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Coping with the coronavirus pandemic for people with anxiety disorders

March 26, 2020

About the Author

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John Sharp, MD, Contributor

Dr. John Sharp is a board-certified psychiatrist on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is renowned for clearly conveying evidenced-based messages regarding health and well-being. Dr. … See Full Bio
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Evelyn Dance
April 7, 2020

I have anxiety all the time and I note that this Corona virus is just another day for me. I see my family and other with anxiety but that is so normal for me. Because I take medication I do not feel the way I see them suffering. I hope after this time people may realize that the way they feel for a short time is the way a lot of people with anxiety feels everyday. The world is right about feeling anxiety right now. I hope we all learn to be a better person after this corona virus. I hope they understand the people that suffer from anxiety because it is a very hard debilitating disease.

Dr Syed Naveed shah
April 6, 2020

I learn alot from the abouve article regarding the coping with stress of corona virus .

April 4, 2020

I’m getting much better during the day but always wake up in the morning with anxiety exhibited by stomach and Abdominal pains……if I can Alleviate that, I’d be able to get a better start to each day. Thank you!

Holly Sharp
April 4, 2020

I just wanted to say that being on your own side during these times is very important. I can “practice” believing that everything bad is going to happen; (most of what I dread has already happened). I call also willing “practice” believing that all the good things I can imagine are going to come true. That is the wonderful part of this life – we can truly believe whatever we want – and it’s what we all have in common – not the substance of what we believe but the nature of us as people is that we “believe” in something – and whatever you focus on is usually where your emotions go. If you can come against worry by practicing focusing on what you want or need instead of what you are afraid of and try to realize so far a great deal of us are well – warm and safe and dry and healthy. As we can actually “believe” either way we might as well be on our own sides. Instead of reeling in all my fears I can deliberately fish for the good possibilities. You never know what good things the tide is going to bring in. <3

Jackie smith
April 4, 2020

How do you cope with the anxiety if you have to go to work it’s bad enough in isolation but havi g to go out to a school setting g where social distancing is nearly impossible is just crippling.

April 3, 2020

In the midst of recognizing and finally verbalizing my fears to a Dr. This pandemic broke out. A Constant fear of death. Waking to attacks, fear of traveling in cars for relatively short distances. Getting a sore throat and my mind goes on it’s own to cancer. These things were driving me insane before the pandemic broke out and just started taking buspar and paxil for treatment. It is an exhausting and invisible debilitating disease. Hard to explain to family and work. So thankful I finally reached out for help before this all happened. Thank you for recognizing that this is a real problem for many people.
To Japps, reach out for help and treatment. I dont like taking medication. I cant imagine how I would be able to cope with this crisis without it. Good luck and be safe!!

March 31, 2020

I have a panic disorder and my anxiety during this period is debilitating. Last week I had to file for unemployment so now I just sit at home all day worrying even more. This article brought me some of the relief I was looking for. The statement, “Well that was then, this is now,” is going to be of great use to me as well.

Japs Hatta
March 31, 2020

Thanks for this post, Dr. Sharp. Indeed, these are trying times for people with pre-existing ailments and more so for those who have been previously diagnosed with GAD, agoraphobia and panic disorder. Prior to our enhanced community quarantine aka “lockdown” here in Manila (Philippines), I was already able to bring down the number of episodes of panic to 1x a month without medication. We are now in our 3rd week of lockdown and during the entire 2nd week my episodes came every day, with as much as 5 episodes in one day. Will take your advise.

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