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Psychological Impacts of The Coronavirus COVID-19, Part One

It’s safe to say that we are living in some strange times. Almost no one living has seen anything like the global impact that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 has swept the world with. 

This millennium has already had SARS, Ebola, Swine Flu, Mad Cow Disease, Zika fever, and plenty of other alarming diseases. As disconcerting and harmful as said illnesses have been, they pale in comparison to what we all are experiencing, to one degree or another. 

Yes, we are all in this together, as you might have heard on the radio or television, but that doesn’t mean we all respond to these hardships in the same way. In fact, for those of our readers who experience anxiety, we’d expect a significantly more challenging period of life. 

What’s more, a fear of the unknown and mass sickness can cause mental health and wellness issues for anyone, regardless of psychological history. So too can social distancing, unemployment, and a host of other concerns we’ll cover in this two-part series by Blair Wellness Group. 

Below, we’ll briefly introduce Dr. Cassidy Blair and her approach to treatment, after which we’ll take a deeper dive into the psychological impacts of COVID-19. 

Dr. Blair, in Beverly Hills, Irvine, and Newport Beach Top Rated Local® Psychologist

Highly esteemed throughout greater Los Angeles and beyond, Dr. Cassidy Blair is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in Beverly Hills. Through her practice at Blair Wellness Group, Dr. Blair offers comprehensive therapeutic and psychological services, specializing in concierge-style treatment and coaching to high-level executives and professionals who hail from a diverse set of backgrounds. 

Dr. Blair is proud to offer experienced and specialized treatment for a variety of conditions, disorders, and difficulties. Whether you are seeking treatment for depression or are interested in Business & Executive Coaching, Dr. Blair provides a unique, client-centered approach to treatment. She is a Beverly Hills psychologist who tailors her methods based on the personalized needs and goals of her clientele. 

Later in today’s article, we’ll continue the discussion regarding how Dr. Blair can help folks deal with the psychological effects of coronavirus, but not before we establish some risks, behaviors to watch for, and a few basic strategies people can use to surmount the common challenges these strange times have brought about. 

Stress

While no two people experience the mental and emotional impacts of COVID-19 in the same way, we are able to identify commonalities. In no uncertain terms, the uncharted territory in which we now find ourselves in is likely to cause stress for many people. 

It may be fear over you or a loved one contracting the disease itself, but it also might have to do with financial concerns, being isolated from others socially, or a wealth of other possibilities. Suffice it to say, we are not short of options when it comes to being stressed out at the moment. 

The fact is, stress can often turn into anxiety if left unchecked. During an infectious disease outbreak, stress can include the following:

  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Worsening of chronic health conditions
  • Changes in eating and/or sleeping patterns
  • Increased alcohol and substance use
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or sleeping
  • Fear and worry about the health of your loved ones
  • Fear and worry over your own health
  • Increased irritability

Everyone Reacts Differently

While the above can be best understood as symptoms of stress, it’s equally important to remember that everyone reacts to stressful situations in their own way. How one responds to the many stressors coronavirus presents might depend on your individual disposition, cultural background, community, age, gender, socioeconomic status, and many other factors. 

While it is still too early to be certain, people who might respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis such as this include:

  • Children and adolescents
  • People helping with the coronavirus response, such as doctors, nurses, first responders, and other “essential workers”
  • Older folks and people with chronic diseases which put them at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • People who have mental health conditions, including substance abuse

Children: Behaviors To Watch for

Being a parent can add another layer of stress during COVID-19. You are expected to have all the answers for your child; they look to you to know how to react to the uncertainty around them. When you are able to stay calm and collected, it helps them respond in the same manner. 

That said, not all children will be able to stay calm just because the adults around them are. Here are some changes to watch out for:

  • “Acting out” behavior in adolescents
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Excessive crying in younger children
  • Excessive sadness or anxious behavior
  • Trouble concentrating and focusing
  • Returns to behavior they’ve outgrown, such as bedwetting
  • Social isolation
  • Use of drugs or alcohol

A Few Basic Strategies  

Now that we’ve addressed a broad range of stress-related concerns, here are a few practical ways you can support someone experiencing stress or anxiety — whether it’s an adult or child. 

  • Establish routines – For both children and adults, establishing regular routines can provide structure and security. With schools closed for the time being, create a schedule of learning activities and recreational fun to give your child a sense of normalcy.
  • Limit exposure of news coverage – The 24/7 news cycle does us no favors if we are dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression. Turn on the radio, TV, or your favorite social media platform and you are likely to be inundated with worrisome news. Limit your intake of COVID-19 news coverage.
  • Let others know you are here for them – One of the best things we can do for each other is to simply reassure one another that we are here for them. Let your children know they are safe with you, and let your family and friends know that they can count on you.
  • Accept your emotions and feelings – Realize that it’s okay to feel upset, scared, and angry about what’s happening in the world. It’s normal to be worried about the present and the future, and accept that it’s helpful to recognize these emotions. 

Teletherapy in Beverly Hills, Irvine, and Newport Beach

Blair Wellness Group now offers teletherapy services! Regardless of if you are experiencing what we’ve described above, Dr. Blair is thrilled to offer her therapeutic services to make the lives of our patients and clients that much easier. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to schedule your appointment with Dr. Blair, and be sure to look out for part two of this series!

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