Anxiety and the COVID-19 Pandemic

These are unprecedented times. Many have noted the fact that we are currently living through a major historical event as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt virtually all aspects of our modern lives. Schools in every state are closed; millions of workers are telecommuting if they’re lucky, and out of work if less fortunate; the places usually teeming with busy people are standing starkly hollow and eerily devoid of activity. And there is still seemingly no end in sight to the coronavirus.

It should go without saying that these circumstances are more than enough to cause people to panic. Situations like these can actually contribute to panic attacks. There may be heightened levels of fear surrounding the details. These are genuine concerns. Fears about when the virus’s spread may finally end. Fears about the safety of yourself and your loved ones. Fears about the security of your financial interests and the health of the stock market. These things are out of our control, and while the situation worsens, you may find yourself developing symptoms of panic disorder, or more specifically, experience a panic attack.

The symptoms of panic attacks are wide-ranging, but they include a few that are particularly common. Chest pains and a “racing” heart are among the most frequently reported symptoms. You may also feel some difficulty breathing, and as shortness of breath is a sign of the coronavirus itself, the panic may only make it worse. Other common symptoms include a general sense of dread or impending dread and a loss of control overall. You should not fear, however, because panic attacks are easily treated.

The truth is that the uncertain nature of the ongoing COVID-19 situation only compels these fears and anxieties. It’s likely that many people all across the country are experiencing panic as reports about the situation continue to worsen. People are genuinely afraid to leave their houses to go about running normal errands, and the cooped-up feeling certainly does not help symptoms of panic and anxiety.

There is something that can help, however. As more and more people shelter-in-place, more healthcare providers are offering telehealth and online therapy options for their patients. There are plenty of people who regularly visit with their therapists who cannot afford to stop attending sessions. To promote general mental wellness, these options are beginning to take precedence to in-person therapy sessions thanks to its convenience, low cost, and privacy. But in the wake of a global crisis like the spread of the coronavirus, even people who do not currently see a therapist can and should start to consider these online therapy options.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) deals specifically in developing coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression. CBT can help a patient identify what factors are contributing to feelings of anxiety and depression and form new strategies for how to effectively reduce the occurrence of panic attacks. Similarly, Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (or EMDR) is another kind of therapy that has been shown to provide relief from feelings of panic, especially for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder. EMDR helps to target specific events or memories that are associated with dread or panic, and then takes those feelings and replaces them with more positive emotional stances. The result is that people start to feel more positively about negative things, and they have a system in place for dealing with panic in the future.

Both of these modes of therapy can easily be replicated in an online format, so there is no reason to believe that meeting remotely cannot help you. Because it can.

At Novus Mindful Life, we specialize in treating these kinds of problems, while promoting general mindfulness. We want the COVID-19 crisis to end just as much as anyone, but the good news is that we can help people suffering from coronavirus-related anxiety. We want you to know that you are not alone in feeling panicked by the state of the world today and that there are resources available to help.

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Our clinical staff at Novus Mindful Life is among the best-trained to provide lasting relief from the symptoms of panic and anxiety, whether from the past or from the events of today. You can find healing in the ease of online therapy. Call us today and schedule an appointment with someone on our team. We all need someone to talk to through this pandemic, and we need to take care of ourselves. Novus Mindful Life is here for you.

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