Coronaphobia is affecting more people than the coronavirus. Call it another byproduct of the global pandemic. Or an adverse effect of these “unprecedented times”. Coronaphobia is a relatively new psychological condition that is causing as much distress as getting infected with COVID-19.
What is coronaphobia?
Coronaphobia is the name for the fear and anxiety of getting infected with COVID-19. Symptoms include sleep disturbances, nightmares, immobility, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach ache as a bouquet of strong physiological reactions to the fear of contracting coronavirus. People already having clinical depression and other neuroses like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are at higher risk of being coronaphobic.
This newly minted unwelcome disorder is sending mental health professionals in panic mode because of the distress calls from old and new patients. Coronaphobia is also taking a toll on people because of the added pressure of the ongoing health crisis, loss of jobs and large number of deaths reported in the media on a daily basis. Since the disorder is rather new, there haven’t been many clinical studies about this condition so it requires further investigation.
What it is not
You DON’T have coronaphobia if you aren’t showing signs of physical or physiological distress due to the pandemic. Exercising caution or having a sense of alertness about the pandemic is considered normal. However, when caution turns to dread and terror about every little action and every news alert, you should seek the opinion of a mental health professional.
If you have coronaphobia…
Try to find out more about the condition from reputed sources. At the end of the day, this is another of many psychological concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Take it seriously enough to talk to someone reliable but don’t worry yourself silly (that is how the condition begins in the first place!).
If a friend or family member is showing symptoms of coronaphobia, be kind and sensitive to them. Don’t laugh at their anxieties. Hear them out as much as you can. A compassionate ear is better for their wellbeing and yours too.