When you live with someone, you learn everything about them. Everything from their favorite toothpaste to how they like their morning coffee becomes first-hand knowledge. You also know about their struggles. Sometimes your partner may not be as forthcoming about everything that’s going on inside their heart and mind. Perhaps you’re noticing things that make you wonder if they’re struggling with hidden anxiety.
Here are five signs your partner has hidden anxiety if this is the case. Being aware of these signs can equip you to help them better.
Today, anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that approximately 18.1% of the adult population struggle with anxiety disorders every year. An anxiety disorder is characterized by intense feelings of worry or fear. These feelings can be so strong they affect the individual’s daily life. Sometimes people don’t realize they’re struggling with an anxiety disorder because, mostly, they’re high functioning. This type of hidden anxiety may be difficult to see.
5 Signs Your Partner Has Hidden Anxiety
Watch for these telltale signs of hidden anxiety.
1. Recurring Sickness stems from hidden anxiety
If your partner gets sick a lot, it could signify they’re struggling with hidden anxiety. They’re often ill because their body is responding to stress. This leads to high cortisol levels, which causes them to be susceptible to a weakened immune system. Other physical signs of hidden anxiety include
- Rapid heart rate
- Lots of sweating
- Shortness of breath
2 – Restlessness
Another typically hidden anxiety symptom is restlessness. If your partner is anxious, they may be unable to sit for extended periods. They might sit for a while, then suddenly jump up and walk around. It’s easy to assume they’re just high-energy people, but if you observe them, you may notice a pattern. Their restlessness is a stress reaction. When people who struggle with anxiety get in stressful situations, stress hormones get released, which causes a “fight or flight” response. This response should be reserved for life and death situations, but some people feel this regularly, which makes them restless. Along with restlessness, they may also have nervous habits like
- Constantly tapping their foot
- Curling their arms around themselves
- Fidgeting with their hands or fingers
3 – Hidden anxiety causes poor sleep habits
If you notice your partner has poor sleep habits, it could signify hidden anxiety. Lack of sleep affects your ability to function at work, at home, and with your family. It’s often a sign of mental health problems. Individuals who have hidden anxiety may have
- Trouble falling asleep
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Feeling tired all the time
4 – Lifestyle Signs
If your partner is drinking a lot of alcohol or eating poorly, it could signify they’re struggling with anxiety. Sadly, anxiety and alcoholism go hand in hand. It’s widespread for someone who struggles with anxiety to turn to alcohol to cope.
To help your partner, you should know the signs of alcoholism. The physical symptoms include the following behaviors:
- Sleep problems
5 – Someone with hidden anxiety will worry about everything
It’s normal to worry once in a while, but if your partner has excessive worries, it could signify they have hidden anxiety. You may notice their fear includes these:
- Worrying about daily life and activities
- They can’t control their nervousness
- Realize they worry too much but can’t overcome it
- Something easily startles them
- Trouble sleeping
- May twitch or tremble
- Frequent bathroom visits
Observe and keep track when you notice these habits. Knowing your partner’s anxiety symptoms will help you when you talk to them about your concerns. Having these observations will show them that their anxiety isn’t as hidden as they may have thought.
Other symptoms of hidden anxiety
Hidden anxiety looks different for different people. That’s why it’s difficult to notice these symptoms in your partner. Some other hidden anxiety symptoms to watch for include:
- Getting easily frustrated
- Fear of judgment
- Need to be busy all the time
How to help someone who struggles with hidden anxiety?
One of the best ways to help your partner who struggles with hidden anxiety is to learn everything you can about anxiety. Understanding anxiety helps you better understand what anxiety looks like and what triggers it. Hidden anxiety is difficult to diagnose. There are several types of this disorder. The most common types of anxiousness include
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): This disorder occurs daily for at least six months. Individuals with GAD worry a lot about daily things, such as school and work.
- Panic disorder: Panic attacks are intense anxiety and fear episodes. People who suffer from panic attacks have them repeatedly.
- Social anxiety disorder: Social anxieties cause individuals to worry about being judged or rejected by those in their social circles.
Someone with anxiety can have one or a combination of these disorders. Knowing about these disorders will help you spot symptoms.
Listen to your partner
Once you understand anxiety and notice the symptoms listed above, you can talk to your partner. Ask questions and show compassion when you speak to them about your concerns. If they feel judged by you, they won’t feel comfortable opening up about what’s going on. You may need to have several conversations before they feel comfortable sharing their struggles. The main thing you can do is to let them know you love them and are concerned about their welfare. Let them know you’re there for them.
Know what is helpful
Sometimes just talking about their anxiety can help them feel less anxious. It can be the beginning to help them worry less. Please encourage them to have better self-care, which will help their mind and body so they can better handle their anxiety. Their self-care will help them overcome the stress. Suggestions for self-care to manage their nervousness could be:
- Regular exercise
- Mindfulness exercises
- Getting adequate sleep
- Less alcohol and caffeinated drinks
- Healthy eating
- B complex vitamins
- Vitamin C supplements
- Fighting worrisome thoughts
Join your partner to exercise or practice mindfulness, so they don’t feel like they’re alone. Doing this will strengthen your relationship and provide opportunities for you to ask your partner how they’re doing with anxiety.
Help them get counseling
If your partner continues to struggle with anxiety, it may be good to suggest they seek counseling. Professional counselors will help them get to the root of their stress and suggest strategies to deal with the anxiety.
What shouldn’t you do?
Of course, certain things won’t be helpful when your partner is struggling with hidden anxiety. Avoid things such as