The social and economic stresses of dealing with the coronavirus have triggered pandemic paranoia among many Americans, health experts say.

Dr. Brandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist in New York City and president of the World Mental Health Coalition, told CNN that a large number of Americans are avoiding reality and have become paranoid due to “facts and evidence constantly attacking false, cherished beliefs.”

“The exceptionally prolonged lockdown because of ineffective management and the subsequent social disruptions and economic misery — in many ways worse than the Great Depression, with tremendous inequities, hunger, homelessness, unemployment and despair — are already leading to rampant drug addiction, depression, suicides and homicides,” Lee said, CNN reported.

Symptoms of paranoia range from very subtle to overwhelming and can exist whether another mental illness is present. A seemingly healthy person can have paranoid thoughts or feelings without a diagnosis.

“Given the stress and uncertainty and the misinformation that is being provided by news outlets and different sources, it is difficult for people to feel a sense of calm, increasing people’s anxiety, which can lead to paranoid thoughts,” Adam Borland, a Cleveland-based clinical psychologist, told CNN.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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