The COVID-19 pandemic is, for obvious reasons, causing a lot of anxiety.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is defined as excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance), which can lead you to feeling restlessness, keyed up or on edge, easily fatigued and / or irritable. The person finds it difficult to control the worry and the anxiety, worry, causes significant distress in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Psycho-education about Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The more you understand about your mind and body's natural response to fear, the more you are able to control your thoughts, feeling and actions.
Next is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to analyse your thoughts about anxiety, particularly at a time where COVID-19 has completely upended the 'rules' of engagement. Identifying and challenging unhelpful thoughts and using evidence and probability to adopt more realistic thoughts about life during and post a pandemic.
Now we are ready to develop coping skills to encouraging an attitude of "facing your fear". We know we are responding to our psychological and physiological cues when we avoid anxiety provoking situations, so now we need to develop coping strategies to resist the urge to avoid and manage the distress that this may cause.
Finally mindfulness and relaxation is essential in the treatment of anxiety. When faced with anxiety, mindfulness and relaxation can have many benefits, including slowing heart rate, reducing activity of stress hormones and reducing muscle tension and improving sleep
As you learn relaxation techniques, you can become more aware of your physical responses to stress. Once you know what the stress response feels like, you can make a conscious effort to practice a relaxation technique the moment you start to feel anxious and this can prevent anxiety from spiralling out of control.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Phobia / Social Anxiety Disorder is characterised by a marked fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others.
Examples include social interactions (e.g. having a conversation, meeting unfamiliar people), being observed (e.g. eating or drinking), and performing in front of others (e.g. giving a speech).
Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder
Similar to GAD but with one key inclusion:
Exposure therapy involves a gradually step-by-step approach back into normal life. Starting small and building up to more difficult tasks. From Zooming, to a one-on-one coffee at a cafe, to speaking to a stranger, to joining friends at birthdays or other celebrations, to perhaps even social speaking at one of those engagements. Each step must be accomplished with a tolerable level of anxiety and may take multiple attempts to be achieve, but the aim is to ultimately be free of social anxiety.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
According to the DSM-5, Separation Anxiety Disorder is the developmentally inappropriate and excessive fear of or anxiety concerning separation from those to whom the individual is attached.
Treatment of Separation Anxiety Disorder
Similar to GAD but with two key inclusion: