Why Ebola Stories Cause Some People Extreme Anxiety

The recent epidemic of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and the related cases in the US, has caused many people

Why Ebola Stories Cause Some People Extreme Anxiety

concern. But for some people, this concern has escalated into serious anxiety that warrants treatment.

While the media report in excruciating detail on Ebola’s symptoms and its spread though some African countries, there are also many balancing voices from medical specialists who explain, again and again, how unlikely it is for anybody who does not have close, physical contact with a patient who is actively sick with Ebola to catch the disease.

Not everybody is convinced however. In the UK, pressure from the school community led to the cancellation of a school visit from a teacher from Ghana, despite no cases of Ebola having been reported from the country. In the US, an American teacher resigned after being asked to quarantine herself after a visit to Ebola-free Kenya.

The situation in the US has been inflamed by the case of Thomas Eric Duncan who returned from Liberia to Texas with the disease, and infected two of the nurses who cared for him. Duncan died, but both nurses survived and no other of Duncan’s, or the nurses’, contacts were infected. The Duncan case seems to bear out what specialists are saying – that only close contact with fluids from an actively sick patient can transfer the disease.

Nonetheless, for some people this is not enough. People with anxiety in particular can develop distressing thoughts that may end up changing their daily lives as they try to avoid the possibility of contracting Ebola, however unlikely that may seem.

One of the issues is that Ebola is transmitted by germs. Germs can’t be seen and it can be hard to defend yourself, because you don’t know if they are attacking you. The constant news coverage about Ebola and some people’s uncertainty about its transmission can trigger germ-related anxiety symptoms.

If thoughts about Ebola, or other germ-related diseases and conditions, are obsessing you, and you are altering your daily life to avoid potential contact, when people around you do not see the need, then you may be developing an anxiety disorder. These germ-related anxiety disorders can take over your life, because of the omnipresent worry about the invisible germs. It’s better to seek treatment sooner rather than later – and treatment, such as hypnotherapy for anxiety, can be very effective.

There is no need to live your life in fear!

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