According to CNN, “cave syndrome” is a non-medical term coined by psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Bregman to describe the mid to severe anxiety some people feel towards reentering society after the pandemic and a year in isolation.
During his telemedicine calls, Bregman says he’s “seen patients who are locked in their room at home, and they’re wearing a mask.” Bregman has also been asked to write doctor’s notes for some patients so they can avoid going back into the office and doing their work in person. Most of his day is spent helping these patients not destroy their careers because of “cave syndrome.”
His MAV system, “mindfulness, attitude, and vision” was developed this year to help struggling patients. Patients first need to determine what exactly is bothering them. Afterward, developing a positive attitude towards the issue is key. Visualizing good things that have happened outside is a great way to do that. Finally, patients should visualize goals for when they eventually do go outside.
Bregman says, “The longer people are in their cave, the harder it is to get out.” However, associate professor of psychiatry Dr. Alan Teo from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, warns against people throwing the term “cave syndrome” around. Most individuals are dealing with anxiety or high stress levels this year, which while difficult, is not a disorder or syndrome.
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