pandemic
Mental Health, USA, Loneliness, Quarantine, COVID-19

‘Cave Syndrome’ Is the New Post-Pandemic Affliction, Yeah That Sounds Like Something We Have

Just when you thought you could put all pandemic-related things behind you, a new diagnosis is here to land you back on the couch – a therapist’s couch, that is. It’s called “cave syndrome,” and it’s the result of a year-plus of isolation, loneliness, and too much time at home due to Covid quarantine. How do you know if you have it? Well, you’ll basically feel terrified to go out in public and socialize like a normal human being again.

Florida psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Bregman coined the term after seeing so many patients who span the spectrum from being reluctant to return to their formerly active social lives to those who have literally locked themselves in at home and won’t take their masks off – even for telemedicine phone calls! Unsurprisingly, these are the same patients seeking a doctor’s note so that they don’t have to return to in-person work sites.

To counteract this going-out-in-public panic, Dr. Bregman developed the MAV system, which stands for “mindfulness, attitude and vision.” It involves figuring out what exactly is making you nervous, recalling the positive parts of socializing and believing good things can happen when you interact with others in public again, and visualizing what your goals are once you leave your cave.

But time is of the essence. “The longer people are in their cave, the harder it is to get out,” he told CNN.

While this isn’t a bona fide diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka the shrink Bible), you or someone you know is likely suffering from it. The only way out is through, people, and we are literally all in this together now. So who wants to go get a drink?

Cover Photo: batuhan toker (Getty Images)

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