Tag Archive for 'panico'

The psychology of Covid-19 fear

In general, we fear unlikely, catastrophic events like terrorist attacks more than common and deadly events, like the flu. In the case of Covid-19, assessing risk is especially thorny because our objective knowledge of the disease is still evolving.

Humans have evolved to react poorly to that kind of uncertainty and unpredictability, argues Frizelle, because both make us feel “a perceived lack of control.” “We’re human beings, so we’re hard-wired to respond to threats, to protect ourselves,” she explains. “But it’s really difficult to do … when the threat is so uncertain and potentially far-reaching. That’s where you start to see people take on more unusual behaviors.”

Like, say, panic-buying of months’ worth of essential supplies and of non-essential medical materials. While preparedness is good, going to this extreme is not innocuous: It can deprive frontline healthcare workers of crucial medical supplies, like gloves, respirators, and face shields.

Uncertainty also leaves room for false claims—which, in the middle of an outbreak, can “lead to behavior that amplifies disease transmission,” writes epidemiologist Adam Kucharski in The Guardian. We are uniquely bad at spotting misinformation online, in part because we don’t take the time, or don’t know how, to properly fact-check. But it’s also because our memories play tricks on us, encouraging us to believe things we read repeatedly; to look for information that validates our preexisting beliefs; and to remember things that elicit strong emotions more than things that don’t.

There also seems to be something about fear that drives us to point the finger at others. Because the outbreak originated in Wuhan, China, anti-Asian sentiments and attacks have been on the rise. “When people react out of strong emotion, they can make quick, irrational choices,” explains Alison Holman, associate professor in the school of nursing at UC Irvine and expert in health psychology. “There are people who already are prejudiced, and so something like this just reinforces the assumptions and stereotypes they may have in their minds about a particular group of people.”

…And what you can do about it

Metin Başoğlu, a professor of psychiatry and founder of the Istanbul Center for Behavior Research & Therapy, has studied the emotional and behavioral response of earthquake survivors (pdf) and sees parallels in today’s reactions to coronavirus.

After a major earthquake hit Turkey in 1999, killing 17,123 people and injuring 43,953, Başoğlu says many survivors refused to go back into their homes, choosing instead to live in outdoor camps for months. But his team realized that “if we encouraged people to go back to their homes, they recovered quickly.”

He and his colleagues developed a method of coping with post-traumatic stress called Control Focused Behavioral Treatment (CFBT), which was born out of the observation that exposure to a source of stress can create a sense of control over it—a lesson he says applies to epidemics, which are also uncontrollable and unpredictable. “You cannot control every single risk that comes your way in life, and lead a meaningful, reasonable, and productive life at the same time,” he says. “Extensive, unrealistic avoidance is not compatible with survival.”

These experts recommend doing what you can to reassert a sense of control over your fears, without overreacting and risking contributing to public panic. That includes staying informed without overdoing it, says UC Irvine’s Holman. “Too much media exposure, we know, can heighten one’s anxiety. You get what you need, and leave the rest.”

Commonsense precautionary measures are especially important given the high likelihood of contracting Covid-19. There are “important, very basic things that people can do to take back the power here, and control at least to the extent that you can, your degree of vulnerability to this illness,” says Holman. Those include self-isolating and monitoring your temperature if you get sick; washing your hands regularly with soap and water; and staying away from large gatherings, like concerts or marathons.

A rapidly-spreading epidemic can be a particularly tough time for people with preexisting mental health conditions like anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, points out Holman. That’s where social support networks are crucial: “I would recommend that people who tend to be more anxious connect in a safe way with people in their lives who they trust; who can help them calm down; and … who they can turn to for support.”

Above all, health experts say it’s crucial not to let panic take over our decision-making and rational thought processes. Otherwise, says Başoğlu, “the price to pay” could be “much greater than the threat the virus poses.”

Do like in Manchester to win terrorismo fear

The events of recent weeks have driven us to be afraid to go to the public events or take a trip to London but the response should not be to close inside home but to do as in Manchester, 50,000 people together again to say that we trust and believe in freedom. We live in a present dilated at global dimension. Whatever happens somewhere in the world we immediately know, from bombs in Kabul, the attack in London until the panic of the crowd in Turin. They are different stories but linked by the information; we are constantly overwhelmed in real time. This continuous whirl of news has made smaller the world in our perception, because this instant sharing reduces geographical distances and stimulates us to feel in danger. The attacks want to achieve this goal by hitting our lifestyle, the freedom to walk freely in the streets, going to concerts, having fun, going to a game or see it in a square. The speed of information is an additional weapon used by the terrorists, as we know all the while after that happened, without being prepared to mitigate the backlash on our minds. To not feel crushed by the weight of these news and insecurity that can generate, we must then learn to reassure ourselves and who lives with us. In fact, there is no ready way to respond to these tragedies and fears that we seek, we have to keep doing what we’ve always done. Sports and music can help, because they are passion shared and meet in deep the desire to be together. They represent, therefore, an antidote to the unspoken tension lived under skin, which accumulates every day if not melted in the practice of interests that unite, feeling shared emotions and which enrich our existence. We must continue to spread the culture in all its forms from sports to music and art. As individuals we are the keepers of our culture, that we must be able to demonstrate freely, don’t forget it when we’ll we have the doubt to go to a game, to participate in a race or allow our sons to go to a concert.

