Those suffering from OCD experience higher levels of anxiety during the pandemic

Coronavirus and mental health

HUNTSVILLE, AL. (WAFF) - The lockdowns, the non-stop news, and climbing number of coronavirus is impacting a lot of people’s mental well being. Those with OCD and other mental health disorders know this well.

Dr. David Barnhart, owner of Behavioral Sciences of Alabama, says he’s had several former patients contact him seeking advice.

Barnhart says many patients report being stressed in public, especially when they see others not social distancing or using masks.

Barnhart also says that some individuals with OCD or other mental illness may enjoy the stay-at-home order but an extreme lack of social interaction could set them back.

The bottom line: Barnhart encourages his patients to follow the protocol without overdoing it. That’s exactly what they were taught in treatment.

Part of an OCD Treatment Program is exposure to anxiety provoking situations and the pandemic is a perfect opportunity to do that.

“From an exposure standpoint...being able to go out and do safe practices and come home and learn that you got through that...that has a great benefit because you have just been through the worst case scenario. Sometimes going through a worst case scenario makes you realize you can manage this,” Barnhart said.

Barnhart worries particularly about individuals who have suffered from OCD for awhile but have always been reluctant to seek treatment. For them, this situation may lead to other mental health disorders.

He hopes they will seek treatment before the problem escalates.

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