Chronic anxiety differs from panic attacks. Panic attacks are acute reactions to certain stimuli. Chronic anxiety manifest itself as undifferentiated worry, fear and sometimes anger. Do you interact with someone who suffers from chronic anxiety? Is there someone in your life who, although he is a capable, caring person, seems constantly worried? Do you live who while being a loving, generous person, is also reactionary and irrationally explosive? Those are warning signs of chronic anxiety.
Chronic or pathological anxiety in a constant, while panic attacks are sudden, swift and generally short-lived. The anxiety is ‘free-floating’ or generalized, rather than specific. Typically the anxiety has been festering since childhood. The chronically anxious person has always acted nervous, withdrawn and worrisome; chronic anxiety doesn’t suddenly develop. If an otherwise calm, positive person begins to act chronically anxious, something has happened to cause this issue. Situational Anxiety may stem financial, health, interpersonal issues, but if the anxiety is out of character for the person, it is not chronic anxiety. Sadly, a chronically anxious person becomes more deep-seated and pervasive as time goes by.
Can you be in a relationship of some kind with a chronically anxious person and do anything to help? Yes, in two very important ways. First, do not personalize or let yourself be dominated by a chronically anxious person. Chronic anxiety, by its very nature is a black hole. No amount of comfort or reassurance can help because the anxiety is ‘gone systemic’. There is an old saying, ‘poor planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part’. Tweak that for the chronically anxious person; ‘chronic anxiety on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part’.
Next, you can encourage the chronically anxious person to seek medical and psychological help. Why medical help? Because it is just possible that a health examination may turn up a health issue that exacerbates the anxiety. And certainly anxiety has an effect on many medical conditions. Be supportive and encouraging. Let your loved ones know that you do not think that he is crazy. You simply care for him and want to see him feel peace. Fortunately, people with chronic anxiety typically respond very well to cognitive or reality therapy, once they make the choice to seek help.