By Hala Bader al-Humaidhi
The continuous spread of Covid-19 has continued to impact fear in us and has become a nightmare to people living with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The fear created by Covid-19 is responsible for the daily changes in habits of people living with these disorders. Based on data presented by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 2 million people live with OCD and more than 7 million are affected by an anxiety disorder. Covid-19 has created fear in the lives of many people but the people living with a mental disorder are the most affected because it adds more fear to the already existing. Fear has caused changes in thoughts and emotions of people living with such disorders because they fear to transfer the virus to others even when they do not have it or not showing any symptoms of it. When people suffering from such disorders run out of disinfectants or sanitisers, it creates more panic because they believe that without them, there is a high chance of them getting the virus and spreading it to their loved ones. As the coronavirus continues to spread, a lot of things such as some services, events, and schools are being closed and several people are headed to a financial crisis. Many people are trying to reach out asking for help in different places such as the Crisis Text Line and on other different social media platforms. The most affecting factor that creates fear for people living with anxiety and OCD is the social distancing that is giving them more free time and is creating negative thoughts in their minds. Some of these patients go as far as escaping from mental facilities. According to the Director of the Anxiety Disorder Treatment Center, Reid Wilson, every individual is exposed to a specific kind of fear all over the world. One of his patients suffering from OCD touched his nose with his hand, something that made the patient so worried from the fact that he might transfer the disease to other people including his doctor. This act made him nearly cancel his appointment. Another patient living with an anxiety disorder was worried about her daughter travelling, because she thinks she is exposed to the danger of being affected by the pandemic.
Since the basis of anxiety disorders is uncertainty, Covid-19 has created more unending problems for most anxiety foundations in many ways. The pandemic has increased the level of anxiety in patients that have made it difficult for them to cope up with daily activities. For those who have been affected in different ways such as loss of income, work changes, isolation among others are now experiencing difficulty in coping up with the changes. This has mostly affected the anxiety patients who were also recovering from their conditions. The Covid-19 fear has caused the relapse in such patients.
Patients living with anxiety and OCD are living with fear in their daily lives and to some, it is not the fear of the virus, but the fear created by other people. People living without anxiety or OCD are affected by the spread of Covid-19 and their state of panic and hysteria, also increases the fear of people living with such disorders. Those who live with anxiety and OCD disorder think that they are at a higher risk because of their conditions. This combines with other information in media, worsening their condition, and affects their daily activities that are exposing them to more risk of relapsing than ever.
The normal life of people living with anxiety and OCD has become the normal life of everyone as all of them live with the fear of the pandemic. People panic and suddenly everyone needs the sanitiser and disinfectant wipes and if they don’t receive them, they get worried.
All in all, it is important to note that fear, which has been created by the coronavirus pandemic has caused more damage everywhere and it is vital to find remedies for patients with OCD. Now we know how people with OCD feel every single day!
• The author is a consultant in Public Relations and Personality Types. Instagram: @Tipsbyhalahill
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