The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected all our lives. Staying at home, getting isolated, and not living life the way we used to can affect our mental health. Everybody is getting anxious as COVID-19 positive people are on the rise and so are feelings of anxiety and fear.

As numbers continue to increase, those numbers begin to turn to our friends and loved ones. We are hoping that this, too, shall pass, and all we have to do is cope with the changes we’re going through. 

The Mental Health of COVID-19 Patients

If you get diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening and infectious disease, you will get isolated, may seek hospital treatment, and what’s worse is to get discriminated against. These things can trigger worry, stress, and anxiety in COVID-19 patients and their loved ones. 

So if you or a loved one gets diagnosed with COVID-19, compassionate care is the key to take care of one’s mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that providing comfort during isolation or hospitalization via video call or messaging can take care of our mental health. 

After isolation or hospitalization, act like everything’s normal and avoid discrimination. No one wants to acquire COVID-19 on purpose, and we should all have a compassionate understanding to avoid anxiety and depression.

COVID-19 or Anxiety?

The coronavirus pandemic caused us to feel overwhelmed and resulted in high levels of anxiety. When a person gets anxious, chest pain or other physical symptoms similar to COVID-19 is present. If you’re experiencing this, you should know how to differentiate the symptoms of COVID-19 and panic attacks so you can seek the right medical care. 

Symptoms of COVID-19

The Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) lists the most common symptoms of coronavirus: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Dry cough
  • The difficulty of breathing or shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or feelings of tiredness
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of the sense of taste and smell
  • Body ache or muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Symptoms of Anxiety 

Here are the physical symptoms experienced by a person during a panic attack, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). 

  • Chest pain
  • Pounding heart or palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Breathing problems (shortness of breath or feelings of choking)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness, tingling or shaking of extremities

How to Tell the Difference?

As you can see, there are symptoms of COVID-19 and anxiety attacks that overlap. You can tell the difference between anxiety and coronavirus symptoms through monitoring. During an anxiety attack, chest pain and shortness of breath can last for 5-20 minutes, while in COVID-19, it is persistent. 

When you experience fever or flu-like symptoms, call your trusted medical health professional immediately. Do not assume that you have the COVID-19, and do not stress yourself out. Call a medical doctor to know what are the next steps. If you feel like you’re anxious all the time, look after your mental health and seek online counseling for your anxiety. 

Related: Can Online Counseling Help My Anxiety?

parent putting mask on daughter

Strategies to Reduce COVID-19 Pandemic Anxiety

When problems arise, coping mechanisms are utilized to stay strong during tough times. As we try to keep our immune system strong and keep away from the virus, we should look after our mental health too. We all hope that this COVID-19 pandemic shall pass, but at this point, we are uncertain if we can get back to our normal lives. 

At this time, all we have to do is to stay at home as much as we can. During this COVID-19 era, we continue to wear face masks, sanitize all the time, and practice physical distancing as we are trying to live with this pandemic. Also, it is important to take care of your mental health and seek professional help if needed. Avoid stress, worry, fear, and anxiety by following these strategies to reduce anxiety disorder during the pandemic. 

  • Limit watching the news and scrolling through social media. It is essential to get updated on the latest news from trustworthy resources, but limit exposing yourself to bad news as this will add up to your anxiety. Also, reduce your screen time scrolling in social media and do not believe in hoax information you see online. 
  • Keep a healthy body and mind.  The only greatest defense we have against COVID-19 is our body’s strong immune system. Boost your immune system by drinking vitamins, getting enough sleep, exercise and eating clean. A healthy mind also means positive thinking and not burying your thoughts on how difficult this situation is. A healthy body and mind will help prevent anxiety and will keep you happy. 
  • Stay in touch with family and friends. As family gatherings and traveling still have some restrictions, find ways to stay in touch with family and loved ones. Have joint family dinner with a video call, schedule regular phone calls, and always have someone to talk to. When you have a support system to comfort you during this difficult time, it can help reduce anxiety. 
  • Make it a habit to practice stress-reduction activities. There are many things you can do at home to help reduce anxiety and stress. Exercise, meditate, pray, learn a new skill, take care of plants, do minor renovations, read a book. Avoid too much screen time and watching movies, make sure to have a productive day. 
  • Do not be stressed when you have physical symptoms. If you experience symptoms similar to COVID-19, do not panic. This will just add to your stress and may lead to depression. Instead, monitor your symptoms, when did it start, the duration, or the severity. Do not rush yourself to the hospital; instead, call your healthcare provider for further assessment and so they can help you on what are the next steps. 

Seek Mental Help for Anxiety

If your anxiety recurs, bothers your sleep, and affects your daily living activities, it is time to seek support. Do not let COVID-19 anxiety take the best of you and how you function in your life every day. We continue to live with the new normal as we practice coping mechanisms to take care of our mental health. 

Anxiety disorder is not meant to be battled alone. Talk to a mental health care professional or avail of telemental health services during this difficult time. There are many qualified telehealth therapists available at Kentucky Counseling Center that is just a phone call away to help with your anxiety. Schedule an appointment now and get the help you need in just a few clicks away. 

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