COVID-19 produces many physical symptoms, for example coughing, fever, or fatigue. Beyond the physical, however, COVID-19 also greatly impacts mental health. In fact, researchers defined the long-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 with a new term: “coronaphobia.” “Coronaphobia” includes the fear and emotional and social impact experienced by the general public in response to COVID-19. People experiencing “coronaphobia” may have panic, anxiety, depression, obsessive behaviors, hoarding, or paranoia. This can cause long-term mental health problems that require ongoing care. Many call this an “adjustment disorder,” which is when a person’s distress and dysfunction is beyond what would normally be expected in the situation. Recent research shows that “coronaphobia” is more likely to occur in people who already feel vulnerable to disease or already have mental health struggles (such as anxiety). It is important to note that anxieties and fears don’t slow down with the pandemic; rather, they can continue long after.
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