College Student Concerned About Over-Anxious Mother

How can I help my mom prepare for my upcoming departure for college? I'll be leaving in a few weeks, and I'm afraid she won't be able to handle it when I go. Like any good mother, she's very protective and worries about me. But it seems to me that her worrying is getting out of hand.

It seems clear that your mom is struggling with anxiety as you prepare to leave home. She’s probably wondering what to expect, and her uncertainty is compounded by how much she loves you. She wants the best for you, and maybe she fears the potential dangers that you’ll encounter out in the world. As you mentioned, she wants to protect you, and to that extent her feelings are healthy and normal for any parent.

Still, you seem to be afraid that your mother’s worrying may be getting out of hand and that she won’t be able to handle it when you leave for school. Though we’re not sure exactly why you’re concerned, it’s possible that something pathological is occurring. Healthy anxiety is one thing – it’s designed to help cope with the challenges of life and to perform at a higher level. However, anxiety disorder occurs when normal anxiety grows to the point where it does the opposite of what it’s intended to do. Instead of helping a person cope, it dramatically disrupts daily life.

Anxiety disorder isn’t just a case of bad nerves. It’s an illness that often has roots in both the biological makeup and the past experiences of the person affected. Not surprisingly, anxiety disorders frequently run in families. Virtually all anxiety disorders make a person feel anxious and worried most (or all) of the time, usually without any specific reason.

There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with its own distinct features. The good news is that there are a number of treatments available that can provide genuine relief. If you think your mother might be struggling with anxiety disorder, you should encourage her to seek professional help. It would also be in your best interests to do so, since this illness can pass from parent to child. Once you and your mom have a diagnosis, you can explore all of the different treatment options, including the risks, benefits, and costs of each. Focus on the Family’s Counseling Department would be happy to discuss the situation with you and provide you with a list of qualified, licensed Christian counselors practicing in your area. Don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation.


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