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COVID-19 And The Fear Of Going Out

Some people have been so worried about COVID-19 for so long that it could spark symptoms of agoraphobia and other anxiety disorders.

A third to half of people with agoraphobia have had panic attacks prior to diagnosis.

For many months, COVID-19 has caused most of us to dramatically change our daily routines, including avoiding people as much as possible, working at home instead of at the office, and attending schooling remotely. As restrictions lift, this is beginning to change, much to the relief of many. However, for those who suffer from agoraphobia, all these changes in daily life can be incredibly difficult and stressful to deal with.

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that makes people fear and avoid situations where they feel embarrassed, helpless, or threatened. Their fear of a situation is out of proportion to its true level of risk. Yet fearing public spaces in the midst of a pandemic is a normal response to such a threatening event.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to isolate themselves at home and avoid others, many health professionals believe it may make it harder to treat those who are already suffering from agoraphobia.

In addition, some health professionals believe that as Covid-19 restrictions lessen and society opens up again, some people will have trouble adjusting to normal life after so much social isolation and fear of infection.

“The danger is that some people have been so worried about getting COVID-19 for so long that it could spark symptoms of agoraphobia and other anxiety disorders,” says Dr. Samuel Nordberg.

The Chief of Behavioral Health at Reliant Medical Group, Dr. Nordberg continues, “Although most people are eager to get back to their routines, that won’t be true of everybody – some people will need help readjusting.”