Record of anxiety attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic

Se registra un récord de ataques de ansiedad durante la pandemia del covid-19, según un estudio

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In addition to the physical health problems derived from the covid-19 pandemic, humanity faces mental health problems.

A new study by experts at the University of California who specialize in monitoring the public’s health needs found evidence of a record in possible anxiety attacks or panic attacks due to the pandemic and its consequences, by analyzing searches in Google, as published in the magazine JAMA Internal Medicine.

Many health experts are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic could have widespread effects on people’s mental health, but assessing these concerns is difficult without data.

The doctor John W. AyersResearch Director, notes that “traditional public health surveillance lacks the agility to provide information on demand. As a result, when public leaders need real-time data to inform their responses to the mental health burdens of covid-19, all that can be gathered is theoretical speculation.

The study was carried out in coordination with the doctor Alicia L. Nobles, also from the Center for Data Driven Health at the Qualcomm Institute at the University of California, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, Barnard College, and the Institute for Disease Modeling.

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A record of anxiety attacks is registered during the covid-19 pandemic, according to a study

The research team analyzed search queries for Google mentioning “panic attack” or “anxiety attack” that arose from the United States from January 2004 to May 9, 2020. These included inquiries such as “Am I having a panic attack?” «Signs of anxiety attack«or «anxiety attack symptoms ».

They studied anxiety attacks because they are a common mental health problem, they can lead to other mental health problems such as depression, they are triggered by external stressors, and (especially relevant during a pandemic) they are socially contagious.

When assessing trends after the president Trump First declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020 to assess the impact of COVID-19, the team found that searches related to severe acute anxiety reached record levels.

(Photo: Getty Images)

The dates

The largest increases in inquiries occurred between March 16, 2020 and April 14, 2020, with a cumulative increase of 17 percent.

These increases coincided with the deployment of the national social distancing guidelines (March 16) and their extension (March 29), when the United States surpassed China with the majority of reported cases (March 26), when health authorities they recommended face masks (April 3) and when the United States surpassed Italy in most deaths (April 11). Queries returned to typical levels on April 15, 2020 until the end of the study.

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“In practical terms, during the first 58 days of the covid-19 pandemic, it is estimated that there were a total of 3.4 million searches related to severe acute anxiety in the United States,” emphasizes Dr. Benjamin Althouse, principal scientist at the Institute of Modeling. of Diseases–. In fact, searches for anxiety and panic attacks were the highest in more than 16 years of historical search data.

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“The pandemic and our public health response, while justified on the basis of preliminary evidence, could have many unintended and collateral health impacts. Our results provide one of the first insights to understand these impacts “, highlights the doctor. Eric C. Leas, an assistant professor in the UCSD Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and a co-author of the study.

A record of anxiety attacks is registered during the covid-19 pandemic, according to a study

“A panic attack should not be taken lightly, as it can lead someone to the emergency room with shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain and an intense sense of fear – adds the doctor Ayers-. Therefore, our results undoubtedly justify the need to increase mental health services “.

“The value of follow-up visits goes beyond acute anxiety,” says the doctor Mark Dredze, associate professor of computer science John C. Malone at Johns Hopkins University and a co-author of the study. For example, during the covid-19 pandemic, for the first time we detected spikes in the purchase of unproven therapies and in the purchase of weapons using similar methods, and these may extend further to public and mental health issues.

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“It can take years to fully understand the social consequences of COVID-19 – the doctor writes Adam poliak, a professor of Roman family teaching and research in computer science at Barnard College and a co-author of the study. Over time, we may find that many more comprehensive services will be needed to respond to other collateral impacts, and our rapid data-driven approach could be used to focus and prioritize responses to those impacts.

“In theory, decision makers could track searches for hundreds of mental health problems, identify the subset with the highest volume, and direct resources to meet those needs,” concludes Dr. Nobles. As political leaders debate where to spend health resources to address the mental health burdens of COVID-19, timely empirical evidence like the one we provide can ensure that limited resources are allocated to the most extreme needs.

By: Europa Press

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