Recommendations for Panic Disorder and OCD Patients During the Coronavirus Period

It is normal for people to feel anxious when faced with life-threatening events. The threatening coronavirus, which has taken the whole world under its influence, has also caused anxiety in many people.

The feeling of not knowing is one of the most important factors that increase anxiety and fear. In the case of coronavirus, uncertainty dominates, it is not known when it will end, there is no full cure yet, and the uncertainty of how and from whom to meet can cause intense anxiety in people.

Anxiety; It is a system that protects people from danger and to take precautions. While a certain and manageable amount of anxiety is protective, if the anxiety is not under control and it manages you, specific phobias such as depression, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, misophobia, anxiety disorder, etc. It brings with it many psychological problems.

While people with obsessive-compulsive disorder experience intense fear of catching germs, the process in them can trigger the situation even more and increase the existing fear and anxiety. People try to eliminate the anxiety created by the stress situation that they cannot control with behaviors that turn into rituals. Even though the ritual behaviors stop the anxiety within a certain time level, with the repetitive negative thoughts, the person finds himself in that ritual again.

In the process of panic disorder, where uncertainty prevails and cannot be tolerated, the person is worried that something bad will happen at any moment, and in the case of a panic attack that occurs suddenly in a very short time and quickly reaches the maximum level; “something dangerous is going to happen”, “I feel like I’m going to die”, “I feel like I’m suffocating”, “I can’t breathe”, “I feel like I’m having a stroke”, etc. In addition to feeling, there may also be situations where loss of control is seen.

10 SUGGESTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH PANIC DISORDER AND OCD

1.) Stay away from false news sources and social media. Get information from the most accurate and reliable sources. If necessary, limit the news sources you enter from social media.

2.) Take care not to spend too much time in news sources during the day, follow the agenda at certain time intervals. Following the news sources constantly during the day and the obsession of this process will create a negative mood and increase the existing anxiety.

3.) Give importance to social communication. Make online meetings with your loved ones during the day, deal with the things you love outside of the agenda. Get new hobbies, keep your mind busy with things that are not on the agenda.

4.) If you spend your days in isolation at home, such as washing your hands constantly at home after taking the necessary precautions (For example, if you do not feel comfortable after washing your hands for 20 seconds or a negative thought comes to your mind, wash your hands, bathing constantly during the day). It is important that you recognize extreme situations and be able to stop yourself.

5.) Uncontrollable emotions create a feeling of insecurity in the person and this situation allows you to get out of control and take your thoughts captive.
Constantly recurring negative thoughts in the mind, such as “wash your hands dirty hands”, “the virus may have been infected somehow even though you have been at home all day, go take a bath”, “do not know where the virus will come from, always clean” to relieve hard, harsh and negative thoughts such as constantly holding hands. Although washing, bathing, and cleaning constantly during the day provide short-term relief, the same worrying thought is repeated in the mind after a very short time. The exaggerated thoughts that come to your mind here are not because you are infected with the virus; It is important to be able to accept that there are exaggerated, negative thoughts that your mind produces.

6.) Respiratory distress seen in the case of coronavirus and panic attacks causes many people to worry that “I have trouble breathing, do I have the coronavirus”. In the case of a panic attack, symptoms such as difficulty in breathing reach the highest point in a very short time, and after a certain period of time, breathing is controlled and the person returns to his old life. The shortness of breath that occurs in the case of coronavirus does not occur in this way. It would be helpful not to misinterpret the panic attack process and to remind yourself that these symptoms are caused by a panic attack.

7.) Focusing on the changes that occur in the body during a panic attack may increase the existing anxiety. Instead, it is important to direct your body awareness elsewhere. Moving, focusing your mind on other things, taking the focus away from the body symptoms and focusing on something different, as a result of awareness activities using your 5 senses, panic attack symptoms are taken under control and gradually decrease.

8.) Accept that the negative, exaggerated thoughts that come to your mind are thoughts produced by your mind and do not reflect the truth. Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions; Negative emotions lead to negative behaviors. Therefore, remember that in order to be able to stop and control a behavior directed by anxiety, you must first change the negative and exaggerated thoughts that come to your mind.

9.) With breathing exercises, body awareness exercises, meditation exercises, the existing tension and anxiety are reduced, and the person can learn to notice and control the changes in his body.

10.) If the process is disrupting your daily functions and you cannot cope with this anxiety, do not hesitate to seek professional support.

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