Examining the differences between anxiety and COVID-19 symptoms and discussing the possibility of IAD (illness anxiety disorder) during a global pandemic.
- Anxiety can cause symptoms that may mimic (or have you worried about) coronavirus symptoms.
- There are several symptoms of anxiety that are also symptoms of COVID-19, however, there are also key differences in the symptoms of both.
- IAD (illness anxiety disorder) may also lead to some confusion about symptoms. The World Health Organization offers guidelines for when to seek medical attention.
It's important to note the differences in symptoms of anxiety and COVID-19, although some may overlap.
Credit: woocat on Shutterstock<p>During the coronavirus pandemic, many people may be overwhelmed and experiencing higher levels of anxiety. Anxiety can cause symptoms that may mimic (or have you worried about) coronavirus symptoms.</p><p>Additionally, some people may experience illness anxiety disorder (IAD), which is commonly referred to as health anxiety and previously referred to as hypochondria.</p><p><strong>Common symptoms of anxiety: </strong></p><ul><li>Chest pain</li><li>Feeling faint/dizzy</li><li>Chills</li><li>Nausea </li><li>Dry mouth</li><li>Disassociation </li><li>Hot flashes and/or sweating </li><li>Fatigue and/or mental exhaustion</li><li>Muscle aches due to tension/stress</li><li>Shortness of breath </li><li>Numbness </li></ul><p><strong>Symptoms of COVID-19:</strong></p><ul><li>Fever and/or chills</li><li>Cough </li><li>Shortness of breath</li><li>Fatigue</li><li>Headaches</li><li>Muscle aches</li><li>Loss of taste and/or smell</li><li>Congestion</li><li>Nausea and/or vomiting</li><li>Diarrhea</li></ul><p>The symptoms that could present in both cases include shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea/vomiting, head or muscle aches, fatigue, and chills.<br></p><p>When examining the difference between anxiety symptoms and COVID-19, it's important to note the symptoms of COVID-19 that are <em>not </em>present in anxiety attacks. </p><p><strong>The difference in symptoms </strong></p><p>A person with anxiety may experience heart palpitations, trembling, tingling, or sweating (without a fever). These are all common anxiety symptoms, but not symptoms often associated with COVID-19. </p><p>Meanwhile, a person with COVID may experience symptoms that will not be present in anxiety cases, such as a sore throat, loss of taste/smell, a dry cough, and congestion.</p><p>It's not uncommon for people to experience symptoms (or assume they are experiencing symptoms) of a virus that has reached the level of a global pandemic. This is why it's important to distinguish the differences in the symptoms you're feeling and the actual symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.</p><p>Chest pain, for example, can be felt in both anxiety and coronavirus patients, but there are some key differences in how that chest pain presents. outlines the differences between a panic attack (commonly associated with high anxiety levels) and COVID-19 symptoms. If you're having a panic attack, according to <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/anxiety-symptoms-vs-covid-19-symptoms#chest-pain-comparison" target="_blank">Medical News Today</a>, your chest pain may last anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour and feel like sharp, stabbing pains. This is often accompanied by mental symptoms such as negative thoughts and emotions. </p><p>COVID-19 chest pain is slightly different. It will be persistent and feel like more of a pressure than sharp pains. These pains may be accompanied by other flu-like symptoms, such as a cough.</p>
What is illness anxiety disorder (IAD) and how common is it?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDI3NTcxNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMDQ5MDcwMX0.2TV71vbMTsigdY3isJ7qYvh1hpb0pLgPbqO4-bYOMLA/img.jpg?width=980" id="2dad6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9ddeaf604b2cb31bd1e730b6003296b4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="newspaper clippings related to COVID19" />
What is IAD (illness anxiety disorder) and how does it impact you?
