Did you know that anxiety is the leading mental health disorder in the United States? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 18% of the population is struggling with anxiety in various ways. The question is, how then is anxiety affecting couples?
How anxiety and stress affect couples
Anxiety is expressed in various ways including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Phobias, panic attacks and others.
When one partner is affected by an anxiety disorder, the stress level of the couple is heightened. Conflicts increase. Life may become unbearable for the couple.
If a partner has social phobia, he or she will want to avoid social activities. He or she may hesitate to attend family gatherings and other important social events. The other partner may struggle with these tendencies. Their social life may suffer for fear of always leaving one partner behind.
A spouse suffering from extreme anxiety might not be able to be employed. Financial demands increase the strain on the family. The stress level rises as well.
Stress is a definite killer of intimacy between couples. If a couple is not intimate, they start to pull apart. The partner with anxiety feels guilty and may blame himself or herslf for what has occurred.
How to support the partner with anxiety?
The surest way a couple can prevent their love despite anxiety challenges is through understanding and support.
The following steps can help a spouse support the other through their anxiety:
Learn more about the anxiety your partner is going through. Observe carefully how he or she behaves and find out more about the disorder from a professional or from the internet.
Encourage your partner to seek therapy. Emphatically explain to your partner how much your life as a couple can improve if you both find a way to cope with the disorder. Offer to go with your partner for the sessions.
Be patient. Therapy is a process. It might take some time to register any improvements. It would help if you could ask the therapist to involve you in the treatment plan so that you can offer support.
Never trivialize the anxiety condition or the triggers. You may never understand your partner’s experiences.
Finally, make sure that you also take care of your own mental health. Establish habits that will help in managing your stress levels. Having a clear mind will enable you to offer loving support to your partner.
Surprisingly, anxiety is one of the most treatable mental disorders. The following are some of the treatment procedures that might help:
• Therapy sessions are highly effective in empowering us to deal with anxiety.
• There are certain medications that are also effective in treating anxiety.
• Behavioral exercises are effective in controlling stress. A therapist can suggest which physical activities are most effective.
In conclusion, anxiety can put a lot of pressure on a couple. However, with love and support, many treatment methods can help the couple cope with the condition and experience freedom from stress and anxiety.
Feel free to ask questions, leave your comments or schedule an appointment.