UC Professor: Fight Coronavirus Fear And Anxiety With Information

Mar 12, 2020

The spread of coronavirus and COVID-19 is leading to another problem for some: anxiety. Caleb Adler is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and says all the news about the virus and the disease can lead to feelings of helplessness and confusion.

He says to deal with that, educate yourself. "Learning about the risks, learning about what perhaps isn't risky, and learning about what we can do to minimize risk to ourselves and to our loved ones so that we can have a sense of greater control. That can go a long way towards alleviating much of that anxiety."

Adler says stepping away from the news is also a good strategy if you find the information is making things worse. He says there's a balance.

"I think it's more helpful to essentially take control, to get some information and implement common sense interventions that you can do to minimize the risk, so you can feel more in control and feel as if the danger is being addressed, in a sense," he says.

Adler says turning away from the news now could also mean missing out on life-saving information.

Even if you're not feeling anxiety, some of your friends or family members may be experiencing it. Adler says you can help them by being reassuring.  He says that especially goes for dealing with children.

"Talking to your children about what's going on, letting them know what we're doing to minimize risk can be really helpful for them," he says. "Just letting them know that you're not scared. Because children take their cues from the adults around them. If we're scared, they're going to be scared. If we're not, they won't be."