Sunday, December 10

What is “coronaphobia”, the “maladaptive” fear that does not protect us from the coronavirus

  • Aránzazu Duque Moreno & Basilio Blanco Núñez
  • The Conversation*

Illustration: coronavirus wave

Image source, Malte Mueller/Getty Images


With each new wave of covid comes a wave of fears and phobias.

By 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that mental health problems will be the leading cause of disability in the world.

According to a report from the Spanish Ministry of Health, anxiety disorder is the most frequent: it affects 6.7% of the population (8.8% in women, 4.5% in men). This figure reaches 10.4% if signs or symptoms of anxiety are included.

Within this spectrum of mental problems, one of the most frequent diagnoses is the disorder of phobic anxiety or specific phobia.

The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) defines these disorders as the appearance of intense fear or anxiety, immediate (almost always) and disproportionate to specific objects or situations that, in general, would not be considered dangerous and that, furthermore, the patient actively tries to avoid or resist.

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