The pandemic has confronted us with many things and among them many new syndromes, and not so new, such as the cabin syndrome or haphephobia. It has caused other old acquaintances such as agoraphobia, hypochondria, nosophobia or social phobia to increase exponentially and now we are faced with a new syndrome that has been given the name “empty face syndrome”.
INDEX OF CONTENTS
What is empty face syndrome?
This Saturday the 26th is not just any Saturday. This day brings us a little closer to the normality that we so desire after going through a very hard time of pandemic. And it is that, this Saturday we can say goodbye to outdoor masks as long as the safety distance is maintained.
This for many people means a liberation and a reunion with the “new normality”, but for others It is a challenging and scary situation.
The use of the mask has been a determining factor together with the social distance to deal with infections and it is what has allowed us to lead, in some way, a “normal” life, feeling safe when wearing it.
The mask has been with us for more than a year of our lives and now that we can start to do without them some people are immersed in what has been called the “empty face syndrome”.
This syndrome that is characterized by fear and restlessness to detach from the mask. At the same time, it generates a feeling of being unprotected from the disease and even irritation when seeing or interacting with other people without a mask.
- At the physiological level this syndrome is characterized by nervousness, anguish, it can lead to a feeling of shortness of breath, muscle tension, dizziness, vertigo, sweating
- At the cognitive level It can involve thoughts of insecurity, fear of being infected or infecting others, uncertainty about how to interact with other people.
- At the behavioral level It can lead to avoidance behaviors in those social situations that are perceived as dangerous, it can lead to isolation behaviors or behaviors related to anger when seeing other people who are not wearing the mask.
Which people can develop this syndrome.
The truth is that it is such a new situation that it is the first time we have faced this, so there is no specific profile, however, the most prone people to develop this syndrome are those people who have lived through the pandemic with great fear or have suffered from the disease seriously either in themselves or in their close beings.
Those may also be more affected people who are more vulnerable to the disease either due to age or suffering from previous pathologies.
On the other hand, those people who have history of anxiety disorders either hypochondria, haphephobia, or nosophobia (fear of disease) may be more affected. As well as people who have a personality prone to anxiety or stress and who tend to seek absolute control over situations.
How to treat empty face syndrome.
The first thing we must do is recognize that we suffer from this fear in order to manage it.
Once we have recognized that we have this fear, we must gradually get rid of the mask gradually so that our feeling of anxiety decreases to make way for a feeling of tranquility. We must do this respecting our times but facing our fear.
We must also try manage our thoughts related to fear learning to relativize them.
Another thing that will help us to manage the feelings of anxiety generated by this syndrome is do relaxation exercises before going out on the street or taking off our masks.
If the feeling of anguish and fear is increasing and you feel that it is causing you discomfort that does not allow you to carry on with your life as usual, contact a professional to help you manage it.
IT MAY INTEREST YOU:
How to manage pandemic fatigue
How to control anger