High Anxiety in America Over COVID-19

Almost half of respondents said they worry about running out of food, medicine, and/or supplies.

Most survey respondents (57%) said they’re concerned the pandemic will have a serious impact on their personal finances and two thirds (68%) fear it will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.

In light of this, Schwartz also noted that these rates could well be higher now as the poll was conducted before many Americans started losing their jobs and experiencing the resulting financial effects.

About 19% of respondents reported they are having trouble sleeping, 8% report consuming more alcohol or other drugs/substances, and 12% report fighting more with a partner or other loved ones because they are stuck at home together.

About a quarter of respondents (24%) reported they have had trouble concentrating on things other than the pandemic.

Most respondents (68%) report they feel knowledgeable about COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread. About one third of adults are concerned about not being able to access tests and healthcare if needed.

Interestingly, the poll results shows that older Americans are less anxious than their younger counterparts about the virus.

“Maybe being older means you’re a little wiser and a little more worldly,” said Schwartz. “If you’re of a certain age, you will have lived through the Vietnam war, or 9/11. With age comes perspective.”

Practice Changer

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has essentially eliminated face-to-face consultations, has significantly changed the way psychiatrists are delivering care. For example, most therapy sessions are now being carried out over the telephone, with some done via telepsychiatry.

A “terrific benefit” of this is that since patients are essentially homebound, clinicians are very successful at reaching them and “there are very few no-shows,” said Schwartz.

“So, in a certain sense, we’re delivering more services right now to more patients than we were before.”

Patients with anxiety disorders, many of whom have heightened worries now with the coronavirus, are getting proper treatment and counseling, said Schwartz.

However, he is concerned about the two thirds of patients with these disorders who don’t typically seek treatment and who might be experiencing increased suffering during the pandemic.

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