The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to one or more mental health
conditions, one of them being anxiety. Is there a possible treatment for
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries around the world initiated nationwide lockdowns to help slow down the transmission of the virus to their citizens. The lockdown forced many citizens to stay at home, halt any unnecessary outings, started the work-from-home trend, and only allowed people to head outside for essential needs.
However, even though the intent of having lockdowns to protect the people from the virus, it also gave the people inside their homes one or more various mental health conditions. Some have known that themselves, while others haven’t yet. One of those common mental health conditions that many have experienced during the lockdown period was anxiety. But what are the current treatment methods for COVID-19 related anxiety issues? Is there a specific form of treatment?
Anxiety and Stress Disorders During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The common mental disorders that most people have and are experiencing during the current COVID-19 pandemic are anxiety and stress disorders, according to Psychiatric Times. Dr. Tonmoy Sharma, author, and mental health specialist, emphasizes the increasing importance of acknowledging and treating these conditions during the pandemic. Aside from that, there are several other mental health conditions some might have experienced, such as the constant worrying of getting infected with the pandemic and physical isolation from family, friends, and loved ones.
Other factors that can lead to stress disorders are the following: loss of income/employment during the pandemic, daily routines being disrupted/completely changed, leisure and non-essential restrictions placed by their local government, and closures of other significant locations such as schools for students.
Although stress isn’t considered as part of an anxiety disorder, mental health specialist Dr. Tonmoy Sharma confirms it is enough to be bothersome to the everyday life of the individual suffering from it.
Advise Patients in How to Combat Anxiety and Stress
According to the sources mentioned above, the best way for patients and individuals suffering from anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic is to give them pieces of advice on how to deal with and handle those on their end. The first thing that can be advised to the public is to provide them with correct information about the COVID-19 — how it is transmitted, its epidemiology, and dispelling the myths about it.
Advise patients and individuals suffering from anxiety about COVID-19 to follow their local health protocols such as staying 6 feet (1 meter) apart from each other, always wearing a facemask, keeping oneself at proper hygiene levels, and avoiding touching their face with their hands. Following those simple rules will help them avoid being at risk of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Another great piece of advice that can be given to the public is to limit themselves in watching the news and other media sources. The current media of today is full of information, both good and bad. But what’s disturbing is that not all information posted in the media is real; some of that information is fabricated and can be lies, which in turn gives a negative feeling and thought to the people consuming it.
Instead of watching the news and other negative media, patients and individuals suffering from stress and anxiety should do other activities instead. Author Dr. Tonmoy Sharma recommends activities like indoor yoga, meditation, and physical exercises, which can help them keep their minds clear of negative thoughts and emotions. Another activity that they can do is to spend extra time with their loved ones. One can also listen to their favorite music or read a book that they like. Any activity that can take off their minds from the news and other negative media is a good step in combating stress and anxiety.
The other way to help the public in dealing with their anxiety and stress is to properly educate them on how to handle it. There are several normal responses to stress and anxiety that they will experience such as the following: apprehension, disbelief, anger, insomnia, concentration problems, fatigue, and irritability. Additionally, they can also experience an increase in pain around their body and other physical symptoms, which are usually reactions to stress (and to some point, anxiety).
Those reactions are usually transient and once the patient or affected individual manages to cope with the challenges and changes of a pandemic-infected world, those will naturally go away. However, if those symptoms last for more than a few weeks or if those symptoms greatly affect their everyday living in a negative way, they should seek out professional medical help. Mental health specialist Dr. Tonmoy Sharma advises that there are health professionals and experts that can help them be assessed for various mental health conditions such as adjustment disorder with anxiety, acute stress reaction, and general anxiety disorder (GAD).
Assessments and treatments vary accordingly from person to person. Therefore, the treatment method for each kind of mental health condition will be different in many ways, and shouldn’t be generalized into one single type or category.