❌ We're beating the virus, yet many have been left with a chronic fear of reintegrating.

🌳 Lockdown is easing and life is inching back to something more like normality.

😨 But people are now suffering from what has been termed Covid anxiety syndrome

Thread ~ 🧵👇
❓It is not yet known how many people will be affected by residual Covid anxiety..

It’s feared a significant minority will struggle to readjust.

Especially as increased unlocking sees:
🔺Large group gatherings
🔺Crowded events
🍽️ ✈️ While many of us are enjoying the chance to socialise and travel normally, some are clinging fearfully to the safety behaviours from during the pandemic.

➡️ What was once a rational response to danger has become a “maladaptive” response as the danger recedes
🔎 A professor at London South Bank University and another from Kingston University first identified the phenomenon.

They hypothesised there would be coping behaviours early in the pandemic, which, while initially helpful, may become problematic, especially during reintegration
These behaviours may include:
🤝 Not touching things
🚆 Avoiding using public transport
😨 Worrying
👀 Monitoring environments and other people for the presence of the virus

📌 “In people who use these coping strategies consistently, excessively, daily, with the view they will keep them safe, [it] may inadvertently ‘lock’ them into Covid-19-related fear and distress and hinder their reintegration and return to normal,” researchers say
📄 Data collected in both the US and UK bears out this theory.

📈 Findings suggest that those at a greater risk from the virus are more prone to Covid anxiety syndrome.

Spada believes 1 in 5 could struggle with the return to normality
Are you experiencing Covid-related anxiety now lockdown is easing?
📌 Experts say cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be helpful.

CBT aims to “actively break those negative cycles of thought and action,” said Dr Salem, endocrinologist and researcher at Imperial College London
🔚 “We’re not going to see the true impact until the pandemic is completely over," said Owen O’Kane, a former NHS clinical lead for mental health.

📈 O'Kane predicts an increase in anxiety disorders as lockdowns end, not only around Covid fears but worries about reintegration
❌ The true scale of the problem is likely to be larger than what is evident now.

🥼 Clinicians can help by encouraging people to “step out of fear mode” and start making some gradual behavioural changes, says O'Kane

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