8 things never to say to a person with anxiety disorder

 
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According to the South African Depression & Anxiety Group (SADAG), anxiety disorders are the most common illnesses in South Africa.

8 things never to say to a person with anxiety disorder

One in five South Africans is affected by one or more of these debilitating illnesses each year.

Struggling with anxiety can leave your loved one feeling isolated and misunderstood.

While a few words of encouragement can help to ease their anxiety, you could, however, find yourself saying something that has the complete opposite effect.

Here are eight things you should never say to someone with an anxiety disorder:

1) 'Calm down'

Telling someone with anxiety to calm down not only invalidates their illness, but also insinuates that it is as simple as making a choice to overcome their anxiety.

Mental illness is not a choice; no one would choose to live with debilitating levels of anxiety.

If they could control it, they would. By saying "calm down" you will only make them feel more frustrated with how they are feeling.

2) 'Get over it'

They may realise that their worry is excessive but find it difficult to control. Research shows that when anxiety takes over, rational thought disappears making it impossible to "get over it".

You would not tell someone with a broken leg to "just get over it and walk"; you would have empathy as the person is in visible pain.

However, for those who do not live with an anxiety disorder it is easy to dismiss it as something that can easily be overcome. Do not do the same and make this mistake.

3) 'So you're nervous?'


You get nervous when you're about to speak in front of people or go for an interview. Being nervous about rational things is not an anxiety disorder.

Studies have explored and defined the severity of anxiety disorders for years.

Equating nervous energy to an anxiety disorder not only invalidates the illness but also feeds into the narrative that anxiety is nothing more than just nervous energy.

4) 'It's all in your head'

This is probably one of the worst things you can tell someone dealing with an anxiety disorder. For someone going through it, it feels real and it is real for them.

Even though anxiety might cause their thinking pattern to be warped, when someone is in the grips of anxiety, it is impossible for them to see that.

5) 'You should just think positively'

Telling someone to “just think positively” is not going to pull them out of their anxious thoughts. Most likely, the person is already making positive affirmations to deal with the emotional and physical effects they are experiencing.

People who have anxiety disorders are still able to be happy and live lives that are fulfilled and filled with joy. By saying "You should just think positively", you are implying that having negative thoughts is the reason for their anxiety.

Instead, listen to the person express what is causing their anxiety. Sometimes saying nothing at all and just being present and listening is all you need to do to help someone struggling with anxiety.

6) 'Stop thinking so much'

A common aspect of anxiety disorders is obsessively overthinking things.

Anxious people definitely have a way of overanalysing situations, and it can be difficult for loved ones to watch. However, keep in mind that that's part and parcel of the anxiety disorder.

Avoid saying anything that might imply their feelings are an overreaction and that they are being neurotic

7) 'You'll grow out of this phase'

Mental illness is real and is definitely not a phase. Telling someone who is struggling with anxiety that what they are dealing with is just a phase dismisses the gravity of mental illnesses.

With medication, treatment and time, the person will learn to successfully manage their symptoms. Anxiety is likely something they will deal with to some degree for their entire life. It is not a phase…

8) 'Maybe you should have a drink'

It is true that alcohol relieves stress as it is a sedative that affects the central nervous system; however, certain substances such as caffeine, stimulants and alcohol have been found to increase anxiety.

Bear in mind that people with anxiety disorders are up to three times more likely to have an alcohol or other substance abuse disorder than anyone else.

Written by: Jemima Lewin

Fuente: www.health24.com
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