Has COVID19 Created a New Type of Anxiety?

Covid 19 Anxiety

As vaccination programs for COVID19 become more successful and restrictions that were put in place to protect society begin to relax more around the world, some people have found that these changes are causing anxiety. While some of us have been eager for things to get back to normal and have embraced these changes as lockdowns end and COVID19 restrictions are removed, others are having a harder time readjusting to normal life. From going back to work in the office to navigating society without protective measures like mask-wearing and social distancing in place, even people who have been fully vaccinated might find that it’s all a little bit anxiety-inducing. After all, after a rather traumatic eighteen months where we’ve been hounded with news about infections, hospitalizations, and death rates, told to stay at home and keep six feet away from other people, it’s no surprise that for some, getting back to everyday life may be a struggle.

People have various reasons for why they are feeling a heightened sense of anxiety around getting back to everyday life after the COVID19 pandemic. Some are concerned about the risk of new variants and the effectiveness of the COVID19 vaccine against them, while others might be suffering from social anxiety after spending so much time at home and not going out. Others are fearful for their health or the health of their loved ones since COVID19 is still more of a concern for those who are especially vulnerable.

However, anxiety around COVID19 that is having an impact on somebody’s life to the point where they are finding it difficult to do everyday things is referred to as COVID Anxiety Syndrome. While the facts show that we are managing to overcome the virus, infection levels are dropping in most places around the world, and the risk of being seriously affected by the virus is low for those who are vaccinated, after spending such a long time protecting themselves and others from this disease, it’s difficult for some people to accept that things are looking up.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the reaction of the body and mind to dangerous, stressful, or unfamiliar situations. Everybody experiences some anxiety from time to time, even if they do not suffer from an anxiety disorder. You may have felt anxiety if you have ever felt a sense of uneasiness when going into a situation that you are not familiar with or a feeling of dread that comes on before a big decision is made about you, or a significant event occurs.

Anxiety can be healthy in small doses; after all, it’s usually anxiety that will stop you from making rash decisions without thinking them through or putting yourself in danger.

Suffering from an anxiety disorder is very different to simply feeling a little anxious before a big event. Anxiety disorders can be debilitating, causing the mind and body to see dangers that are not there. People with these disorders will often think irrationally and view things in an exaggerated way. It’s important to remember that while somebody with an anxiety disorder might appear to be overreacting to a certain situation, the level of danger and risk is very real to them in their mind.

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What is COVID Anxiety Syndrome?

COVID Anxiety Syndrome is a new type of anxiety disorder that has come about as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. Since people have not been living with this disorder for very long, it has not yet been studied extensively. COVID Anxiety Syndrome often characterizes as a combination of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms in relation to COVID19. After months of living in isolation, working from home, and hearing and reading about the pandemic on the news, people who are suffering from COVID Anxiety Syndrome are often on very high alert and will struggle to let go of the need to protect themselves from the virus, even with measures such as a vaccination in place.

Some people are experiencing very intense anxiety regarding COVID19, despite the successful vaccination program and infection rate drops. Some of the main symptoms of COVID Anxiety Syndrome Include:

  • Compulsive checking for symptoms or COVID19 testing

  • Continuing to stay at home even when it’s safe to leave

  • Obsessive cleaning and sanitization habits

Somebody who is suffering from COVID Anxiety Syndrome might be resistant or even fearful to engage in everyday activities such as going to the store, taking public transport, or returning to work in the office. They may also take part in obsessive cleaning behaviors including over-sanitizing of hands, excessive hand-washing, or excessive disinfection and bleaching in their home. Researchers believe that these symptoms are unlikely to subside as the risk of COVID19 gets smaller due to measures such as the vaccine and that many people suffering from COVID Anxiety Syndrome are likely to also be suffering from co-morbid conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What are the Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For?

It’s quite normal for most people today to be feeling a little bit apprehensive about things getting back to normal after over a year of lockdowns and restrictions. The risk of new variants is still very real and there is always a chance that the pandemic could lead to further lockdowns and restrictions in the future if a variant develops that is resistant to the vaccine. However, for the majority of people, it is easy to look at the facts and put these worries aside. And as people spend more time getting back into everyday activities like meeting with friends, working in the office, eating at restaurants, and attending events, their anxiety levels are likely to ease.

On the other hand, for somebody who is suffering from COVID anxiety syndrome, symptoms are likely to persist and may be so bad that they are unable to take the leap and start returning to som