Mental health

8 Things You Should Never Say to Someone With an Anxiety Disorder

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”

~Anais Nin

Dear Readers,

Recently, it has come to my attention that many people in my life do not understand anxiety disorders, and though it may never be intentional, the words I am hearing are hurtful if not altogether incorrect. So, here are the facts both in general, and in relation to my personal experience. Finally, 8 things you should never say to someone with an anxiety disorder.

Did You Know?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

My Diagnoses

Mixed Bipolar Disorder

-Mixed features refers to the presence of high and low symptoms occurring at the same time, or as part of a single episode, in people experiencing an episode of mania or depression (which may or may not include psychosis). In most forms of bipolar disorder, moods alternate between elevated and depressed over time. A person with mixed features experiences symptoms of both mood “poles” — mania and depression — simultaneously or in rapid sequence.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

-Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster. Families of victims can also develop PTSD, as can emergency personnel and rescue workers.

Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, flashbacks, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common, and for most people, they go away over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and cannot function as well as before the event occurred.

Panic Disorder

-A panic attack is a sudden strong feeling of fear. You’ll have four or more of these signs:

Pounding or fast heartbeat


Trembling or shaking

Shortness of breath or a feeling of being smothered

A choking feeling

Chest pain

Nausea or stomach pains

Feeling dizzy or faint

Chills or hot flashes

Numbness or tingling in the body

Feeling unreal or detached

A fear of losing control or going crazy

A fear of dying

An attack usually passes in 5-10 minutes, but it can linger for hours. It can feel like you’re having a heart attack or a stroke. So people with panic attacks often wind up in the emergency room for evaluation.


-If left untreated, panic disorder can sometimes lead to agoraphobia, an intense fear of being outside or in enclosed spaces.

It’s not unusual to worry sometimes. But when your fears keep you from getting out into the world, and you avoid places because you think you’ll feel trapped and not be able to get help, you may have agoraphobia.
With agoraphobia, you might worry when you are in:

Public transportation (buses, trains, ships, or planes)

Large, open spaces (parking lots, bridges)

Closed-in spaces (stores, movie theaters)

Crowds or standing in line

Being outside your home alone

You may be willing to go just a handful of places. This cuts down on the chances of panic. You may even dread leaving your house. But the good news is there are treatments that can help.

8 Things You Should Never Say to Someone with a Mental Health Condition

*”You need to relax.”
*”Get it together.”
*”Get over it.”
*”You need Jesus.”
*”You need medication.”
*”It’s always drama with you.”
*”What’s your problem?”


Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

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