The number of prescriptions filled weekly for anti-depressants and anti-insomnia medications have been rising throughout this pandemic.
But a new Express Scripts Research Report reveals anti-anxiety drugs saw the biggest spike jumping over 34% in the last year.
So ABC Action News anchor Wendy Ryan spoke to a doctor about hidden ways anxiety affects you and how it can negatively influence every aspect of your life.
"We're seeing folks come in from all over the country who have reached that saturation point of anxiety, and it becomes like a disability. 'We can't function. We can't think. Our brain is overwhelmed,'" warned Dr. Gregory Jantz, a best-selling author and founder of The Center, A Place Of HOPE, one of the top 10 facilities in the U.S. for the treatment of depression.
Jantz says anxiety cases are on the rise mainly due to the long-term effects of this pandemic, with many feeling like they're barely hanging on.
"When we have chronic stress that hasn't let up, and we've isolated you, it's a ticking time bomb for anxiety and addiction," he explained.
People are eating or drinking too much to cope, which then causes even more anxiety.
So Jantz says we need to do an anxiety reset, which starts with journaling to help identify your feelings.
"We got to make some notes and go, 'here's my symptoms; I need to write some things down, I need to create an awareness. From awareness, I need to take some action,'" he recommended.
And simplifying your life can help too — like getting away from what triggers that anxiety.
"If you're feeling anxiety, change your environment. You need to go outside; you need to pair that with moving," he said.
- Local mental health organization's campaign 'You Are Not Alone' offers free resources to help
- CVS Health offering onsite, virtual mental health services to Tampa Bay residents
Even emergency rooms are now seeing the mental health effects from this pandemic, often called 'Covid Psychosis.'
"People are so overwhelmed that there's a break from reality because we all have that breaking point. And so we need to look. Okay, what role does anxiety have on my life right now? I need to move beyond that," he said.
And because anxiety is progressive, Jantz says you may want to consider therapy or medication.
"Give yourself 30 days. But after 30 days, if it's still there or it's worse, it's time to seek some additional assistance," he said.
Jantz says other ways to decrease your anxiety levels include exercising, getting more sleep and taking five deep breaths.
He's written a new book called 'The Anxiety Reset: A Life-Changing Approach to Overcoming Fear, Stress, Worry, Panic Attacks, OCD and More.'
If you're interested, click here: www.drgregoryjantz.com/books.