Collective anxiety crisis: know what it is and how it happens
Anxiety symptoms can manifest in a group of people simultaneously
An anxiety crisis, also called a panic attack, happens when several characteristic symptoms of anxiety manifest themselves intensely at the same time. This means that the body displays signs such as increased heart rate, labored breathing and feeling uncontrollably nervous.
In addition to occurring in those suffering from anxiety disorder, these symptoms can also manifest in isolated frames or even in groups – when different people in the same environment present the problem.
“Collective anxiety is something that can happen from a phenomenon called emotional contagion, which is the manifestation of common emotions between people who are in the same context. This happens based on the same logic already known, which is the herd effect. The emotions we express affect the people around us and vice versa”, explains psychologist Nathany Ricardo.
How does collective anxiety manifest itself?
According to Nathany, anxiety is a common emotion among all people. However, when this feeling goes to an extreme and becomes suffering, whether or not there is an external phenomenon that justifies it, it becomes a mental health problem.
Thus, the collective crisis presents clinical manifestations of anxiety in a common way among several people at the same time. Symptoms can be psychological or physical, such as:
Causes of the collective crisis
An episode of collective anxiety crisis can be triggered by different factors. When a group of people is going through a moment of stress, for example, it only takes one person to be affected by anxiety so that the feeling can manifest itself in the others.
The fear of having an accident while traveling or of failing school is also an example of situations that can be divided into a group. Thus, when someone presents the fear aloud, the individuals around them begin to feel afflicted with the same fear.
What to do during a collective crisis?
In a moment of crisis, Nathany says that the best thing to do is to provide all possible assistance to calm the situation. “It is in no way recommended that the feelings of those suffering at that time be minimized or disregarded. The focus should be on calming down and, as far as possible, keeping the situation under control.”
In addition, the psychologist says that the guidance is that health professionals or emergency services are triggered to check and monitor the health status of those involved, providing the necessary care.
“Moreover, it is extremely important to understand that the crisis is an overflow. She points to a problem with deep roots, roots that can only be unraveled and treated subjectively. In treatment, we seek to understand where the subject’s malaise points. Despite “anxiety” being a common word in our daily lives, we need to see it as a health issue and seek adequate help”, concludes the specialist.
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