How young people’s social anxiety worsened in the pandemic – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-09-27 15:05:55 –


They expected their twenties to be a time of transition to adulthood with their friends. Instead, they were isolated. Thousands of young people are now struggling to socialize again.

Moving to a new city to earn a master’s degree, Nebandriapage, 25, sometimes felt paralyzed. “I felt alone during the pandemic, and I think I was lonely despite being able to go out,” she said. Nasuna Stuart-Ulin / New York Times

One student, alone in his room, had several panic attacks a week. As I walked down the busy street, I felt my hands trembling. Another person hid in the bathroom while in a restaurant with a friend and wondered why he was overbreathing at his birthday party.

They all live with some degree of social anxiety, which is amplified by the pandemic and spreads among young people as a disability exacerbated by months of isolation, fostering social withdrawal, and embracing the habit of recluse. It is firmly established.

About 9% to 10% of young adults and adolescents in the United States have a disabilityAccording to the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, it is defined as a strong fear of being seen and judged by others. Psychologists say that many now feel that their extreme self-consciousness becomes more severe.

It was the experience of Garrett Winton, 22, in Tallahassee, Florida. He remembered the afternoon of May when he curled up in bed and put two fingers around his neck. He estimated it to be 130 beats per minute. Another sign of a panic attack, his fourth time of the week.

He discovered his disability in junior high school, tamed it in college, and lost control of it during a pandemic. Especially that afternoon, he overventilated alone in his room and faced factors that increased anxiety. There are a lot of unanswered texts from friends.

Now, when he was out of breath and had black spots on his eyesight, he remembered that he had lost much of the progress he had made in managing social anxiety during the pandemic process.

“It was getting better,” Winton said. “But the pandemic stopped and was pushed back.”

As the country continues to gradually recover from the blockade, some young people are renewing their disability symptoms by discovering newly discovered anxiety, fear of public places, and hesitation in socializing with friends. increase. According to experts, the result is a detrimental weakening of their socialized muscles, highlighting the potential long-term effects of pandemics on the mental health of generations.

Many young people are intertwined with these emotions and are under pressure to enjoy the young people while knowing the pandemic, and due to social unrest, they meet new colleagues in person or date, etc. in early adulthood. I couldn’t even take the simplest steps. Or just go out at night and have fun with your friends.

Paula Janes Lukin, an assistant professor of psychology at Columbia University and the New York State Institute of Psychiatry, said:

When 25-year-old Nebandria Page moved to Ottawa, Ontario in June to earn her master’s degree, she was initially excited to explore a new city. She has always enjoyed eating out with friends and finding new cafes.

“But when we were out, I was really nervous and anxious, and it felt like everyone was staring at me,” Page recalled. “I felt really exposed and really vulnerable.”

She was afraid to leave the house. She stuttered when she ordered coffee. And one afternoon, when I was crocheting a new blue box for the first time, I felt other people looking at me, so I leaned against the building and became nervous about other people’s judgments. I cried softly.

“I was alone during the pandemic, and I think I was lonely, even though I was able to go out,” Page said.

Several the study Psychologists across the country expect the disorder to become more prevalent in the coming months and to increase the incidence of depression. 13% For adults aged 18-25.

“This is a concern, especially for young people, as they were building their social skills and they didn’t have as many opportunities as older adults,” says Yanes-Lukin. I did.

Lauren Ruddock, 27, from York, England, has been worried since he was nine. After years of progress, she now feels that her mental health has receded thanks to COVID, she said.

She wasn’t afraid to stumble when throwing away trash, but was accustomed to eating alone in a restaurant, a type of exposure therapy. In January 2020, she could even read her poem on an open mic night. Even now, more than a year later, she is trying to push herself to reach that level again.

“I feel like I’ve stepped back a few steps,” she said. “But I don’t want to stay in the four walls of my house forever, because it only exacerbates social unrest.”

Dr. Leela Magabi, a psychiatrist in Newport Beach, California, said that young people, commonly defined as 13 to 25 years old, have underdeveloped frontal lobes in their brains, exacerbating anxiety. Stated.

“Many young adults ask repeated questions for peace of mind,” Magabi said, whether their peers still like them, or whether they have changed through a pandemic.

For some, her amplified anxiety led to quarantine and depression, she said.

According to a study by The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, face-to-face schooling made isolation more difficult, but due to the “social phobia” caused by the pandemic, students were reluctant to return to class. Anxiety can be more prevalent.

As a result, many schools across the country are trying to provide more mental health resources this fall.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is calling on professors to be aware of warning signs for socially uneasy students, such as being late or leaving the classroom, after a 20% increase in patient counseling centers since 2019.

Dr. Angelastow, director of student counseling services at the university, said: “Really, it has more to do with the fear of being called, wrong, or looking stupid.”

Nanichi Hidalgo-Gonzalez, 21, of Tallahassee, said he was nervous about returning to Florida State University for classes this year.

Before the pandemic, she said she was “a social butterfly who loves to talk to people.” Now she is meeting the therapist because of anxiety. And despite being vaccinated with COVID-19, she remains trapped in her home, mostly left for gas and groceries.

“If I go out from time to time, I just feel like I’m in a bubble, and you’re trying to pop it,” she said.

At a restaurant with a friend on her birthday this year, she felt nausea and claustrophobia, which are signs of a panic attack.

“I want to live my life. I want to experience this university,” he said. “But I just want to stay home because I don’t want to go out and feel anxious.”

Winton can be involved. He steadily sought to relieve social unrest during the summer. Doing activities he knows will help you exercise and answer your friends’ messages.

On a recent warm night, he received a text from a friend: was he free to meet his friends for the tacos on Tuesday?

Yes, he replied.

He got into the car and drove to a Mexican restaurant. When he parked, he could see his friend inside. His seat belt was still tied.

“OK, Garrett,” he remembered telling himself. “You know these people. You can do this.” He repeated his refrain as he went out. “You can do this, you can do this.”

He walked to the door and went inside. Friends and tortillas were waiting there. Then he pulled up the chair. Finally, he thought. This was progress.

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