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Poll Finds High Anxiety in the Time of Coronavirus

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Mar 25th 2020

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WEDNESDAY, March 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Coronavirus has sent the anxiety levels of Americans soaring, a new online poll shows.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults found that 48% of respondents were anxious about the possibility of getting the coronavirus, 40% were anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, and 62% were anxious about the possibility of family and loved ones getting COVID-19.

More than one-third (36%) said the coronavirus is having a serious effect on their mental health, and 59% said coronavirus is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives.

Most (57%) said they're concerned that the coronavirus will seriously harm their finances, and almost half said they're worried about running out of food, medicine and/or supplies.

Two-thirds (68%) fear that the coronavirus will have a long-lasting impact on the U.S. economy.

"The stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic can and is having an effect on people's physical and mental health," said APA President Dr. Bruce Schwartz.

"During this time, it is important to do what we can to maintain self-care and manage the stress," Schwartz said in an association news release. "I would suggest this for everyone coping at home as well as those who are still in their workplaces by necessity, especially the health care professionals on the front lines of this pandemic."

Despite high levels of anxiety, most respondents said they haven't yet experienced significant behavioral changes. Only 19% reported trouble sleeping, 8% said they'd been consuming more alcohol or drugs/other substances, and 12% said they're fighting more with their partner or loved ones because they're stuck at home together.

"The poll highlights both the anxiety caused by the pandemic and the need for clear, consistent communications on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said APA CEO and medical director Dr. Saul Levin.

"In the disruption COVID-19 is causing, everyone needs to make sure they are taking the time to take care of their own physical and mental health, alongside with their families, friends and work colleagues," Levin said in the release.

"Social isolation can be prevented by taking the time to use social media, letters or simply the phone to communicate with loved ones and friends, particularly those we haven't been in touch with over the years as we would have liked," he added. "Together, we will get through this."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines how to protect yourself from the coronavirus.