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What to Do If You Are Feeling Anxious About the Coronavirus

Fear can be a good thing. It is an evolutionary survival mechanism that helps us avoid potentially dangerous situations. Through a process called “negative reinforcement,” humans are able to take on behaviors or actions in order to avoid or remove possible negative outcomes.

But when the future is unknown, the system breaks down. More specifically, when our prefrontal cortexthe part of our brain involved with planning and regulating our thoughts, actions, and emotions — lacks sufficient information to make rational decisions, we can experience feelings of anxiety.

Anxiety is defined as a feeling of nervousness, unease, or worry about something with an uncertain outcome.

We see this phenomenon taking place right now, across the globe, as tens of millions of people are faced with uncertainty in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

While leading scientists, physicians, economists, policymakers, and futurists have speculated on the range of potential outcomes, it is clear that no one can say for certain what the future holds. Now, perhaps more than ever, so much feels unknown and unpredictable — and that can be anxiety-inducing, even for those of us who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.

When Anxiety Turns into Panic

Lacking the necessary information to plan for the future, our brains start to create elaborate stories and imagine worst case scenarios. When we can no longer control our fears, we may enter into panic mode, which is defined as “sudden, uncontrollable fear or anxiety often causing wildly unthinking behavior.”

This behavior can manifest as avoidance of crucial tasks or participating in self-destructive and harmful habits, like panic buying. In extreme cases, it can even lead to panic attacks.

Anxiety is Contagious

Social contagion theory suggests that emotions and behaviors spread from one crowd participant to another, meaning that our own anxieties can be easily triggered or cued by coming into contact with another anxious person (or a few million of them online).

As tens of millions of people around the world are in quarantine or practicing self-isolation and social distancing, they are also consuming more media, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. Over consumption of media, especially sensationalized content, can exacerbate these feelings of anxiety.

This might feel like a double-edged sword, since it is precisely the lack of information and fear of the unknown that can cause anxiety in the first place. The key here is to find a healthy balance between being informed enough to make smart decisions, and refraining from constantly consuming anxiety-inducing content. A good strategy is to find a trustworthy source for information and limit your intake to a few articles or segments each day. Ultimately, we should refrain from mindlessly scrolling on social media, keeping the news on in the background, and constantly refreshing the internet to check for updated facts and figures.

Be sure to check-in with yourself regularly and ask whether your media consumption is making you feel informed and prepared, or whether it is contributing to your feelings of anxiousness and causing you to panic.

How CBD Can Help You Overcome Corona-Induced Anxiety

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant. A range of preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that CBD has a calming effect in the central nervous system, and may be beneficial for treating anxiety disorders and insomnia.

CBD Can Be Used to Treat Anxiety

Existing preclinical evidence suggests that CBD has serious potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when administered acutely. 

“CBD exhibits a broad range of actions, relevant to multiple symptom domains, including anxiolytic, panicolytic, and anti compulsive actions, as well as a decrease in autonomic arousal, a decrease in conditioned fear expression, enhancement of fear extinction, reconsolidation blockade, and prevention of long-term anxiogenic effects of stress.”

If you are experiencing feelings of overwhelming anxiety related to the coronavirus, you may want to try CBD.

CBD Can Help Promote Sleep

A good night’s sleep is crucial for general health and wellbeing, including mental health. Sleep helps nurture mental and emotional resilience, while sleep deprivation can elevate the risk for anxiety disorders, worsen symptoms, and prevent recovery.

But which came first? Does anxiety cause insomnia or does insomnia cause anxiety? The answer is: both. If you’re  so worried that you cannot fall or stay asleep, the problem will exacerbate and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Preliminary research into cannabis and insomnia suggests that CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia. A retrospective case series at a psychiatric clinic involving clinical application of CBD for sleep and anxiety in 72 adults found that anxiety decreased by 79.2% within the first month and sleep scores improved by 66.7%

If your coronavirus-induced anxiety is causing you to lose sleep, these CBD products may help.

The Final Word on CBD and Corona-Induced Anxiety

There is no doubt that we’re living in uncertain and unprecedented times. Fear of the unknown can cause many of us to experience bouts of anxiety, which, if untreated, can lead to panic.

Self care during this time is imperative, and CBD can be a useful tool for soothing your corona-induced anxiety and insomnia.

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