is anxiety contagious?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 6/20/2009 9:41 PM (GMT -6)   
So I've had anxiety for about 8yrs now.  I've finally got it until control with the right mix of meds.  I haven't had a full blown panic attack in over 4 years and this scares the heck outta me.  I feel like if I have one I'm gonna definitely lose control.  I feel like I am just hiding from my anxiety and not dealing with it.  I recently became friends with a guy who has had a very similiar experience with anxiety.  He is currently having a rough time dealing.  He has no insurance so is unable to go on meds.  It helps him to talk to me about it because he knows he's not alone and that I understand what he's going through.  I've noticed that since meeting him and always talking about his anxiety I feel like mine is slowly coming back.  I feel so mad at myself for letting it affect me again.  I mean it flares up here and there but I feel that if I don't fully deal with will continue to haunt me.  Its helpful to have this friend to talk to but he is unable to drive due to his anxiety so he can't come over and keep me company.  My head is just all over the place.  I haven't been to my therapist in awhile because I haven't needed to see him.  I feel like I need to somehow face my fears but I don't know how to go about that.  I'm recently unemployed and I know that is affecting my mood as well.  Any words of advice or encouragement would be great.  This forum has helped me sooo much and I thank you all for your support and your kind words.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/21/2009 12:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Amanda,
I suffer from OCD, an anxiety disorder. I also work as a Group Leader for my local Community Mental Health Center and am a Fully credentialed Addictions Counselor in Kansas. Anyway, I understand about your fear of the anxiety coming back. I have been fearful of that for years. But, I can assure you it is not contagious. I am around clients everyday who have difficulties handling their anxiety, and it does not affect my anxiety level. What does affect my anxiety level is not taking my medication, stress, and physical illness. It sounds like you are under a lot of stress as you are recently unemployed (that would stress out anyone and cause anxiety even in people who are not diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.) It also sounds as if you are feeling stress because you do not have many friends who can relate to you. When I was first diagnosed, I joined an online support group for people diagnosed with OCD. This support group provided me with other people I could talk to who could relate to me In addtion, I made it a point to help other people because helping other people makes you feel good about yourself!!! Staying busy is another coping skill. The longer amount of time you have to think about the anxiety, the more chance you have of it returning. If you can not find employment right now, then volunteer somewhere to keep yourself busy and to feel good about helping other people. As for your friend, if he is constantly being negative, that could be affecting your mood. I am a strong believer in positive affirmations and how negativity can bring a person down. I know in my state a person without insurance can get free assistance from their Community Mental Health Center, which includes samples of medications. There are many resources out there for people who can not afford their medication, especially psychological medications. I would be happy to search for such a place for your friend, if you would like. I would need to know the State you live in, though. Hope things get better for you!!!

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 6/21/2009 8:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Amanda,

Its no wonder your anxiety is ramping up, you are unemployed right now and Laughlin is right, that would even cause anyone to feel more anxious. I think Laughlin gave great advice about checking out your local community mental health center, I am sure you could get some assistance there. Good luck and keep talking to us, we are always here for you. Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way.

Big Hugs
Gail *Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 6/23/2009 12:17 AM (GMT -6)   
I will have to disagree as I see anxiety as being suggestible and therefore the same thing as contagious. Not contagious like a cold or flu. But I know if symptoms are discussed between people who are susceptible to anxiety, one or the other may pick up that person's symptoms.

I don't know if that's what is happening with you. As Nanners stated, you being unemployed probably doesn't help. I'm sure you feel badly because of that.

Also, you mentioned being frightened of panic attacks coming back. That tells me you haven't mastered the techniques or accepted your anxiety completely. When you are confident that a panic attack will not sending you running from a building or dialing 911, then you know you are "cured".

Tell your friend about this website and continue seeing your therapist. Just because you're feeling better doesn't necessarily mean that you don't need to see him any longer. You may still have past or present issues bothering you. Take care and relax!
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
60 mg. Prozac, Ativan as needed.
"Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets." Paul Tournier

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/23/2009 8:00 AM (GMT -6)   

Good Morning,

Anxiety is not contagious in the sense that a virus is contagious. However if you are regularly around a close friend with anxiety, I do believe it could increase your anxiety levels. Also there are the times when you are with a group of alarmists that are always ramping up the anxiety of everyone in the group. For instance, the person that sees doom in everything may cause you to start feeling anxious over something you were comfortable doing in the past.

It will always depend on the circumstances and how well you deal with your own anxiety. 

Take care and know coming here and talking with the members is a great way to decrease your own anxiety.

Gentle Hugs



Moderator: Osteoarthritis & GERD/Heartburn
Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, & Depression
*~* *~*
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others."
Not a mental health professional of any kind

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 6/23/2009 1:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Don't you hate those people who see the doom in everything?? You just want to shake them out of their pessimistic thinking. =)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
60 mg. Prozac, Ativan as needed.
"Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets." Paul Tournier

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