Pandemic Drove Spike in Panic Attacks

Symptoms of anxiety include: feeling restless, nervous, worried or irritable, getting tired easily, having trouble concentrating, and having trouble sleeping. To be considered a generalized anxiety disorder, these symptoms must last at least six months.

The difference between many anxiety symptoms and panic attack symptoms has to do with intensity and duration, Wright explained. The panic attacks are very intense, but the episodes are separate events.

For the new study, the researchers analyzed Google’s trending information to find research that mentioned a panic attack or anxiety attack from January 2004 to May 9, 2020.

The biggest jump in such searches occurred between March 16 and April 14, 2020. The number of searches was the highest on record, the researchers said. Meanwhile, social distancing guidelines have been put in place, states have closed businesses and schools, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended face masks, and the United States has passed the Italy for the highest number of deaths.

After April 14, searches for panic attacks and anxiety returned to expected levels.

“At first, COVID-19 was a huge unknown. It may be that over time people have become more resilient, ”suggested Nobles.

Wright agreed. “At the start of this period when everything had to stop quickly, anecdotal reports indicated an increase in demands for benzodiazepines. [sedatives that may be prescribed for panic]. But we have arrived at a new normal and are beginning to understand it. While there is still uncertainty, people are not quite in the flight or combat mode they were, ”she said.

Wright’s advice if you’re still feeling a little anxious? “It is very important to focus on what is under our control – our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Identify negative patterns, like constant scrolling on your phone, watching the news and hoping for new information. Take breaks from it. your devices Take breaks Don’t constantly watch them Social media is a bomb of anxiety, so limit the time there, “she recommended.

And take care of yourself, Wright advised: “Get enough sleep, eat healthy, be active and maintain social connections. [in a safe, socially distant way]. While the anxiety doesn’t go away, all of these things help. ”

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Jothi Venkat

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