The Caregiver's Journey

Anxiety

People with TBI often become anxious. Anxiety sometimes goes hand in hand with depression.

What you might see:

  • Constant physical tension
  • Excessive worry, racing thoughts
  • Feeling jumpy, irritable, restless
  • Racing heart, dry mouth, excess sweating, shakiness, or feeling short of breath
  • Feeling panic or having a sense that something bad is going to happen

How you can help:

  • Work with your family member to recognize problems that he or she may be worried about. Use problem-solving techniques to address them. This can help put the issue into perspective.
  • Suggest that your service member/veteran write things down or keep a journal. Sometimes this alone can be calming and can slow down racing and nervous thoughts.
  • Use redirection (i.e., try to change the topic or focus of interest to something else).
  • Ask your family member to talk with the doctor about medications for anxiety. Counseling may also help.
  • The healthcare team may suggest other ways to reduce anxiety. These could include relaxation training, controlled breathing, and other coping strategies. If they do, practice these strategies with your family member.