When to Seek Help for a "Stressed Out" Loved One

Making the decision to seek out professional support to manage challenging issues takes courage. Change can occur with therapy and it is an investment in yourself, your family and your future. There may be loved ones in your life that will benefit from the support that can be received in counseling as well.

So how do you know when to seek help for a stressed out loved one? The simplest answer is: therapy is helpful for anyone suffering with difficulties. Therapy is not just reserved for someone going through a major crisis but can be helpful for smaller changes and finding motivation and support for challenges across a wide variety of issues. When a loved one is stressed out, it may be that something else is going on besides just stress. Their issues may present as stress but in reality there could be underlying issues that can be addressed with help.

Although encouraging a loved one to get help is important, it may seem as though you are suggesting that there is something really wrong or unacceptable about them. Of course, you may worry that even with gently suggesting therapy, you will run into a conflict with this loved one. There are effective strategies to identify if you should seek help and how to explain this to your loved one.

Anger in Loved Ones

Are your loved one’s problems related to anger, aggressive language, or outbursts that cause problems at home, work and in the community? Have there been relationship troubles, career issues or legal problems related to the anger? If so, this is something that should be addressed immediately before the situation worsens or serious consequences occur. Stress can cause angry reactions when your loved one does not know how to respond to these feelings. Gentle confrontation using language that doesn't nag or lecture such as "Are you going to change your anger?" can be an effective starting point.

Anxiety in Loved Ones

Is your loved one worried excessively? Do they worry about the smallest issues or do they think a catastrophe is waiting to happen? Anxiety that is persistent, that doesn't seem to go away despite there being little need for concern, should be addressed. Anxiety can look like fear of leaving the house, fear of social interaction, or a constant worry about success or failure. Stress can contribute to these concerns. These thoughts and feelings can get better with therapy. Encouraging your loved one to come and speak to someone about their worries in order to help them make changes can start them on the road to recovery.

Regardless of the cause of the stress, therapy can be the right kind of help for your loved one. Seeking out support from a professional to help a loved one can start them on a path to make real, effective, lifelong changes. Don't hesitate to start addressing your stress today.