Southern Californians are adjusting to lifestyle changes as officials are asking people to stay home and socially distance themselves from others because of fears around the coronavirus outbreak, which can cause stress and anxiety. Clinical psychologist Dr. Neil Schierholz, founder of the Angeles Psychology Group tells Inside the Issues while we are all experiencing the same situation, it can have different effects on people and bring up a lot of feelings. 

“People feel a variety of things at this time - anxiety, rumination over the news cycle, depression, people can feel helpless and hopeless,” he said. 

Those with specific disorders can find times like these especially difficult. “Folks with eating disorders can be very triggered at this time because of the focus on buying food; those who have obsessive thinking, OCD we know (obsessive compulsive disorder), can feel very glued to the news cycle.”


Now that people are less distracted and slowing down, it can mean unresolved feelings and traumas can surface, Dr. Schierholz said.

“When we sort of calm ourselves and have more time, fewer distractions [and] we’re at home, that material can start to bubble up and surface. This is why so many people are having these sorts of experiences and these feelings at this point in time,” he said. “Maybe now is a good time to reach out for professional help.”

He said that can be done through a professional or even reach out to family and friends through social channels and online discussion forums.

While video conferencing with professionals is a viable option, he tells people to be sure the sessions are using HIPAA compliant practices. 

“Things like FaceTime and Skype are not HIPAA compliant and they’re not encrypted - they don't ensure your confidentiality. So you’re going to want to be working with a practitioner who has systems in place that are HIPAA compliant, encrypted and preserving the sanctity and the confidentiality of your health information,” he said.

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