Anxiety among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis

The coronavirus pandemic is not just a risk from a physical illness perspective. In addition, it also increased the risk of developing psychological health problems, both because of the implications of exposure to VOCID-19 and because of its impact on the economy and people’s way of life.

However, one of the most important aspects of this crisis context for COVID-19 is that it does not affect everyone in the same way. One of the groups most affected by the virus and its disease is that of healthcare professionals, who have been exposed for several consecutive weeks to a very complicated work situation marked by stress and anxiety.

This is precisely what we will talk about in this article, about psychological disorders related to anxiety in physicians, nurses and health-related professions Usually.

    How does anxiety arise?

    First, let’s look at the nature of the anxiety developed by much of the healthcare workforce during the coronavirus crisis, to understand what the problem is. To do this you need to know distinguish between anxiety as a psychological disorder and anxiety as a psychological coping mechanism.

    Although when we think about what anxiety entails all of the discomfort it usually generates comes to mind, the truth is, it is not inherently negative. In fact, the fact that it is present in most animals already gives us a very useful clue.

    The reason is that when we are anxious we usually adopt a greater predisposition to get out of harm’s way and avoid unnecessary harm and trouble. For example, these days anxiety is part of what has led millions of people to take steps to socially distance themselves and prevent infection.

    however, there are cases when the anxiety becomes so extreme that it itself becomes an additional problemSomething we must learn to deal with through conscious effort. And when justified by the need to take on responsibilities as important as those of a hospital’s healthcare staff, the combination can lead to a high level of psychological attrition.

    Manifestations of anxiety among health workers in the VOCID-19 crisis

    Healthcare staff involved in ensuring the well-being of patients and treating them as well as possible during the VOCID-19 crisis he was seen, almost overnight, faced with the need to give the best of his ability to work, Even without sufficient material resources.

    To some extent the anxiety is justified by the work situation, but in some cases this level of emotional disturbance remains for most of the day with high intensity levels threatening not to go away even in the face of a decrease in cases of infection. It is true that this is not a purely psychological problem, given that their working conditions are very harsh, but it cannot be denied that how you learn to deal with emotions plays an important role.

    Now … how are anxiety issues reflected in healthcare workers during the coronavirus era? Let’s look at a summary of its symptoms.

    1. Irritability and propensity to anger

    Many healthcare professionals experience anxiety as something that strains their patience; not because they consciously believe that there is reason to be angry with their environment, but because of the emotional fatigue of constantly having to deal with pressing issues of great importance to patients. For that, it is relatively common for them to be frustrated and more likely to have discussions or outbursts of anger even at home, with all the problems that entail.

    2. Rumination and feelings of guilt

    When you work day in and day out with people who are totally or almost totally dependent on your job, it is easier to find yourself feeling guilty. Thoughts on what could have been done and not donePainful memories that emerge over and over in consciousness… They are characteristic of a phenomenon known as psychological rumination, and which is typical of anxiety problems.

    Basically, the person experiencing psychological rumination finds it difficult to “reverse” an idea that bothers them or the content of which is disturbing in some sense.

      3. Problems in future episodic thought processing

      It seems that people with generalized anxiety find it difficult to cope with psychological processes based on future episodic thinking i.e. predictions of what’s to come.

      More precisely, these mental representations based on the imagination are less vivid than in other people, and they are biased towards pessimism. This way, it is easier to believe that nothing will change for the better, which helps that the person does not try to solve their problems in the aspects that are under their control.

      4. Sleep problems

      Sleep disorders are very common in those who suffer from anxiety. This is very noticeable in the case of health workers, as the lack of rest makes them worse, exposing themselves to even more problems.

      5. Emotional fatigue

      Due to all of the above, the emotional fatigue that healthcare professionals develop it mingles with the physical fatigue of working under pressure.

      Are you looking for psychotherapeutic support?

      If you are a healthcare professional looking for professional help to endure these difficult times, please contact me. I am a psychologist specializing in clinical psychology with over 25 years of experience, And I attend both in person and in online therapy. To see more information about my services or my contact details, go to this page.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Nestadt, G .; Samuel, J .; Riddle, MA; Liang, KI et al. (2001). The Relationship Between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety and Affective Disorders: Findings from the Johns Hopkins OCD Family Study. Psychological medicine 31.
      • Rynn, MA; Brawman-Mintzer, O. (2004). Generalized anxiety disorder: acute and chronic treatment. CNS spectra. 9 (10): pages 716-723.
      • Solomon, C. (2015). Generalized anxiety disorder. The New England Journal of Medicine, 373 (21), pages 2059-2068.
      • Sylvers, P .; Lilienfeld, SO; LaPrairie, JL (2011). Differences between fear and anxiety about traits: implications for psychopathology. Journal of clinical psychology. 31 (1): pages 122 to 137.
      • Wu, J. (2015). Episodic future thinking in generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 36, pages 1-8.

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