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Post Covid Stress Disorder

Grief, job loss, and social isolation from the pandemic are enough to put us all on edge. Two years of life on pause has left everyone rattled. Will the anxiety, sleeplessness, and bleak mood ever dissipate? Our collective mental health needs tending now more than ever.

Covid created a sort of PTSD that’s not easily definable due to the lack of a singular event that caused the stress. Therefore the term “post covid stress disorder” has been used to describe the lingering mental unrest caused by the pandemic. But how did this mental health crisis come from no specific event?

Anxiety and acute stress caused by the last few years has activated our fight or flight system. This is our natural sympathetic response evolved to protect us from danger. The heart rate speeds up, muscles get more blood, and we feel on edge. The problem with anxiety is that the brain doesn’t turn off fight or flight when it’s no longer needed. As a result, the body starts running on empty and it has an exhausting effect on us physically and emotionally. The mind starts catastrophizing. People with pre-existing anxiety conditions may be especially likely to develop a stress disorder.

Those with post covid stress disorder display symptoms like avoidance (to the point of dysfunction) and rumination (with difficulty stopping it). As public life continues to reopen some have been able to overcome their stress reactions but others are stuck in a cycle of constant worry.

People often turn to alcohol, eating disorders, and other recklessness as a coping mechanism. Studies already show these issues have increased since the start of Covid.

What are some tips for those suffering from post covid stress disorder?

Here are three important things to remember which may help put your worries at ease.

Schedule worry time: Make a so-called “diet” of when you’re allowed to worry. Schedule a time to focus on problematic issues, thus limiting the amount of rumination. The rest of the day do productive things to keep spirits up and life moving forward.

Have some acceptance: Give yourself a break - getting back to normal takes time. Every day won’t be easy. Don’t be thrown into hopelessness from a day of anxiety or a few moments of rumination. With a positive attitude, the good days will start to increase, eventually crowding out the bad ones.

Persevere: The way out of post covid stress disorder is to persist in self-care and treatment. Rumination and worry can seem like an insurmountable obstacles to overcome, but the trick is staying on a path to recovery.

Germ OCD sufferers may have a particularly hard time due to the pathogenic nature of a pandemic. In many of these cases, professional help is necessary. Effective treatments involving various therapies and/or medications are available for this condition.

It’s been a hard couple of years. If you need professional mental health treatment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Bregman Medical Group: we have decades of experience with a variety of disorders. We offer online psychiatry and therapy right to your device! Simply schedule at www.bregmanmd.com or call 305-740-3340.

References:

https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/what-doctors-wish-patients-knew-about-post-covid-anxiety

https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/covid-19-and-ptsd-assessing-the-pandemics-toll-on-mental-health/

https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/post-covid-stress-disorder-emerging-consequence-global-pandemic



By BregmanMD | June 30, 2022 | Mental Health

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