Covid have you stressed out? You’re not alone.

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about anxiety. Anxiety is becoming more mainstream but let’s face it, most people out there either don’t have it or don’t admit to having it. Enter Covid-19. Regardless of where you fall on the nuances and issues around Covid, it has impacted the globe. It’s everywhere or has been everywhere and for those of us with Anxiety it’s been horrible.

Well we aren’t alone, there are more of us now with anxiety than ever. Found a good article here that talks about google searches for panic attack and anxiety have spiked during the pandemic.

From the article: “Researchers tracked how often people looked up phrases including “panic attack,” “anxiety attack,” “am I having a panic attack?”, and “anxiety attack symptoms” using Google Trends data, and analyzed how often these phrases were searched for in the U.S. between January 2004 and May 2020. After adjusting for variables such as population growth and increased internet use over the past 20 years, the researchers found that these anxiety and panic attack searches reached an all-time high between mid-March and mid-May.”

“Anti-anxiety medication prescriptions spiked 34.1% during the week ending March 15.” according to Express Scripts

Not surprising to many of us I am sure. The article goes on to illustrate increases in anxiety medication along with other interesting statistical data specific to the pandemic period in the U.S. (March 15 – Present). It’s interesting to see how things are shaping up for this period of time. 2020 is truly going to be one of the worst years in recent memory and we still have an extremely toxic presidential election to get through.

If you have anxiety issues, take heart in the knowledge that you are not alone, not by a long shot. The silver lining here is more and more people are entering into the conversation and seeking help. This helps drive the narrative going forward as we live in a capitalist society, demand will dictate supply.

My hope is that on the back end of 2020 we look back on one of the most stressful anxiety filled years since the 60’s that we have more tools to address mental health issues going forward. We have to try and find as many positives as we can.

No it’s not a good thing that anxiety has spiked, there are people really suffering out there. Let’s hope when we come out of this (and we will) that more awareness = better outcomes of all.

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A new medication for anxiety?

This was an unexpected find. So as I read more and more about anxiety I realize that there are some very extreme technical concepts associated with diagnosis and treatment. As an example I’ve learned about the amygdala which is part of the limbic system that participates in the processing of fear. So what does this have to do with a Tuberculosis medication?

Well D-Cyloserine is a medication that helps prevent the growth of bacterial walls. It is used a lot in Tuberculosis treatments but according to the article here it also influences the Amygdala, which helps to regulate fear in your mind.

From the article: “Multiple studies have shown that DCS can help cement the safety learning that takes place during psychotherapy sessions that involve exposure therapy,” says Jasper Smits, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, who led the study in JAMA Network Open. “The question is can we tailor this approach to be more effective for each patient?”

So most of us know or at least have heard of exposure therapy. It’s exactly like it sounds so if you are afraid of say “ice cubes” in exposure therapy you would be exposed to ice cubes. The key here is that there is evidence to suggest that d-cycloserine can in fact help the patient engage in the exposure by decreasing anxiety.

There are all sorts of anxieties out there, intrusive thoughts, phobias,PTSD on and on. Anxiety brought on by fears due to phobias is pretty well documented. Fear of flying, drowning, spiders the list is pretty long. If we can get to a point where patients who suffer with these fears can enter into exposure therapies the potential outcomes are very positive. This may seem abstract or outside the normal realm of traditional anxiety issues.

That said Anxiety, over time normally compounds and has its source in some event that induced a remarkable amount of fear in the individual. Yes there are chemical and emotional reasons outside of some “event” but the bottom line here is we may have a gateway to getting more people treatment. Isn’t that the end game for anxiety issues?

If you can “face your fears” (for lack of a better term) the outcome might be life changing. Anyway the article is a pretty short read and sub links out to more formal studies and individuals in the scope of the context of the work. IF your anxiety is derived from a phobia it might be worth looking into this and sharing this with your health care professional.

Interested in more articles about anxiety? Check out my post here.

Anxiety Medication Prescriptions spike in March

This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone but the pandemic has created a perfect storm of anxiety. The constant drum beat of fear along with the very real sickness that some people get has propelled many people into the realm of anxiety. The worst part of this is the people who already had crippling anxiety and were already on medications. It’s not like you can take twice the dose for twice the relief….

Anyway I found an article here confirming this subject

From the article: “The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts to contain it, represent a unique threat, and we must recognize the pandemic that will qickly follow it—that of mental and behavioral illness—and implement the steps needed to mitigate it,” the authors wrote.”

How true is that? Now the article itself is fairly short and does give you the statistics of how much some of the categories of drugs have increased. There isn’t anything here that is going to be an epiphany for you most likely.

If you suffer from anxiety you know the deal, you’re taking one day at a time already. What happens 6 months from now? Will we have a flood of new people that suffer from anxiety and depression? The likely answer is yes. Yes there will be more people anxious and it’s going to lead to, in the short term, a bulge in the treatment world as mental health resources haven’t increased commensurate with this pandemic.

In the long term there is some potential positives. As dark as this may seem, the more people seeking help for anxiety related issues creates a demand side situation. That means at some point supply for that demand, AKA more treatment options will manifest themselves. That’s good for all of us. We need more people talking about anxiety and talking about treatments. We need a larger piece of our health insurance economy to be devoted to mental health issues. Here is hoping that we get that as a result of the Corona pandemic.

The key here is to hang on. Right now is like a rollercoaster, and it’s a brutal ride but you are harmed the most when you try and get off the ride in the middle. Hang in there, take one day at a time and remember you aren’t alone.

You are doing awesome.