Returning to normal is something many people have been waiting for months to do, but others are more hesitant. That’s known as cave syndrome, referring to people who aren’t feeling ready to go back out in public like they normally did before the pandemic.
Doctors say this social anxiety can be dangerous in the long run.
“Social isolation and loneliness not only affecting memory, also increasing the chance for more comfort eating, more alcohol consumption, increasing inflammation,” said Dr. Hamid Sagha, with UnityPoint Clinic Mulberry – Internal Medicine.
Dr. Steve Kopp, executive director of Genesis Psychology Associates, said if people are experiencing cave syndrome to know that it may be difficult, but facing your fears will make them stronger.
The bottom line is that when you’re exposing yourself to anything that’s fearful, you want to feel in control when you’re doing it,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the emotional toll from the pandemic’s extended isolation can manifest in a number of symptoms that range from nightmares to physical reactions such as headaches, stomach problems and body pains.
The CDC recommends taking breaks from the news and social media, exercising, getting plenty of sleep and eating well-balanced meals.
More information on receiving help through Genesis can be found here.
More information on receiving help through UnityPoint can be found here.