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Google searches related to anxiety, panic attacks spike during pandemic

Google searches related to anxiety, panic attacks spike during pandemic
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A new study found that people are increasingly turning to Google for knowledge about ways to relieve anxiety amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The study from researchers at Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans and Central Michigan University found a spike in Google search trends related to anxiety and techniques used to manage its symptoms, such as yoga.

Researchers say the increased anxiousness is due to the pandemic.

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"Using Google Trends to track population-level mental health-related Google searches in the United States, this investigation identified pandemic-associated spikes in searches related to anxiety symptoms and remote treatments for anxiety, such as deep breathing and body scan meditation," the study reads, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

“These findings and continued surveillance can guide public mental health initiatives across multiple ecological levels that can mitigate the psychological toll of COVID-19,” the study continued.

The study comes as millions of Americans have lost their jobs due to state-issued mandatory shutdowns of nonessential businesses. In addition, at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., most states across the country issued stay-at-home orders that may have resulted in isolation. 

The findings mirror warnings issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month.

A study released by the agency found that the number of Americans reporting adverse behavioral changes or mental health conditions such as drinking or drug use was rising amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Markedly elevated prevalences of reported adverse mental and behavioral health conditions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the broad impact of the pandemic and the need to prevent and treat these conditions,” the CDC study found.

The agency also noted that 41 percent of Americans had recently reported symptoms of serious mental health conditions.

“Addressing mental health disparities and preparing support systems to mitigate mental health consequences as the pandemic evolves will continue to be needed urgently," it continued.