Updated: May 3
Today we are directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic. Either we or one of our loved ones is infected or battling for their lives, or we know someone around us who is suffering. Anxiety, related to Covid is very real and something we have to recognize rather than being in denial because only when we accept it can we start doing something to change it.
It can manifest either in clinically visible ways or it could be a subconscious process that is affecting all our decision-making, our work, and our internal thought processes negatively.
But how we manage our emotions and anxiety has a direct effect on the quality of our day, our health, our mind, and eventually the quality of the support we can give to our loved ones and people around us in need.
Why should we keep this anxiety in control?
A life event of this sort where the sheer magnitude of the event (the pandemic) and the high levels of morbidity & mortality it brings along, is big enough to cause extreme levels of anxiety and stress without us realizing it.
The more the stress and anxiety, the more prone you are to get Covid or any disease and if you are already suffering from Covid you will take longer to heal completely. It is more crucial for a Covid affected person to keep their spirits high and find ways to beat the stress and anxiety.
Remember the susceptibility of stress varies from person to person and you can never know how much it can impact one's well-being, defense from disease, or healing capacity after being infected.
Chronic stress and anxiety, which is more likely the case in this pandemic, can significantly affect the immune system and manifest as disease. You could not only be prone to Covid but also all other diseases like allergies, cough and cold, recurrent migrainous headaches, stomach-related problems, and many more.
Because of rise in the catecholamine level and the suppressor T cells, the immune system gets suppressed and increases the risk of viral infection. So in a layman’s language stress and anxiety makes you susceptible to all kinds of viral infections easily.
Stress can also result in the release of histamine which can trigger moderate-to-severe bronchoconstriction in asthmatics or worsen the symptoms in a diagnosed Covid patient.
Effects of stress and anxiety include a sudden unexplained increase in sugar level in diabetics and an increase in acid concentration in the stomach resulting in an increase in gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcers or stress ulcers. A significant increase in mouth ulcers and loss of taste can also be seen as a manifestation of stress and anxiety.
Let's not forget the combination of stress along with the sedentary life that most people are living these days along with a high-fat diet makes you very prone to high cholesterol levels and an increase in plaque buildup in the arteries.
There is also a higher probability of psychiatric illness like neurosis followed by depression and schizophrenia following a stressful life event than a physical or medical illness. Not to forget mood disorders, general irritability, confusion, and lack of desire to do anything.
According to some studies, stress-induced changes in the immune system may even be responsible for triggering a cancerous process in the body.