anxiety intervention

Anxiety Interventions

Anxiety disorders affect nearly 30% of the population, making them the most common mental health diagnoses, according to the American Psychiatric Association. With so many people experiencing symptoms of anxiety, it’s easy to overlook the potential severity of these disorders. However, this type of mental health issue can cause significant impairment in a person’s functioning, and they may be unaware of the impact it has. When this happens, it may be time for loved ones to consider an anxiety intervention to bring attention to the effects this diagnosis has.

Severe Anxiety Symptoms

Most people with an anxiety disorder will have mild or moderate symptoms, but some will experience severe diagnostic signs. When this occurs, people are typically unable to complete tasks and participate in regular life functions. Some common signs of a severe anxiety disorder include*:

  • Intense fear of locations or situations, resulting in avoidance
  • Inability to complete work, school, or other life requirements due to anxiety
  • Uncontrollable panic 
  • Fears that persist despite rationalizing the situation
  • Extreme avoidance of anxiety triggers

*This is neither a comprehensive list of symptoms nor a replacement for medical advice. An official diagnosis must come from a medical or mental health professional.

Staging an Intervention

Because anxiety symptoms can vary in intensity, determining when to intervene is challenging. Generally, it’s time to confront this issue when:

  • A loved one can no longer go to work, school, or out of their home due to fear.
  • The person has symptoms for a long period of time that continue to worsen or aren’t improving.
  • They do not see an issue with their behavior or avoidance of situations.
  • Their symptoms negatively impact relationships and work performance.
  • They refuse to seek professional help for their anxiety.

Some people with high levels of fear and panic won’t see an issue with their behavior because they view it as a coping mechanism. In order to protect themselves, they build metaphorical walls in front of potential triggers. They learn to cope in unhealthy ways and develop habits that they normalize over time. 

Intervention for Anxiety

Because it’s often difficult for the person struggling to see the problem, loved ones tend to be the first people to note an issue. An intervention focused on anxiety symptoms is especially challenging since this person already exhibits high levels of fear. However, when done well, the results of these conversations can be life-changing. Here are some practical tips to encourage a loved one to participate in an intervention:

  1. Let them know how and when this conversation will take place. This helps them know where they are going and when to expect it. 
  2. Tell them the general purpose of the meeting. They don’t need to know all the details since this will come out in the intervention itself, but providing context helps alleviate stress. 
  3. Give them time to plan and process. This is not a conversation to force on someone with anxiety suddenly. Without time beforehand to mentally prepare, they are likely to shut down in the conversation. 

Interventions With Whitman Recovery Service

Mental health interventions can be especially challenging due to the sensitive nature of the conversation. At Whitman Recovery Service, we help families get their loved ones the treatment they need for their mental illness. Symptoms often worsen over time, and those suffering become more secretive and unpredictable. Our priority is to keep participants safe while helping them see the issues at hand. If your loved one is struggling with severe anxiety, contact our skilled intervention team today. Our mental health services are available nationwide.