vary per individual due to their unique life experiences. Those exposed to trauma, abuse, drugs, and stressful environments and more prone to acquiring anxiety are greatly affected. 

Several risk factors of anxiety include: 

  • Stressful environments or situations. There are several stressors we each have to deal with every day. Individuals exposed to hostile environments like abuse, violence, or traumatic experiences tend to form anxiety. 
  • Substance abuse. Anxiety can also be caused by withdrawal from drugs. 
  • Genetics. Anxiety disorders can be passed down from one generation to the next. 
  • Medical conditions. Serious medical issues in your heart, lungs, or brain can trigger or worsen anxiety. 

How Should You Respond 

As you identify anxiety symptoms in your family members, always remember to react with love and kindness. Whether your loved ones are aware or not, living with a mental illness that causes intense fear and nervousness is not easy. They need all the help you can give them without being judgmental. 

Validate your family member’s fears as much as possible. Avoid giving off comments about their worries being irrational, as that would only intensify how they feel. Acknowledge their concerns and fears; ask how you may be able to extend an arm to support them. 

In helping them recognize these signs, always show people with anxiety that you are concerned about their mental health. Encouraging them to seek professional help is undoubtedly beneficial to them, but remember to do it with positivity. 

Managing Anxiety 

Though recovery from severe anxiety may seem arduous, it is certainly treatable. As you or your family work on healing, follow these tips to help reduce their anxiety: 

  • Seek help. Although the signs and symptoms are present, it’s essential to get checked by your doctor. This can help you understand better what’s causing your anxiety. As your understanding of your mental condition improves, the more you’re able to counter its effects. 

Getting help is just a click away. Telehealth has eased the therapy process by introducing teletherapy: therapy using virtual means and trained and licensed professionals. This teletherapy provides an adequate assessment of the symptoms experienced. They also offer diagnosis and medication.

The benefits of this teletherapy are:

Telehealth utilizes well-trained professionals who are licensed by the government. It assures those who want their services.

It is also more comfortable for the family to chip in and support as they can actively participate in the sessions at the sofa’s comfort. The psychologists’ and counselors’ instructions and advice are carried out to the latter, as there are many accountability partners.

  • Exercise. Engaging in Physical activity can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Participate in activities you enjoy. If you’re not used to exercising, you can start by doing light activities like walking, light jogging, or swimming. Exercising helps release chemicals in the brain that improves your mood and enables you to feel happier. 
  • Eat healthier. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and high-quality protein. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate as they may worsen your anxiety. Limit your alcohol consumption as well because it can increase the risk of anxiety disorders.  Look for foods and supplements like kava; this plant can help alleviate the side-effects of stress and help manage anxiety symptoms.
  • Try supplements or alternative medicines. Some forms of stress and anxiety disorders can originate from deficiencies of nutrients such as Vitamin D. Topping off your healthier eating with appropriate supplements could therefore benefit your mood. You could also try remedies that are said to relax such as Kona Kratom products, chamomile tea, or CBD. Some supplements are known to have relaxing effects or conflicts with medicine, so speak to a professional first.

When To Seek Professional Help 

Knowing how severe a loved one’s anxiety is difficult to gauge. Here are a few things to consider to know when to seek professional help: 

  • When worrying too much begins to interfere with your loved one’s personal life, work, or relationship 
  • Your worries and fears become unmanageable 
  • Feeling depressed, resorted to alcohol or drug abuse, or have other mental health concerns along with anxiety 
  • Experiencing suicidal thoughts 

Anxiety causes fears and worries that may not solve themselves on their own. When left unchecked, stress can further develop and worsen over time. When symptoms escalate, do not hesitate to seek the help of mental health professionals. They will work with you to provide the best course of action in resolving your anxiety.

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