How do I know if someone has an anxiety disorder?

Are you worried that someone in your social environment might suffer from an anxiety disorder? Find out which indications and behavioral changes could point to this.

Are you worried that someone in your social environment, partner, family member, friend, acquaintance, colleague, fellow student, classmate or neighbor might be suffering from an anxiety disorder? In the following we have listed a few indications and behavioral changes that may point to this:

The person…

  • often cancels appointments (at short notice)
  • withdraws (also from activities that she/he used to enjoy)
  • misses appointments and/or is often on sick leave
  • complains of general malaise (e.g. gastrointestinal complaints, dizziness, palpitations)
  • frequently goes to the doctor because of these complaints, but no physical causes can be found.
  • Appears overtired, absentminded and/or complains of sleep disturbances
  • has difficulty concentrating
  • has panic attacks
  • Frequently asks for help, accompaniment and support with everyday things (e.g. shopping, driving, using public transport, etc.)
  • calls or messages frequently to ask if everything is okay (or when you will be home)

These or similar changes in your counterpart can of course also have completely different causes than an anxiety disorder. Perhaps he or she suffers from another mental or physical illness or is currently struggling with a challenging life event. In these cases, too, it is of course helpful to be offered support. It is best to address the changes you are noticing directly and signal that you are there for the other person and are listening. That alone can help tremendously.

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Es steht eine wichtige Präsentation an, deine Vorgesetzte:r lädt dich unangekündigt zu einem Gespräch ein, oder du bemerkst, dass dir ein Fehler unterlaufen ist. Vielleicht begleitet dich auch schon seit der Busfahrt ins Büro ein mulmiges Gefühl, dass sich auf einmal zuspitzt. Plötzlich fängt dein Herz an schneller zu schlagen, dir wird heiß und schwindelig: Eine Panikattacke und das auch noch am Arbeitsplatz! Jetzt gilt vor allem eins: Ruhe bewahren und abwarten.