Coronavirus anxiety is real: Here’s how to tell if you have it

Wow, this is so me

Do you find yourself singing Happy Birthday twice whilst washing your hands? Are you bulk buying pasta and toilet paper? Are you disinfecting every surface and putting gloves on to press a lift button? If you’re finding it overwhelming daily to hear constant updates on coronavirus then you may be suffering from coronavirus anxiety. 

Since the spread of coronavirus has reached even more individuals this week around the globe, a number of individuals are suffering from coronavirus anxiety and those who already suffer from anxiety are finding themselves trigged more. In fact more people have coronavirus anxiety than the actual illness.

Clinical psychologist Lynn Bufka has explained why people are experiencing extreme anxiety about catching the illness and it because it’s new and the uncertainty of it all stresses us out.

Lynn said: “This may be, for some individuals, the stressor that tips them over the edge,

“To the public, it’s very new. We don’t know a lot about it. Information about it keeps changing. That’s what causes us stress: things that are novel but uncertain.”

What is coronavirus anxiety?

Coronavirus anxiety sufferers are constantly paranoid and worried about catching coronavirus.

Everywhere you go people are refusing to shake hands, sending death glares to any one that coughs on public transport and obsessively googling the symptoms of coronavirus if they get so much as a runny nose .

How do you know if you have it?

The symptoms of coronavirus anxiety include, but are not limited to:

•Always wearing a mask.

•Having a constant supply of hand sanitiser and regularly reapplying.

•Not going to the gym for fear of infection on shared machines.

•Wearing gloves to operate the self check out machines.

•Holding breath whilst on public transport.

•Panic shopping and bulk buying tissues, toilet paper, pasta, rice, soap and tinned foods.

•Not sharing food for fear of contamination.

•Having no physical contact with anyone.

Why are so many people suffering from coronavirus anxiety?

A big part of the cause of coronavirus anxiety is the shocking realisation that essentially every surface we come into contact with is teaming with thousands of germs.

Catherine Belling, a professor at Northwestern University said we are all in a state of “extreme uncertainty”.

She said: “We’ve got national anxiety at the moment, a kind of shared stress, and we are all in a state of extreme uncertainty.”

Ironically the more anxious you are, the more vulnerable you become to illness, as stress can damage your immune system.

Here are some tips to help if you are suffering from coronavirus anxiety:

An article by NPR has detailed a number of steps to take if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Be prepared

Anxiety sufferers generally like to be in control. So in order to manage your anxiety, be prepared that your uni may shut and have plans in place for any disruption you may face.

Don’t obsess over the news

Whilst it’s important to understand what’s going on, a psychologist at Northwestern University said obsessing over the news can be more detrimental.

Stuart Shankman said: “There’s a point where, information gathering could become problematic.”

Stuart explains this is due to it increasing your fear and constantly checking the news and social media will not reduce your risk of getting the virus.

Get some good sleep

Research shows people who get proper sleep are more likely to be able to fend off viruses.

Take a few preventive actions

It would be impossible to sterilise everything in your environment, so the key is to focus on washing your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.

Avoid physical contact where you can and embrace the elbow bump.

If you’re anxious about coronavirus, contact Crisis by texting HOME to 741741 in the US or 85258 in the UK to reach a Crisis councillor.

You can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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