Perhaps you have wondered if you or maybe your partner may have an anxiety disorder. There are several different types of anxiety. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder results after someone has been exposed to a traumatic experience. Panic Disorder causes people feel symptoms of panic that come out of the blue. Generalized Anxiety causes people to worry about anything and everything. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder causes unwanted intrusive thoughts that lead to ritualistic behaviors.
Anxiety disorders can become debilitating for some people. Anxiety can cause people to have difficulty sleeping. It can also cause increased irritability and can lead to avoidance of things that cause the anxiety to increase.
Anxiety is treatable and manageable with proper treatment. Through therapy and sometimes medication, people can often benefit greatly. However, many people with anxiety disorders do not seek treatment.
When one partner has anxiety, it can impact the relationship in many ways. If you suspect your partner may have any anxiety disorder, but they have not yet sought treatment, talk to them about it. Be supportive and do not be surprised if they are resistent to getting treatment at first. Encourage them to talk to their doctor if they are not willing to try therapy. Educate yourself as much as you can. If they are not agreeable to therapy, you can always go to therapy for yourself.
If your partner is willing to get help, be supportive of their efforts. When appropriate, be willing to join their treatment. Depending on the type of anxiety, the therapist may want to give you some information and exercises you can do with your partner to help them.
For example, if your partner has a panic disorder that causes them to avoid large crowds, the counselor may want to do some exposure therapy. This may require your partner to go into public places with the purpose of de-sensitizing themselves. The counselor may have some specific recommendations on how you can help your partner with this.
Anxiety disorders are treatable. If your marriage is impacted by anxiety, be sure to communicate with your partner. Discuss your concerns and work together on developing a plan for treatment.