Anxiety is the most common symptom of patients seeing a psychiatrist or a psychologist. About 5% to 8% of people each year are believed to have an anxiety disorder, about the same percentage have depression which often accompanies anxiety. Indeed, learning to cope with stress reduces the risk of depression. The major anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety, panic disorders, agoraphobia, and other specific phobias.

Women are two or three times more likely to be diagnosed as being anxious than men are. We don’t know why, perhaps because they admit fears more readily than men, see doctors more, get therapy more, have fewer rights and opportunities, are more abused and deserted, have to care for children alone and often work outside the home too, etc. Girls are also more prone to anxiety than boys, Blacks more than Whites, and the poor more than the middle class.

Most people think it’s the busy executive who is most affected by stress. they would be wrong. People most likely to suffer from stress are ordinary worker who is under heavy pressure to perform and has little control over decisions.  Those most under stress are the factory worker, waiter, someone who has fixed hours, limited breaks, rigid procedures, and little to say about conditions, solutions to problems, time off, lay offs, etc. Executives, business owners, managers, professionals may feel stressed but they are less affected by it. They are more motivated, more flexible, more challenged, and they can make decisions and run their own lives; this seems to be related to their being 2 to 4 times less likely to become sick from the stress of their job. The good news is that in any job there are ways to relax (breaks, exercise at lunch, support from peers, calming fantasies, deep muscle relaxation, having hopeful positive thoughts, keeping a journal of your feelings, etc.).

So, someone who lives with an alcoholic is in a prime situation for stress.  They are under pressure but have little or no control over the situation that they find themselves in.  he aim of this website is to change those conditions and to give you back control of the situation.


What is the difference between worry, anxiety and depression?  Anxiety previews all the bad happenings that might happen.  Depression reviews bad things that have already happened.   Worry is anxiously anticipating that some awful, scary, unpleasant events are going to happen and includes trying to think of ways to avoid these unpleasant happenings .

Worry is an unpleasant, upsetting activity that we’d like to stop but we can’t.  Sometimes we can hardly think of anything else and can’t sleep. Sometimes our efforts to solve problems results in our imagining more problems than solutions; thus, we never find a good place to stop worrying.

The stream of worries goes like this: “he is going to get drunk again … we are going to fight … neither of us will get any sleep … he is going to miss work again … he’s going to get fired … we won’t be able to pay the mortgage … we’ll be homeless .. our marriage won’t survive … Oh, God, what if I couldn’t take care of the kids…”es…  Each little worry expands into a three hour, award winning movie or flows into an unending elaboration of other worries. 

A chronic worrier (about 15% of the population) estimates that he/she worries unconstructively like this for several hours a day! !  On the other hand, the non-worriers, (about 30%) of us, say they worry less than a hour and a half a day or benefit from their worries (planning).  The chronic worrier thinks so much about possible troubles that he/she doesn’t have the time to carefully and completely solve problems.

How can a worrier stop worrying excessively?

There are a number of ways to reduce worry.  Your answer might be – obviously much of your worry is due to the situation you find yourself in; living with a drinker, and if that were to drinking change so would the worry.  But that may take some time.  So here a re some other strategies in the meantime.

Rather than trying to stop worrying try and control when and for how long you worry.  Put aside half an hour and have your worry then and focus on solutions rather than possible negative outcomes.  So when you find yourself starting to worry try and refocus your mind on what you were doing, or you can just say to yourself – I’ll pick up this worry later.  It is difficult at first but it gets easier with practice.

Other ways

  • Counter the worrying behaviour with some method of relaxing or massage.
  • Exercise, long walks are great stress relievers
  • Try practicing confident and happy self-talk.
  • Divert your attention with your favourite TV show, music or author.
  • Find a friend to talk to who will lend a sympathetic ear.
  • Check that you are not catastrophising (building a situation into something bigger than it is or pushing yourself to be perfect in every situation.  Learn to say (firmly) “It might never happen” or “The best I can do at the moment is good enough for me”.
  • Buy a book that will more fully help you understand what is happening and give you some strategies to cope.
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can be particularly helpful in the area of anxiety reduction.  (Note:  if you feel really depressed or feel that you cannot cope, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor).

We hope that people will share with us some helpful strategies that they may have to reduce anxiety.  (see also the daily motivational and spiritual messages).