Credit: zimmytws on Shutterstock<p>Illness anxiety disorder is the fear or worry that you are, or may become, seriously ill. You may have no physical symptoms, or you may worry that normal sensations or minor symptoms are signs of severe illness.</p><p><strong>How common is illness anxiety disorder (IAD)?</strong> </p><p>IAD is a relatively new disorder, having only been added to the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) in 2013. It has replaced the now-obsolete "hypochondria disorder."</p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554399/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to research</a>, among the patients who were previously diagnosed with hypochondriasis, about 25 percent of them will meet the criteria for IAD. Patients with IAD typically remain dissatisfied with negative evaluations from health practitioners and may attempt to consult multiple hospitals or doctors for the same medical problem.</p><p><strong>IAD and COVID-19: When should I seek coronavirus testing?</strong></p><p>Knowing the difference between anxiety-related symptoms and the general fear and anxiety surrounding COVID-19 and its symptoms can be difficult, so how do you know when you should seek medical attention? </p><p><a href="https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses" target="_blank">According to the World Health Organization (WHO)</a>, 1 in 6 people experience serious symptoms of COVID-19. If a person is struggling with minor symptoms (such as a cough or fever), the WHO suggests they self-isolate and monitor their symptoms carefully. If their symptoms progress or become more serious, they should seek medical attention.</p><p>If a person believes they have serious symptoms of COVID-19, they should call their doctor to discuss appropriate next steps and testing for the virus. If you have been cleared from the virus through testing and still seem to be struggling with anxiety caused by the global pandemic, your doctor can offer alternate treatment plans.</p><p>Consult the WHO's coronavirus page on their website <a href="https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.</p>
Estonia has combined a belief in learning with equal-access technology to create one of world's best education systems.
- Estonia became a top performer in the most recent PISA, a worldwide study of 15-year-old students' capabilities in math, reading, and science.
- PISA data showed that Estonia has done remarkably well in reducing the gap between a student's socioeconomic background and their access to quality education.
- The country's push toward providing equal-access to learning technology is a modern example of the culture's dedication to equity in education.
Estonia's cultural heirloom<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzc0Mzk5My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDMyNjU2OH0.rTLLp1sU-VH33gVkZD33Yn-td9wsEOE3Dm0gjoecly0/img.jpg?width=1068&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=559" id="96dbe" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2a10956a524467f160f83ddaee4901c5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A chart showing student performance scores in reading for the 2018 PISA study.
A Tiger Leap forward<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzc0NDAyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDM0MTA4Nn0.H5-_Jxe6JOldGX12EhCtz1lr4yArmlCaKHD5UBXwIkg/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C47%2C0%2C175&height=700" id="d7e87" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c391c4512ba7c5ee6533cb6a9b4a61dc" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="students and teacher at computers" />
Fourth-grade students learn computer skills in elementary school.
What can we learn from Estonia's success?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7062b1eb332bc8c8b101f53433f20be7"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rbhQ_euH7Ac?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While Estonia may not spend as much on a dollar-to-dollar basis, the country has created immense valuable in its system by spreading the educational wealth. Part of that achievement stems from removing barriers to primary education and fostering equal-access to learning technology; however, those are simply examples of the principle of equity at work. <a href="https://ncee.org/what-we-do/center-on-international-education-benchmarking/top-performing-countries/estonia-overview/estonia-teacher-and-principal-quality/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Others include well-educated teachers</a>, even at the pre-primary level; granting schools broad autonomy to adapt the national curriculum to suit local and cultural needs; and maintaining at-school support centers so students have access to mentors, psychologists, special needs teachers, and anti-bullying resources. The list goes on.</p><p>"The success of any system is sort of like a puzzle," Tire said. "You have to have many pieces and fit them in properly, or you won't see the whole picture."</p><p>Is there room for improvement? Of course! Just ask any Estonian. Tire told me that recent PISA data showed a discrepancy in the results between the country's Estonian-speaking students and its Russian-speaking ones. They are looking into the reason for that gap and how to raise scores across the board. When asked the same question, Reps pointed to improving the country's vocational-track education, the integration of practical skills into <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnasium_(school)" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">gymnasium</a>, and research into personalized learning.</p><p>When asked what other countries could takeaway from Estonia's example, my interviewees were more cautious. As Reps rightly points out, "Education is so culturally and historically tied. It's very difficult to copy something, and I would be careful to tell any country to copy the Estonian model." </p><p>She did offer some facets for consideration, though. She recommends that systems never look at a child as a problem to solve. Instead, it should look to ameliorate issues in their background or experiences. Even though education systems can be expensive, they should always be child-friendly and dedicated toward their growth. Digital technology doesn't create equality de facto; it must be accessible to all. And trust your teachers. "They are amazing human beings. They come to teach; they want to give their best; they want to help their pupils."</p><p>In my own research into Estonia's education system, its history, and its successes, I would humbly add one more: Foster a culture that values education and assures its available to everyone.</p>
How students apply what they've learned is more important than a letter or number grade.
- Schools are places where learning happens, but how much of what students learn there matters? "Almost all of our learning happens through experience and very little of it actually happens in these kinds of organized, contrived, constrained environments," argues Will Richardson, co-founder of The Big Questions Institute and one of the world's leading edupreneurs.