The panic of Inter

In inglese dicono “from hero to zero”, da eroe a nulla. Questo è l’insegnamento che ci viene in queste settimane dall’Inter. Il lavoro dei giocatori non dovrebbe essere solo quello di perseguire l’eccellenza ma anche di non distruggersi quando le le partite prendono una brutta piega. La squadra dovrebbe avere un piano A per quando si gioca bene ma anche un piano B a cui ricorrere quando si è in difficoltà. In mancanza del piano B è facile andare nel panico perchè l’immagine di squadra campione non corrisponde a come si sta giocando in quel momento e non si sa come reagire.

Attacchi panico in mare

Intervista in TV a un allenatore di nuoto della nazionale sull’attacco di panico della Consiglio. Il giornalista chiede cosa bisogna fare e il tecnico risponde: “ritornare in acqua il prima possibile.” Complimenti per la risposta che avrebbe saputo dare anche mia nonna ma che purtroppo è quella sbagliata. Poichè la questione non è l’acqua ma risolvere questo problema solo psicologico insegnando all’atleta a ritrovare quella fiducia che in quei momenti non ha avuto. Gli attacchi di panico sono tipici in atleti di alto livello e nascono da un intreccio tra perfezionismo,  aspettative di risultati assoluti e stress da competizione. Che fare? Accettazione di queste emozioni, rilassamento e visualizzazioni di eventi positivi sono alla base di questo processo di miglioramento. Il dialogo continuo con se stessi è la costante che deve accompagnare questo processo. Quindi ricapitolando, per il medico “è solo un fatto psicologico” e per il tecnico “basta entrare in acqua”. Bocciati.

Nuoto e mente

Le notizie di oggi sul nuoto offrono molte idee sul rapporto che la mente ha con questo sport, solo apparentemente fatto di tecnica, forza e resistenza fisica. Ai mondiali sono state vinte due medaglie da atlete italiane (Cagnotto e Grimaldi) e questo è facile da commentare, tutto ha funzionato bene e la mente è servita a esaltare la loro abilità tecnica e la competitività. Peggio è andata a un’altra nuotatrice (Consiglio) nella 10km in mare aperto fermata da una crisi respiratoria dovuta a un attacco di panico mentre nuotava in mezzo al gruppo. Esperienza terribile, l’atleta è stata subito presa e fatta uscire dall’acqua. Ciò rivela la nostra fragilità, non basta essere nell’elite mondiale per evitare queste crisi … gli psicologi dovrebbero rifletterci e gli atleti dovrebbero essere più preparati a prevenirle. Sono espisodi che in forme diverse possono capitare a tutti quando si è in situazioni di competitività o in ambienti instabili. Terza esperienza, fra pochi giorni una nuotarice di 61 anni (Nyad) farà a nuoto da Cuba alla Florida 165km in mare aperto, senza alcuna protezione dagli squali. E’ una nuotarice professionista e vuole dimostrare che anche a questa età è possibile realizzare imprese di questo tipo. Non c’è ovviamente nessuna ragione per compiere imprese di questo tipo, le si fa semplicemente perchè si è spinti da una motivazione interiore. Dimostrano quanta forza mentale ci sia in noi se solo l’alleniamo che non appartiene solo ai giovani ma è dentro ognuno, basta volerla trovare. Leggi: http://diananyad.com/

Attacchi di panico

Lo sport di livello assoluto è un generatore di ansia e di timori che come sappiamo gli atleti devono imparare a gestire. Gli attacchi di panico sono tipici in atleti di alto livello (forse anche perchè trovano il coraggio di parlarne) sono un intreccio tra perfezionismo degli atleti, loro aspettative di risultati assoluti e stress connesso alla competizione. Che fare? Accettazione di queste emozioni, rilassamento e visualizzazioni di eventi positivi sono alla base di questo processo di miglioramento. Il dialogo continuo con se stessi è la costante che accompagnare questo processo.