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Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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My husband has been diagnosed and suffering with social anxiety

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My husband has been diagnosed and suffering with social anxiety disorder and a paranoid personality disorder. It has been difficult living with him, but we have two children and I need to learn how to deal with his disorders. He is afraid to see a psychiatrist, so our family doctor prescribed Buspar and Xanax for his anxiety. He has been working hard at recognizing his paranoia and attempting to self-control his anxiety, but it's extremely difficult to do. He's tried to get counseling, but time on both sides, seems to be a problem. My question is how do I help him at home, and can I help him or deal with it myself? I have a lot of family that tends to visit me, and he has none, so he becomes extremely tense and I was wondering how can I make the experience a little less tense for him and try to find ways of including him in family activities without pushing him or causing him more anxiety? Also, in a way the kids and I can enjoy them ourselves? When he's tense, he gets angry.
Hi there. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties you husband is having. The combination of those two disorders is going to be very hard for both of you to deal with. The medication can certainly help with the anxiety, and thus can also help somewhat in the treatment of the PPD. Therapy, of course, is considered the first line of treatment for PPD, so it would be best if you could keep encouraging that. But if that doesn't seem to be an option then I would suggest the following. First, see if the Dr. can also prescribe and antidepressant medication (an SSRI) such as Lexapro or Prozac, which can help with some of the resultant issues such as anger, tenseness, irritability and suspiciousness. Second, you will need to work on being very open, honest, and transparent in your interactions with him. Don't allow anything to look like you are hiding anything or that something is going on without his knowledge. Because he is aware and working on this also, have a lot of open conversations about how he is feeling, how he is perceiving things, and what he needs in order to help him control his thoughts. Finally, when you have family visiting, allow him to decide whether or not he wants to participate. Encourage him to do so, because if not, he will likely become paranoid about what is going on without him. But talk with him and allow him to be in control of whether or not he wants to participate. Have in tell you what he needs and do your best to provide it - within reason, of course. The main thing is that he knows that you are on his side. In the end, it may be helpful for you to seek some therapy on your own, just to help you better deal with all of this yourself. Let me also recommend this book: Overcoming Paranoid and Suspicious Thoughts: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques by Daniel Freeman. This will give your husband some self-help tools, and just by reading it, you will also have a little more insight into how he thinks and looks at things.

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara

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