- There is a shift starting, Richardson says, in terms of how we look at grading and assessments and how they have traditionally dictated students' futures. Consortiums like Mastery.com are pushing back on the idea that what students know can be reflected in numbers and letter grades.
- One of the crucial steps in changing how things are done is first changing the narratives. Students should be assessed on how they can apply what they've learned, not scored based on what they know.
Two types of thinking have a time-sharing deal going on in your brain.
- Your DMN and DAT neural networks cooperate by staying out of each other's way.
- FMRI scans reveal a surprising temporal dance.
- When both systems are at the same activity level, boom, you're unconscious.
Seesaw<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg3NTg4Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTU4MDU2MH0.4qULqe_jntyF34N7LBOrh8GEGzcz9eEehbqIIIcz8AU/img.jpg?width=980" id="5efe4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="18b15b69de8476f9e0b6e6c9c85de288" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Gearstd/Shutterstock/Big Think<p>The two neural networks are the default mode network (DMN) and the dorsal attention network (DAT).</p><p>The DMN is an internally directed neural system that exhibits electrical activity in fMRI scans when you're awake and the brain is comparatively at rest and not at work performing a specific task. Maybe you're spacing out, or reflecting on something, or maybe you're enjoying a memory of some sort.</p><p>The DAT lights up when your brain is actively directed externally toward accomplishing a specific task; it's sometimes called the "task -positive system." </p><p>The scientific term for their relationship is that they're "anti-correlated," and the maintenance of their opposite states is a consistent thing, so some kind of temporal relationship seems implicit.</p>
Nighty-night<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg3NTg4OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTU1NzM0NX0.SiMN57X1q26Iizu2AkfAcLNvCjYNPCkXPlUbNV4M-zY/img.jpg?width=980" id="f4747" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="07b3c2819ede939eab5eddadcece09fe" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Hakaba/Shutterstock<p>The implied temporal relationship has not previously been definitively shown to impact consciousness. Huang's study, however, tests the idea that this anti-correlation is a requisite for consciousness, or maybe it's the other way around: Absent consciousness, the anti-correlation breaks down.</p><p>To test their hypothesis, Huang and his colleagues analyzed resting-state fMRI scans from 98 participants in varying states of responsiveness, located in Shanghai and Wisconsin. (Because participants were given task in various states, the researchers chose to grade their level of unresponsiveness instead of unconsciousness." In addition to a DAT-mode control group, scans were performed on participants who were in unresponsive states from anesthesia, either propofol or ketamine, or from <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/16/otto-warmbier-update-what-unresponsive-wakefulness-syndrome-can-he-recover/403475001/" target="_blank">unresponsive wakefulness syndrome</a>, or UWS. Ultimately, the researchers developed four data sets: propofol-Shanghai, propofol-Wisconsin, ketamine, and neuropathological patients.</p><p>They found being unresponsive correlated consistently with scans in which the DAT and DMN systems were at equilibrium. No Chinese food or pizza for them.</p><p>For confirmation, a second study was performed with scans from 248 subjects published in the <a href="https://openfmri.org" target="_blank">OpenfMRI</a> database. The cohort consisted of healthy individuals, as well as individuals with psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Various states of responsiveness in the available scans were identified, and once again, when DAT and DMN activation was equal, participants were in an unresponsive state.</p>
Part of a larger mystery<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg3NTg5MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTI2NTAxM30.dATkFl9qzFjK028yJM04nF9lEHRLsJvaiuiJ3seutto/img.jpg?width=980" id="71916" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f897c319df013325e00501fa30ec3c27" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: John Graner/Wikimedia<p>Of course, this study doesn't get us much further along regarding the hard problem, but we do now know a little bit more about how consciousness appears to work at least. The DMN and DAT neural networks together account for a lot of what goes on it consciousness. Just, please, not at the same time. </p>
When measuring for the future, there is much to consider.
- We need to embrace a plethora of schooling options as necessary to help different types of learners get to success.
- On top of testing for literacy and math competence, we should also test for other things that are clearly important to parents, such as whether kids feel safe and cared for. These things are softer but more difficult to assess.
- To improve our education system, we need to understand we currently only have answers to some huge open questions right now. We are still figuring things out on how to enrich different people's lives as they find their positions in the economy — and society at large.
- This video is supported by yes. every kid., an initiative that aims to rethink education from the ground up by connecting innovators in a shared mission to conquer "one size fits all" education reform.