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Coming out of the cave: Some people feel scared as life creeps up

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Fort Lauderdale, Florida (AP) — Supper bookings are being made again happily. A long vacation is booked. People get together again in some of the previous ways.

But not everyone is back.

Their story emerges as the world begins to reopen. People are imagining a nasty catch-up conversation with a crowd that secretly fears each milestone and instead induces anxiety. Even small jobs outside the home (traveling to a grocery store or returning to the office) can be overwhelming.

Psychologists call it re-entry fear, and as the headlines signal an imminent return to life after a pandemic, they find it more common.

“I’ve embraced and got used to this new evasion lifestyle. I don’t understand returning to the previous state. I’ll keep myself isolated,” says Thomas Pietras, who lives alone and works at home. I will. Suburbs of Chicago as a content creator. His use of alcohol and marijuana also increased during the pandemic.

Pietras says his anxiety worsened significantly as more stories of life after vaccination increased. “I’m used to hiding in the house and taking advantage of curbside and delivery to avoid any situation with people,” he says.

As the world returns to something similar to normal life, many report on the challenges that Pietras plays in their lives. Time at home—blockade, fear, fear, isolation—changed them, exacerbating existing worries and creating entirely new ones.

“This was a mixed reaction,” said Amy Cirbus, clinical content director at Talkspace, an online mental health group that currently has nearly 50,000 clients. “Some people are very relieved to return to normal, others are struggling. Many feel that they are not ready for re-entry and their anxiety is skyrocketing.”

Some felt that they were limited by the confinement of their homes, while others felt that they were safe, comfortable, and even enjoyable.

Like many others, Pietras said his anxiety had little to do with COVID infections and social interactions. Psychologists say that fear of leaving home has little to do with rational concerns about the spread of the virus and may be unidentifiable or unrealistic.

In some cases, psychologists, whether in a safe and socially remote environment or vaccinated, begin to make repeated excuses to avoid meeting friends. Says subtle. But in some cases, it’s more extreme, says psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Bregman, who noticed this phenomenon in his Miami practice and called it “cave syndrome.”

“The people with the most anxiety disorders in my practice are the most affected. They can’t even get out,” said Bregman, who is studying the psychological impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic on the world. Says.

After the blockade, about 40% of the population will be diagnosed with what is now called PTSD, Bregman says. “It took people 10 years to get out of it,” he says.

The pandemic has exacerbated the problems of people who are already suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. However, some patients are experiencing these symptoms for the first time.

Dr. Julie Holland, a New York psychiatrist, says the pandemic has caused new trauma for some people.

according to Survey In February by the American Psychological Association, nearly half of respondents said they were worried about adapting to face-to-face interactions after the pandemic was over. Surprisingly, the status of vaccination has little effect on people’s reactions, and 48% of vaccinated adults say they are still anxious.

“You’ve been taught to stay away from people for a year, and you’ve learned to be afraid of people because they can make you sick or kill you,” Holland said. say. “There is no doubt that it is easier to learn to be afraid than to be afraid.”

The physical symptoms of fighting or fleeing, such as heartbeat, dyspnea, and dizziness, can be frightening.

“People who are truly free and planning vacations are really upset my patients because they are challenging the levels of fear and risk tolerance,” said a New York psychiatrist who noticed a surge in patient referrals. Dr. Sharon Batista, a doctor, says. Since the holidays.

Children and teens are especially vulnerable. Prior to the pandemic, 17-year-old Erin had many close friends, but said their interactions slowly diminished during the blockade in the suburbs of DC. Now she barely talks to them.

She fears that she “has to chase and experience all the little stories that no one likes,” said a third-year high school student who has been taking anxiety medication for several years. The Associated Press uses only her name because she is a minor.

“A year ago, I went out because I met a friend at school and wanted to go on an adventure,” she recently posted on social media. “I’m afraid to leave home because I’m afraid to meet my school friends and go on an adventure now.”

Nicole Russell became so afraid to leave Miami that he couldn’t interact with anyone else in the house, including his 11-year-old daughter, and withdrew into the bedroom for days at a time. She got terrible, woke up all night, slept during the day, relentlessly checked social media, and constantly cleaned while rubbing the floor with a toothbrush.

“I couldn’t cope with the pressure of talking to others, so I didn’t leave the small corridor for days at a time,” said Russell, who left a note reminiscent of taking a shower and brushing his teeth. I will. “I wasn’t alive, I’m sure.”

Last month, Russell shook off his family and friends when he tried to plan something small for her birthday last month. “We were forced to isolate, and now we’re used to it,” she says.

Experts say that taking a small step over time is one of the most effective treatments. The more patients go to stores and meet friends, the easier it will be to discover the forgotten fun of social interaction, discover that much of the world hasn’t changed, and re-adventure. Others may need medication.

Russell, who described himself as “not working,” recently took some steps in that direction. She was forced to make a terrifying trip to the grocery store. She was inspired to see people laughing and talking.

She started treatment with antidepressants. It worked, and within a week things got much better. Now, “I’m standing up and moving around. I want to start catching up with everyone.”

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