NEW YORK - Contagious COVID variants, double masking, the wait for the vaccine, and more. When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, there's a lot to worry about.
There's no question we've all become a little more anxious in the age of COVID, but for some people, the health-related fears have become excessive enough to warrant a new classification: Coronaphobia.
"It interferes with a person's ability to function," said Dr. Una McCann, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "It crosses the border from a nervous nelly who is anxious about a lot of things to 'I can't get the things in my life done that I need to get done because of this phobia.'"
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According to Dr. McCann, people with coronaphobia avoid many activities, believing it's the only way to stay safe.
"They avoid more and more and more to avoid the thing they fear and their life gets smaller and smaller," Dr. McCann said.
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And with that comes contact with fewer and fewer people, says Dr. Nava Silton, a psychology professor at Marymount Manhattan College.
"A lot of people are so fearful of getting sick that they're avoiding social situations, they're avoiding community events, and it's one thing to be extra-safe but you want to be sure the person is able to function socially," Dr. Silton said.
Silton says that things like a walk or a run can go a long way, as can keeping in contact with friends.
"Socialization is so important and what I say is even if you can't get out as much as you used to get out, try to do everything you can to get outside," Dr. Silton said.
Experts say that if you do feel like your anxiety over coronavirus is impacting your day-to-day life, you should seek professional help.