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Some Americans may be suffering from pandemic-related post-traumatic stress symptoms, study says

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 7:23 PM EDT
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(CNN) - The coronavirus pandemic has fostered fear and forced change in our way of life and new research suggests an alarming number of Americans may be suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms because of it.

Megan Holmes, the founding director of the Center on Trauma and Adversity at Case Western Reserve University, helped lead a study on about 1,200 Americans.

“About 85% are experiencing at least one or more post-traumatic stress symptoms and about 28% would meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD,” she said.

Holmes says symptoms can be re-experiencing unwanted memories, having negative thoughts or moods, avoiding distressing feelings and changes to how you react to those feelings.

“We have experienced tremendous loss during this pandemic...we’ve lost our ability to live in a way we’ve lived before,” she said.

There are ways to cope with post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Holmes recommends creating a self-care plan, finding ways to reduce stress and take care of your body, taking a break from news and social media and participating in activities you enjoy. She also says it is important to connect with others and reach out to a health care professional.

Because we are not able to connect with others like we used to, Holmes suggests to FaceTime with family or talk with a neighbor while social distancing. She says keeping those connections is one of the most important things you can do.

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