Do you want to take our Anxiety
/ Panic Test?
Getting Help for Anxiety Disorder
Finding Help For The Family
When one member of a family has panic disorder, the entire family is
affected by the condition. Family members may be frustrated in their
attempts to help the affected member cope with the disorder, overburdened
by taking on additional responsibilities, and socially isolated. Family
members must encourage the person with panic disorder to seek the help
of a qualified mental health professional. Also, it is often helpful
for family members to attend an occasional treatment or self-help session
or seek the guidance of the therapist in dealing with their feelings
about the disorder.
Certain strategies, such as encouraging the person with panic disorder
to go at least partway toward a place or situation that is feared, can
be helpful. The director of one anxiety disorder clinic has developed
a list of suggestions for family members who want to help loved ones
cope with an anxiety disorder (see below). By their skilled and caring
efforts to help, family members can aid the person with panic disorder
in making a recovery.
Also, it may be valuable for family members to join or form a support
group to share information and offer mutual encouragement.
What to Do if a Family Member Has an Anxiety Disorder
- Don't make assumptions about what the affected person needs; ask
- Be predictable; don't 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 parkway to a particular goal, such as
a movie theater or party, consider that an achievement rather than
- Don't enable avoidance: negotiate with the person with panic disorder
to take one step forward when he or she wants to avoid something.
- Don't sacrifice your own life and build resentments.
- Don't panic when the person with the disorder panics.
- Remember that it's all right to be anxious yourself; it's natural
for you to be concerned and even worried about the person with the
- Be patient and accepting, but don't 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's not the place what's bothering you, it's the thought.
I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it's not dangerous.
You are courageous."
- Don't say: "Relax. Calm down. Don't be anxious. Let's 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? Don't be ridiculous. You have to stay.
Don't be a coward."
BACK TO THE LIST