Anxiety during the pandemic: a problem

we address a serious topic related to the pandemic caused by Covid-19: the exponential (and worrying) increase of anxiety

Written Friday, by Emanuele Mortarotti

Today, on Dispotech’s blog, we address a serious topic related to the pandemic caused by Covid-19: the exponential (and worrying) increase of anxiety and other related disorders during these difficult months. Let's find out, thanks to an article posted on medicalnewstoday.com, about the worrying data of a study published as a commentary in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.

 

A study, including some data published in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, has revealed an increase in anxiety among Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Researchers have analysed, in particular, Google Trends data: searches on anxiety and methods to manage it have increased drastically, tracing a very alarming scenario.

This is quite understandable considering that the Coronavirus has spread rapidly throughout the world and, to date, there have been about one million deaths globally. In addition, many of those who have contracted the virus and have recovered, will have to face some side effects, as it has been noted that there are some symptoms that last for long periods of time - and so far there is no scientific explanation for this.

 

To this already sad scenario we must also add the drastic decision adopted by almost all the countries of the world, i.e. the lock down: it has been necessary to stay indoors and to only go out for very urgent reasons. This has caused everyone’s mood to worsen, causing discouragement. In short, it is clear that this world pandemic has not only damaged the physical health of many, but has certainly awakened worried feelings and discouragement in everyone's psyche.

Many people's psychological conditions have deteriorated: this is also the basis of the research conducted by Dr. Michael Hoerger, professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the Tulane University Cancer Center in New Orleans, and other co-authors. By analysing Google Trends data (only for the USA) from the 21st of April 2019 to the 21st of April 2020, researchers have noted 4 fundamental elements:

  1. Immediately after the official announcement of the pandemic, searches for terms such as " worry", "health concern", "panic" and "hysteria" increased drastically;
  2. people started to look not only for the term "anxiety", but more importantly for the symptoms related to it;
  3. no significant increase was noted for words belonging to the sphere of mental health, such as "depression", "loneliness", "suicide" or "substance abuse";
  4. researchers have noted that users have also searched for therapeutic techniques to try to alleviate anxiety symptoms on their own: among the most clicked words are "deep breathing" and "body scan meditation".

 

The global mental health scenario is alarming when reflected in the words of Dr Hoerger, who commented on the study stating that there will be a general decline in collective mental health and that we will see a gradual increase in patients suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, community violence and a higher suicide rate.

 

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Emanuele Mortarotti
Author Emanuele Mortarotti

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