According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 800 people have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). As of Tuesday, the CDC says at least 25 people have died because of the virus. As the country attempts to tackle the outbreak, one overlooked concern is the impact the virus could have on your mental well-being.
"Sometimes things get taken out of context. I think people hear one thing, and then they make assumptions" Erin Young, LPC, co-founder of The Bridge Therapeutic Services, said. "When they feel anxious or overwhelmed, they can do what's called catastrophizing a situation," Young said. "So you can take one small piece of information and kind of blow it up in their mind and make it actually mean something that never really did."
When there is conflicting information, people may result in extreme. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes have flown off shelves in a few stores. Some are protecting themselves by wearing masks. Young says by over-reacting, there could be self-induced illnesses.
"You might just be feeding that fear and the fear can grow and grow and grow," she said. "In the short term, it can lead to panic attacks and just feeling overwhelmed. But in the long term, it can lead to health issues when you feel, just really overwhelmed and in a state of panic and a prolong period of time."
Young says to reduce the stress, fear and worry about the outbreak, it simply starts with breathing.
"In the moment, you always want to breathe, just stop and deep breathe," Young said. "A lot of times, when you do get overwhelmed, the first thing people have a tendency to do is just gradually hold their breath. A good way to kind of minimize that would be with truth that's going to shrink that fear."
When explaining the virus to your child, Young says to make sure you are up to date with what is going on. It's best to stay calm before speaking on the matter. In the chance, you are fearful or stressed, children may be able to pick up on it.
For the latest on the coronavirus, text "FACTS" to our helpline number at 903-600-2600.