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What is anxiety and how can you help someone suffering from it?

We all experience worry and fear, but for some people it is ongoing and intrusive. These are the people who suffer with anxiety and for them life can be very difficult. 

Last year in 2020, eight out of 100 people were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder according to data from the Mind charity organisation for people suffering from mental health illness


What is it?

Occasional anxiety is okay, we all have times where we are worried or afraid. Anxiety becomes an issue when these feelings become all-consuming and they have an impact on your everyday life. This can make you avoid work, school, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms.

What can trigger anxiety? 

There isn’t one specific trigger for anxiety, it’s different for everyone. But below are some common triggers: 

  • Childhood traumas or past experiences 
  • Exhaustion or build up of stress 
  • Being bullied, abused or harassed 
  • Money problems 
  • Feeling isolated or alone
  • Pressure from work or studies 
  • Long working hours 
  • Losing someone close to you 
  • Physical and mental health problems 
  • Drugs and medication
  • Many others


There is a huge range of treatments for someone suffering with anxiety but the first on that your GP will recommend will be self help. 

Self help involves focusing on your breathing and offers those suffering some coping mechanisms for when they are feeling overly worried or afraid.

If this doesn’t work the GP will offer you talking therapy and beyond that medication.

What can I do if my Family member/ friend is suffering?

It can be really difficult to watch a family member or a friend suffer with anxiety, remember that the best thing you can do is remain calm and support them.

Don’t put pressure on them 

If you notice your loved one getting anxious about a decision try not to get angry or frustrated. Don’t put any pressure on them, they will know when they are ready to face their fears.  It’s really important to be patient, listen to their wishes and take things at a pace that feels okay for them.

Try to understand how they are feeling 

Be kind, be non judgemental and be there to listen. Do all the research you can into anxiety and ask them about their specific triggers and the ways that you can help them.

Support them when it comes to seeking help

People with anxiety can be too nervous to call the GP and ask for help, this is something that you can support them with.  If they are too scared to leave the house you can call the doctor and find out whether they do home visits.

You can also take them to their doctors appointments and help them plane what they want to say when they are speaking to the GP.

Look after yourself 

Although it is important to make sure your friend/family member is okay, remember that you need to take care of your own mental health too. Make sure that you talk to others about how you are feeling and if you need it find support for yourself.

If you or someone that you know is suffering from anxiety, please contact or call Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774.