In the weeks since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been an increase in reports of post-COVID anxiety. This condition is characterized by symptoms such as anxiety, fear, and panic attacks. What do we know about post-COVID anxiety? What causes it and how can it be treated? How long does it last? In this blog post, I will explore these questions and provide some helpful tips for coping with post-COVID anxiety.
There are several theories about what might cause post-COVID anxiety. One theory is that post-COVID anxiety is caused by the stress of the pandemic itself. The fear of contracting the virus and the uncertainty about the future can be overwhelming.
Another theory is that post-COVID anxiety is caused by changes in our daily routines. For example, many people have been working from home for the first time and this can be stressful. In addition, we were all wearing masks and social distancing, which can be uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking.
New information about inflammation caused by COVID-19 infection may also play a role in post-COVID anxiety. Studies have shown that inflammation can cause changes in the brain that lead to anxiety and depression. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to get treatment for COVID-19 if you develop symptoms.
Symptoms of post-COVID anxiety include:
- Fear of leaving your house
- Panic attacks
- Changes in mood
- Difficulty remembering things
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fear around crowds
- Increased substance use
- Changes in sleep or eating habits
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling on edge or irritable
How long do symptoms last?
Short-term follow-up studies of COVID-19 survivors show that symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia are prominent in the month following discharge. Additionally, 23% of participants reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression and 26% reported sleep difficulties in a large quality-of-life survey at a 6-month follow-up. A 2021 study found that symptoms may become worse over time, which is why it’s important to begin working with a mental health professional as soon as possible.
There are several treatment options for post-COVID anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help you to change the way you think about your anxiety and learn to manage it better. CBT has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. Medication can also be used to treat post-COVID anxiety. It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider about the best treatment option for you.
If you are dealing with post-COVID anxiety, here are some things you can do to manage your symptoms:
- Identify your anxiety triggers and develop a plan to cope with them.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.
- Get regular exercise.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Connect with others who understand what you are going through.
- Exercise regularly to reduce stress and improve your mood.
- Get enough sleep.
- Seek professional help if your anxiety is interfering with your daily life.
If you are experiencing post-COVID anxiety, know that you are not alone. Seek help from a mental health professional if your anxiety is interfering with your daily life. There are treatments available that can help you cope with post-COVID anxiety.
If you’d like to find out how CBT can help you cope better with post-COVID anxiety, please reach out to me for a free consultation.