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Panic Disorder and Relationships

Panic and Anxiety Can Complicate Your Relationships

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Updated November 15, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

If you or someone in your life has been diagnosed with panic disorder, you most likely have experienced the challenge that this condition can have on relationships. Both personal and professional connections can suffer due to the impact of panic disorder on social relationships. However, there are many ways to develop and maintain healthy relationships while living with panic disorder.

Panic Disorder and Anxiety at the Workplace

The symptoms of panic disorder and agoraphobia can be especially difficult to manage while you are at work. You may feel worried that your coworkers will notice your anxiety and negatively judge you for it. Perhaps you even worry about having a full-blown panic attack while at the workplace.

Many people with panic disorder also find that specific phobias and avoidance behaviors are negatively affecting their professional lives. For example, you may have fears that make your commute to work difficult, or maybe morning anxiety is adversely impacting your entire workday. Despite these challenges, there are ways to cope with panic disorder while on the job.

Dating Anxiety

Dating can be nerve-wracking. It can be even more intimidating when you have been diagnosed with an anxiety-related condition. If you are a single person with panic disorder, you may find dating a challenge at times. For example, you might worry about how the other person will perceive you, especially if you are showing any of the physical symptoms of panic and anxiety. You may even be concerned about having a panic attack while on a date or having to explain some of your avoidance behaviors to your date.

Despite these potential setbacks, that doesn’t mean that you are unable to find a healthy and satisfying romantic relationship. Don’t let panic disorder symptoms get in the way of your next date. These articles offer some dating tips to help you relax and have more fun while finding a romantic connection.

Loneliness

It is not uncommon for people with depression or anxiety-related conditions to experience persistent and overpowering loneliness. As a person with panic disorder, you may have many issues that contribute to your feelings of loneliness. For example, you may be keeping the panic secret, in which you are trying to hide your condition from others.

Additionally, you may find that you avoid many social situations out of shame or fear of having panic attacks in front of others. At times, it can feel that others just can’t understand what you’re going through, and there is often concern that they will criticize you for your condition.

To combat loneliness, it can be very helpful to build up a support network. Your support network can be made up of family, friends, mental health practitioners, and other people who are also experiencing panic and anxiety. Enlist a few close family and friends who are willing to listen to your struggles and share in celebrating your progress. Seek out mental health clinicians whom you feel comfortable with and whom you believe are advocating for your health and wellness.

Also, look for opportunities to connect with others who are going through similar issues and can relate to your experiences, such as through group therapy or online support groups.

Help for Family and Friends

It can be difficult for family and friends to relate to your diagnosis of panic disorder. For instance, some loved ones may believe that you can just “snap out of it” or that you’re exaggerating your symptoms. Others may want to be helpful, but try to create over-dependence by not giving you the space you need to deal with your symptoms.

Even though it can be challenging for loved ones to understand your condition, their support can greatly help with your recovery. Family and friends can provide the best support through patience, compassion, and understanding. By being supportive through your journey, loved ones have the potential to help foster greater communication, trust, and closeness in your relationship together.

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