Not a day goes by that we don’t think about the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives. The pandemic has triggered anxiety symptoms for many people. The ongoing lockdowns, economic distress, loss of loved ones, and social isolation are wearing us thin, making it harder to cope. For anxiety sufferers, this is especially true.
According to a recent study, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and alcohol consumption have risen by up to 50% during lockdowns. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased many individuals’ post-traumatic stress, fear, worry, and even thoughts of suicide. Another study published in the Lancet, discovered that cases of anxiety have risen 26% globally since the beginning of 2020, a marked increase in the number of people diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Disruptions in daily life have exacerbated anxiety symptoms for those who were already struggling with anxiety disorders. Research has shown that those with pre-existing anxiety disorders experience higher levels of COVID-19 related stress than those without those pre-existing mental health conditions.
Having an anxiety disorder during the pandemic makes functioning even more difficult. Crippling anxiety can make you worry about what could happen to you or your loved ones if you or they develop COVID-19. This may result in going to great lengths to avoid socializing or going out in public.
How Does the Pandemic Impact Anxiety Disorders?
Common anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which is the most common. Given the threat of developing COVID-19, our anxiety is heightened.
Anxiety causes us to live in fight-or-flight mode, always anticipating whether something terrible will happen. Excessive worry can make you feel exhausted, overly tense, and unable to concentrate: these symptoms are exacerbated by the stress of the pandemic.
The pandemic has been particularly hard for individuals with panic disorder and other anxiety disorders. People experience more frequent panic attacks, and some have trouble wearing masks, thus finding going out in public and living a “normal” life very difficult.
People who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and high levels of anxiety may find that the pandemic triggers compulsions such as the need for frequent hand washing and checking for signs of infection.
If you have an anxiety disorder, there are treatment options, and experienced therapists at CAST Centers can help you address and overcome your symptoms.
Anxiety Disorder Treatment at CAST Centers
Various therapies help individuals with anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the gold standard. Group therapy can be an especially beneficial mental health treatment for those with anxiety, as it can be cathartic to share your experiences with others. It is important to find treatment for anxiety because if anxiety is not reduced, it can lead to substance abuse and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.
The Bottom Line
There is always hope. Living through a global pandemic is a challenge for everyone and creates additional mental health burdens for those living with anxiety disorders. However, with the right help from CAST Centers, you will be able to manage your anxiety and live a better life.