The Impact Of COVID-19 On Anxiety Disorders

The Impact Of COVID-19 On Anxiety Disorders

To say there are misconceptions about anxiety disorders is an understatement. Oftentimes, the general public holds the impression that those with anxiety disorders simply need to relax to solve their problems. That enough yoga or meditation will cure them of their mental illness, and that it’s rooted in a frame of mind. The reality however, is far more complex. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the broadest anxiety disorder in its class, and, consequently, the most prevalent, affecting approximately 3% of the general population annually. The impact of COVID-19 on mental health and those living with anxiety disorders cannot be overstated, as we find ourselves in unprecedented times that redefine how we approach mental illnesses. 

It’s estimated that anxiety disorders as a whole, a broad range of specific disorders, affect roughly 1 in 10 Canadians annually. There are several different categories of anxiety disorders, which include: 

The physical symptoms for any given anxiety disorder can include but are not limited to: 

  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating 
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Sensations of heat or cold
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Feelings of unreality or being detached.
  • Dry mouth
  • Tightness in chest

The behavioral symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Avoiding certain places that may evoke anxious emotions
  • Avoiding crowds
  • Avoiding strenuous activities such as exercise
  • Irrational and excessive fear
  • Apprehensive and tense feelings
  • Difficulty managing daily tasks and/or distress related to these tasks

While this has been true of anxiety disorders for decades, now during COVID-19 we are seeing new barriers to successfully handling these conditions and concerns. And while our chief medical officers are doing their best to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, they’re also hard at work addressing the unprecedented issues plaguing those with mental health issues during the pandemic. 

Self-isolation and quarantining is an effective measure against the virus, but it has added unanticipated ramifications. Namely, their impact on members of the community living with mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders. So what can you do to ensure you’re putting your mental health first while also considering your physical well-being? Anxiety Canada has some suggestions.

While they are not perfect fixes for these difficult situations, these suggestions can certainly help. Firstly, they encourage putting structure into your day. Whether you’re working from home, have been fired, or furloughed due to the pandemic, one thing remains true — maintain a daily schedule. They also strongly encourage you to not lock yourself away. Yes, there are specific public health guidelines that we need to follow, without question. But those can be followed without compromising your well-being. “[S]ome people are hearing the self-isolate recommendations,” Anxiety Canada mentions, “and taking it as permission to not leave their home under any circumstance.” 

Avoiding any public places or refusing to leave your home can have profoundly negative effects on your health. “Although it might be relieving to avoid anxiety-provoking situations,” they added, “it will eventually lead to more anxiety when these public health restrictions are lifted. […] The best way to prevent a relapse of problematic anxiety is to continue to challenge yourself and avoid avoidance as much as you can.” Practicing certain Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques may prove profoundly helpful, as they recommend using their resources including their MindShift CBT app to help navigate the current climate of health concerns. 

Other recommendations for healthy living with anxiety disorders during COVID-19 include staying physically active, finding new ways to communicate and engage with friends and family, and being compassionate with yourself. 

It’s very easy to lose your bearings when dealing with anxiety disorders. They feed off of uncertainty and fear, both of which are in ample supply at the moment. Using these coping exercises can help to try to navigate these conditions, even within the parameters of our current form of normalcy. 

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It’s estimated that anxiety disorders as a whole affect roughly 1 in 10 Canadians annually. There are several different categories of anxiety disorders, which include: 

The physical symptoms for any given anxiety disorder include: 

  • pounding heart, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, feelings of choking, chest pain or discomfort, dizziness or nausea, sensations of heat or cold, numbness or tingling, feelings of unreality or being detached, dry mouth, tightness in chest

The behavioral symptoms include:

  • avoiding certain places that may evoke anxious emotions, avoiding crowds, avoiding strenuous activities such as exercise, irrational and excessive fear, apprehensive and tense feelings, difficulty managing daily tasks and/or distress related to these tasks

During COVID-19 we are seeing new barriers to handling these conditions and concerns. While our chief medical officers are doing their best to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, they’re also hard at work addressing the unprecedented issues plaguing those with mental health issues. 

Self-isolation is an effective measure against the virus, but it has unanticipated ramifications. What can you do to ensure you’re putting your mental health first while also considering your physical well-being? Anxiety Canada has some suggestions.

Put structure into your day — maintain a daily schedule. “[S]ome people are hearing the self-isolate recommendations,” Anxiety Canada mentions, “and taking it as permission to not leave their home under any circumstance.” 

Avoiding any public places or refusing to leave your home can have profoundly negative effects on your health. “Although it might be relieving to avoid anxiety-provoking situations,” they added, “it will eventually lead to more anxiety when these public health restrictions are lifted. […] The best way to prevent a relapse of problematic anxiety is to continue to challenge yourself and avoid avoidance as much as you can.” 

Other recommendations for healthy living with anxiety disorders during COVID-19 include staying physically active, finding new ways to communicate and engage with friends and family, and being compassionate with yourself.

Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Great-West Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.