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KPCC: Anxious About that Party Invitation? COVID-19 Anxiety is Common

KPCC reporter Jackie Fortiér recently spoke with Itai Danovitch, MD, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai, about coping with social anxieties amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

If people are anxious about meeting up with friends and colleagues in person once again, they should express their feelings out loud, said Danovitch during the interview, which was featured on KPCC's LAist website.

"The best way to deal with our worries is directly," Danovitch told Fortiér. He added that facing fears, being of service to others and reaching out for help are key to recovering from the psychological trauma endured by many during the pandemic.

Having an occasional drink to dampen anxiety or stress may be tempting, but Danovitch warned against turning to alcohol and other substances on a regular basis. "It may work for a brief period of time," he said, "but over the long term, it is more likely to cause harm than good."

Anyone consistently coping with anxiety through drinking, or whose anxiety is so intense that it disrupts their sense of well-being, should seek professional help. "There are excellent treatments for anxiety disorders," Danovitch told Fortier, "but it's important to have a clinician assess you."

Once that anxiety is under control, Danovitch encouraged listeners to be mindful of how the loved ones they're connecting with might be feeling. It's been a difficult year and a half, and many people have lost someone to COVID-19.

"Ask them about their experience, ask them about who they've lost and convey to them that you're there for them and that they're not alone," he told KPCC.

Click here to listen to the complete interview on LAist.com.