The government keeps repeating: deconfinement, “it is not the resumption of life as before”. But this Monday represents a turning point in the daily life of the French, tarnished over the past two months by isolation measures. After 55 days in jail, the long-awaited outing has finally arrived. While some rejoice at the idea of finally finding a semblance of social life, others fear to reconnect in a society where the Covid-19 is still in circulation.
“I do not expect to see my friends and family before the beginning of June at least, and at that time I will see how the situation has evolved,” tells BFMTV.com a 20 year old Iséroise. Since March 17, the young woman has not stepped outside, and intends to keep this course of action: “I think that for now it is too early to go out and that people are not careful enough “, she laments, consumed by the anxiety of” catching the virus “.
OCD, anxiety and phobias
“Viral hell is other people,” said psychotherapist Benjamin Lubszynski, who assured BFMTV.com that the health crisis would lead to “an epidemic of anxiety.” These two months of confinement are not without consequence: “Isolation and avoidance create anxiety and this leads to phobias which can develop in anyone, at any age. a moment of fragility ”, explains the specialist.
According to him, the confused France should observe an increase in hypochondria, mysophobia and nosophobia – the sickly and irrational fears of being contaminated by microbes or contracting a disease.
“There will also be an upsurge in anxiety attacks that will further aggravate these disease-related phobias because the symptoms of Covid-19 go tragically well with these attacks,” notes the psychotherapist.
Indeed, the peaks of anxiety cause “gastric reflux which goes up in the throat and irritates it: one has the impression of hurting, one can even have a small cough. Ditto for the breathing: when one inhales too much strong, we have a feeling of oppression, we breathe faster, the blood is no longer oxygenated enough and we are hyperventile “, like when we have coronavirus.
This fear of being sick should be accompanied, in some people, by obsessive behavioral disorders (OCD) in hygiene and contamination. “For more than two months, we have been conditioned to wash our hands frequently. Some will not be able to break this habit, others will even extend it to an irrepressible need to clean their interior,” presages -he.
Benjamin Lubszynski also expects the development of agoraphobia and the fear of going out. A study conducted during the SARS epidemic in 2003 on 1,057 individuals shows that a quarter of them were still away from crowded places three years after the illness ended.
Face your fears
To relieve these anxieties – for some rational in this very particular period, notes the psychotherapist – he recommends relaxing before leaving the house. This involves, in particular, a work on his breathing or the Jacobson method: “You have to contract all the muscles from head to toe, five times. The muscles get tired then relax and the stress disappears.” The goal is to gradually desensitize yourself to your fear.
“You can also try to confront your phobias by thinking. If you are afraid of ending up in a crowded subway train, you have to try to visualize yourself while relaxing,” advises Benjamin Lubszynski. The main thing is not to get around your fears because “avoidance by nature aggravates anxiety, and phobia spreads more and more”.
And to conclude: “For the moment, it does not matter to continue to avoid people, to wash your hands more than reason, to always have hydroalcoholic gel on you, it is rational. Don't be ashamed to go out with too much equipment because everyone is afraid of this virus. The important thing is not to lock yourself in your anxieties. “