Study: Google searches for anxiety symptoms are up during pandemic

Anxiety searches in Google are at record levels
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 1:56 PM CDT
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(CNN) – From COVID-19 to job insecurity to social distancing to protests against racial inequality, 2020 hasn’t been easy.

“All those things, I think, are waves of pandemics that are increasingly building upon one another,” according to Dr. K. Luan Phan, who heads the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

He’s not surprised by the results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that shows Google searches for anxiety symptoms between mid-March and mid-May were the highest they’ve been in the search engine’s history.

Acute anxiety symptoms can include:

  • Racing heart
  • Sweaty palms
  • Upset stomach
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

If you’re feeling symptoms of a panic attack, Phan says to take deep breaths.

You can reduce anxiety by knowing your triggers so you can plan for them. He says it’s important to have a sense of control.

Phan also suggests thinking more positively, rather than focusing on the negative.

“Begin to try to talk yourself out of this sense of doom that you are not going to die that the symptoms will pass,” he says.

Experts also say it’s important not to turn to bad habits while dealing with anxiety – like increased alcohol and drug use – which he says can lead to even more anxiety.

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