What to do about anxiety in a relationship

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The number of people suffering from anxiety is increasing. It is becoming one of the big problems in the modern world and can present itself in many forms. If your partner suffers from anxiety it can place a huge amount of stress on you and the entire relationship. Here we share how to recognize if your partner suffers from anxiety and what you should do about it.

There are many forms of anxiety but the three most common are Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD which means that someone is anxious in a chronic way. If someone is anxious for more days in a 6 month period than they are not, they likely suffer from GAD. Panic disorder is when someone has panic attacks for no apparent or logical reason. Social anxiety disorder is the fear someone feels about being judged by others. It is far more serious than just being shy.

One of the big problems with diagnosing anxiety disorders is that they are serious issues but that there are smaller versions of them that aren’t such a big problem. Some people are shy and some people have social anxiety. While shyness is something you can deal with on your own, social anxiety is not. Too many people ignore their anxiety disorder as they tell themselves they are just being weak. The same is true for GAD. I have met so many people who describe themselves as an anxious person, but they do nothing about it. Too many people suffer from GAD and leave it unsolved. They assume it is a normal part of life but it doesn’t have to be. It is estimated that nearly 20% of American adults suffer from some form of anxiety disorder but that less than 40% of those actually seek help with it. This is not good enough.

If you are in a relationship where someone suffers from anxiety it can be difficult. It is likely putting a huge strain on the relationship and a huge amount of stress on you. Some people feel trapped in these relationships. You love the person and want to be there for them but you are increasingly taking the role of their crutch in life and it is not healthy for your relationship. 

You need to learn to be supportive and caring without being the solution every time someone has anxiety. To really solve anxiety they need to see a medical professional as there are many solutions in place that work. Relying on you all the time will not make the problem go away and will hurt your relationship in the long run.

If high levels of anxiety persist in a relationship it can lead to issues of trust. Both parties can feel frustrated as they are not having their needs met. The person suffering from anxiety needs their partner more and more to an unrealistic level. The person in the support role has needs too and these are being ignored. While being the hero, in the beginning, seems like a good solution, in time it will cause resentment. While it is important to be there for your partner make sure you are not prioritizing their needs over your own. You matter too. 

Of course, you still want to help your partner but try and do it in a healthy way. Focus on relaxation and self-care for both of you so that you are in a healing environment together. Try not to take all the burdens and responsibilities on yourself. The most important thing to realize is that anxiety disorders are a disorder and it can be solved, they are not a way of life. Seek help and improve your and your partner’s life. Don’t suffer needlessly.