GAD Coping 5 Tips to Help a Friend With Anxiety By William Meek Updated on January 18, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by David Susman, PhD Medically reviewed by David Susman, PhD David Susman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist with experience providing treatment to individuals with mental illness and substance use concerns. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print gradyreese / Getty Images People who struggle with anxiety often need more than psychotherapy and medication to overcome their problems. One of the most important factors is strong support from people in their lives. Friends and family can be an integral part of the treatment system and can make a difference in recovery time as well as sustain remission. The following are guidelines for helping your friend or family member with an anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety or social anxiety. What Is GAD? Be Supportive This may seem like an obvious rule to follow, but being a good, supportive friend can be tough work. Making sure that you can listen empathically without becoming frustrated, provide helpful suggestions, and reinforce continuing with treatment is not easy, but can be the difference between quick recovery and a long-term struggle. Try to avoid crossing boundaries that your friend has set up regarding what kind of help (or how much help) they want. Being respectful is a key component of good support. How GAD Affects Relationships Educate Yourself Do what you can to learn about anxiety symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Once you become more knowledgeable, it will be easier to avoid becoming frustrated and disillusioned. Help Find Treatment For people who have yet to be diagnosed or are fearful of seeking professional help, a supportive friend can be an important influence in taking the first step. Helping your friend find a treatment provider and encouraging them to follow through can show that you want the best for them. How GAD Is Treated However, be careful not to become overly invested in this process yourself. If your friend simply does not want to get help, then most methods of trying to force them can make the situation worse and could potentially damage your friendship. Look over the anxiety treatment guide for more information. If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. Get Your Own Help If you are in a very close relationship with someone significantly struggling with anxiety, you can also become worn out and frustrated. Activating your own support system can make the difference between helper burnout and continued support. Talking to a therapist, advisor, or close friend to get support is important, but make sure not to jeopardize the confidence your friend with anxiety has in you. Have Fun People with anxiety don’t only need folks to discuss their problems with, they also need friends that can make their lives fun and enjoyable. Without putting too much pressure on yourself or significantly trying to alter a strong relationship, being a fun and relaxing person to be around can make you an invaluable support. Living Well With GAD See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for GAD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.