How the Pandemic Made Social Anxiety Worse

How the Pandemic Made Social Anxiety Worse

Isolation during quarantine and fears of developing a severe case of has left millions of young adults feeling worse than ever.

Between one-fourth and one-third of all U.S. adults experience anxiety at some point in their lives. The phenomenon is especially prevalent among young adults and women. Uncertainty bred by the pandemic seems to have made it more familiar. Fears of COVID-19 among young, vaccinated adults have them left struggling to integrate back into society.

The New York Times reports:

That was the experience of Garret Winton, 22, of Tallahassee, Fla. He recalled an afternoon last May when he curled up in bed and placed two fingers on his neck. One hundred thirty beats per minute, he guessed. The sign of another panic attack, his fourth that week.

He had detected his disorder in middle school, tamed it at college and lost control of it during the pandemic, especially that afternoon as he hyperventilated alone in his room, confronting the factors that increased his anxiety: isolation, draining shifts as a nursing assistant and unanswered texts from friends piling up.

As the country continues its gradual re-emergence from lockdowns, some young people are grappling anew with the disorder’s symptoms, encountering newfound insecurities, a fear of public spaces and a reluctance to hang out with friends. The result, experts said, has been a harmful weakening of their socializing muscles, underscoring the pandemic’s potential long-lasting effects on the of a generation.

Intertwined with these feelings, many young people say, is a pressure to enjoy their youth while knowing the pandemic and their social anxiety have prevented them from taking even the simplest steps of early adulthood, like meeting new co-workers in person, going on dates or simply having fun with friends on a night out.

A recent survey found 41% of Democrats believe COVID-19 hospitalized one-half of the people who got it. The correct answer is between 1% and 5%.

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