Covid-related anxiety is on the rise.
This probably won’t come as a surprise to most of us, but mental health issues have surfaced (and worsened) during the pandemic. This is the case for a countless number of people. In addition, the problem will likely only get worse as time goes on. Covid-related anxiety is on the rise. This is true even when factoring in vaccine production and getting the disease under control. There are several reasons why.
Researchers from the University of Houston found that people who suffer from anxiety are catastrophizing Covid-19. To ‘castastrophize’ is to believe that some thing or situation is worse than it actually is. This habit is increasing their symptoms. An increase in symptoms also means an increased need for coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, this can often leads to substance abuse. This is not to say that the pandemic isn’t real, or that it isn’t a dangerous health crisis. However, those suffering from anxiety disorders can tend to believe it’s even worse than the actual worst case scenarios.
Michael Zvolensky, who published this study, is a University of Houston professor. He is also director of the Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory/Substance Use Treatment Clinic. In the paper, titled “Pandemic sets off future wave of worsening mental health issues” Zvolensky said:
“The impact of COVID-19 on psychological symptoms and disorders, addiction and health behavior is substantial and ongoing and will negatively impact people’s mental health and put them at greater risk for chronic illness and drug addiction. It will not equally impact all of society. Those at greater risk are those that have mental health vulnerabilities or disorders”.
Like any issue that triggers fear and anxiety, living through the pandemic creates a loss of safety for many. This often shows up as an ‘out-of-control’ feeling. Our minds often use this feeling to amplify deficiency stories we already have. This can easily lead to a need to cope through drugs, food, gambling, etc.
How the Kiloby Center Can Help
At the Kiloby Center, we work with this type of mental illness frequently. There are emotional links to coping mechanisms that arise when we are triggered. This is why we base our entire program on finding the underlying trauma and breaking the emotional links. Essentially, we help people quiet the runaway thoughts in their mind. As a result, the need for coping is now out of the equation. And now, thanks to recent telehealth expansion, getting the treatment needed is even easier than ever.
This doesn’t mean someone won’t get triggered again. It does mean that they’ll have the tools to help keep them in the present moment, and not the dire future our minds might imagine.
For more on our work, click here.