Saturday, December 11, 2021

Well, now that's a new though

The New York Times published a story generally saying that we are reacting to the Omicron Covid variant in an atypical way. That is, with the first few Covid, Covid- B, than Delta, we reacted as expected, fread out. But with Omicron, we are not freaking out much at all. 

And then say it is perfectly in line with assumptions that they make. Here is a snippet of the article (and it is the crux of it as well, so no need to read the whole thing.

The seemingly constant flow of emergency alerts has dulled many people’s fear response to this pandemic, leading them to let down their guard, relax their restrictions or masking habits, or even refuse potentially lifesaving vaccines. Why? We’ve basically all been through one of the best available therapies for extinguishing extreme fear.

If you have a fear of spiders, the mere sight of a bug with eight legs activates your amygdala — a vital part of your brain’s threat detection system. The amygdala acts as a safety siren that immediately drowns out all the other noise in your head and propels you to take rapid protective action: fight, flight or freeze.

When that response is overactive — especially if you have a phobia — psychologists often recommend exposure therapy. The goal is to make you so familiar with the source of your fear that it no longer seems like a threat. Your amygdala takes a nap and your prefrontal cortex takes over, allowing you to think rationally about whether that daddy longlegs in the bathtub is really a danger.

Therapists generally use one of two approaches to exposure therapy: systematic desensitization and flooding. Systematic desensitization involves introducing the threat in small doses and gradually increasing it over time. You might start off looking at pictures of spiders, and then encounter a live spider in a sealed cage across the room. You learn to manage your fear in less threatening situations before you get up close and personal with the creepy creature.

Flooding, on the other hand, involves putting you right in the middle of your nightmare. A therapist might drop a spider onto your lap. Yes, you’ll probably panic, but the hope is that after surviving the experience unscathed you’ll quickly realize that your terror was misplaced, and you’ll be less afraid of spiders after that.

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