As millions of people around the world get their COVID-19 vaccinations and the statistics regarding this virus improve in numerous countries, we are starting to see things return to everyday norms that existed before the pandemic took hold. That means that children are going back to in-person schooling, businesses are opening and people are going back to work in an office setting. A lot of people are excited and relieved to be getting back into a familiar routine, but others don’t share those feelings. In fact, people from all walks of life may be wondering if they’re simply nervous about going back to work and being around others or if they’re suffering from a full-blown anxiety disorder. A recent report attempts to quantify these feelings.
SoCal Empowered is an Orange County mental health treatment center, and we are quite familiar with the challenges associated with an anxiety disorder. Below we’re going to discuss the results of this report in hopes that people who may need help get it sooner rather than later. An anxiety disorder can be dealt with effectively if it’s treated properly.
About the Life Reentry Report
The report focused on the feelings people were experiencing as they prepare to start interacting with others on an in-person basis for the first time in over a year. The American Psychological Association, or the APA, published it, and the report is known as the APA’s Stress in America TM that’s released on a regular basis. This issue focused on several different factors relating to anxiety and other problems stemming from the pandemic.
The Harris Poll conducted the research by surveying 3,013 American adults online during February of 2021. Some of the findings were as follows:
- 49 percent of respondents felt uneasy about adjusting to in-person interaction after the pandemic.
- 48 percent of vaccinated adults also felt uneasy about this forthcoming change.
- 49 percent of unvaccinated adults shared these feelings of anxiousness and unease.
These results don’t necessarily indicate that half of the respondents are suffering from an anxiety disorder, but they do indicate the presence of several potential underlying problems. In addition to the findings above, the survey revealed:
- 61 percent of adults experienced unwanted weight changes during the pandemic.
- Those who gained more weight than wanted added an average of 29 pounds.
- 10 percent of this group added more than 50 pounds.
- 18 percent of respondents lost more weight than they wanted during the pandemic.
- The average weight loss among this group was 26 pounds.
- 67 percent of respondents reported sleeping more or less than they wanted.
- Nearly one-quarter of respondents reported drinking more alcohol to cope with stress.
What It All Means
Clearly, the survey reveals troubling signs. We’ve all had to adjust our lives radically over the past year, and as strange and stressful as it was a year ago, it seems that quite a few people have actually gotten fully used to a life without much in-person interaction. Feeling anxious about returning to “normal” as it was defined pre-pandemic is a natural human response.
However, it’s also quite possible that people have developed an anxiety disorder or some other mental health problem while living this way for so long. We’ve already discussed the relation between the pandemic and anxiety and depression. We’ve also looked closely at COVID and eating disorders. What it appears we need to do now is deal with what the experts in this survey are calling “reentry anxiety” so that it doesn’t become an enormous problem.
Anxiety Disorder Described
What’s the difference between simply feeling anxious and a full-blown anxiety disorder? This is an important distinction for people who may be feeling uneasy but who are unsure of the level of unease they are experiencing. There are thresholds and definitions that relate to an anxiety disorder, and the first thing people need to know is that there are several types, including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Phobia-related Disorders
Each of these disorders describes something different in terms of what people fear, but in general an anxiety disorder is much more intense than feeling nervous. Someone with an anxiety disorder suffers through excessive, pervasive and even intrusive feelings of fear and anxiety with regards to anything that can include personal health, social interactions or other things that people who are not suffering from this challenge don’t even really think about. If someone is suffering in this regard for a period of approximately 6 months, it could indicate that there’s a problem that needs treatment.
How SoCal Empowered Can Help
If you’re getting ready to reenter the world in some regard and you find yourself constantly worried about it for whatever reason, now is the time to dig a bit deeper to find out what’s really bothering you. Once again, a massive change in circumstances and routine is often met with nervousness, as this is a common response to these situations. However, if you’re so concerned about this that you’re:
- Gaining or losing weight
- Sleeping much more or less
- Eating much more or less
- Obsessing over the risks involved with reentry
You may need help. An anxiety disorder is something that disrupts everyday life in several different ways, and it could begin to disrupt yours or that of a loved one as people begin to reenter the world.
Fortunately, you can find out what’s happening on a preliminary level simply by contacting us. SoCal Empowered is an Orange County mental health treatment provider staffed by professionals who work with people from the standpoint of compassion and with the priority of improving people’s health. Call us today to discuss your situation, and we’ll tell you if we think treatment is a good idea. If we decide together that it is, we’ll even work with your insurance company to determine coverage before you commit to any additional steps. Get started on getting better as you get set to get back into life as we all once knew it.