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El Paso psychiatrist offers tips for dealing with ‘re-entry’ fear as pandemic eases

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EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Nearly 40% of El Paso residents age 16 and older had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning. As more shots are administered, some are experiencing anxiety about the slow return to normal.

Some experts are calling it "re-entry fear." A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found about half of Americans feel uneasy about adjusting to in-person interactions once the pandemic is over.

More than a year into the pandemic, Americans have developed new habits and routines. A local psychiatrist told ABC-7 it takes about 90 days to change a habit, and could take individuals about three months to adjust to changes when the pandemic ends.

"Any break from our regular lives [is] going to bring us some anxiety," said Dr. Fabrizzio Delgado, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. "If at some point it becomes impairing and it's just disrupting your life, it's a good time to seek some help."

Dr. Delgado also voiced concern about the consequences of the trauma experienced by many during the pandemic due to lost jobs and loved ones.

"It was something very big that affected the whole of the society," Dr. Delgado said. "Now we're seeing the people with the PTSD. We're seeing people with anxiety that were not seeing doctors for a long time."

Dr. Delgado encouraged anyone experiencing anxiety to stay active and spend time outdoors, as well as ensuring they're getting enough sleep.

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.

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