With the outbreak of the coronavirus affecting millions of lives in different ways, we can’t help but wonder what would happen next. While the vaccine for the COVID-19 is yet to be seen, a growing number of population are starting to show symptoms of anxiety, according to numerous reports from the previous months.
The pandemic mentality
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated on their website that the current health crisis we are experiencing are creating stress among children and adults. According to them, such feelings of fear and worry can overwhelm people., especially when there is a new disease. Many factors are at play particularly with this pandemic: the mandate to practice social distancing, lockdowns and isolation, increasing number of cases and death tolls, and even uncertainty for the future. Worrying over these things are totally understandable, however, they should still be addressed.
The Atlantic wrote on an article, reflecting on previous outbreak with SARS, that the health consequences could possibly live through even after the pandemic. The experience could even be worse for people who are in the frontline, those who are critical conditions, or those who have close friends or family member to die from the disease.
On a survey conducted May with over 42,000 responses, the Census Bureau recorded 34 Americans having clinical anxiety symptoms brought about by the pandemic for every 100 people. Furthermore, 20 percent of the respondents admitted to have both anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms. Moreover, it is worth noting that younger adults are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, such that the elderly are likely to be critically ill due to the virus. Last year, experts worried that a high rate of suicide cases were reported among teens compared to other age demographics.
Signs and symptoms of stress
In an opinion article authored by physician and journalist Ford Vox published on CNN on Wednesday, the anxious feeling we are having is not uncommon, however, he said that “keeping your brain constantly plugged into a smartphone—a handheld conduit to all the world’s problems—is decidedly unnatural.”
CDC enumerates different side effects of extreme worrying during the pandemic, which include change in sleeping patterns, difficulty sleeping, and trouble sleeping, among others.
Some ways to cope
Dr. Vox, in the same article for CNN, suggested that one way to handle the anxiety or stress is to minimize total screen time, which may be counterintuitive especially now that most of our everyday life turns digital. He highly recommends still to this “conscious disconnection,” which he himself too is attempting to do currently. And like most experts suggest, the writer-physician says exercising and diet are both important not only for the heart but also “calm your pandemic brain.”
Meanwhile, amidst the spread of misinformation, the CDC highlighted that it is crucial to cease in the sharing of rumors to prevent stress among other people. Educating oneself and those around you can reduce the stress or anxiety that the health crisis brings forth. The CDC also suggested people to seek professional help, especially when the growing concern is affecting your day-to-day routines.