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SHREVEPORT, La. - It's no secret that isolation and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic is the new normal. Now after a year, its the root cause of anxiety.

Just ask transit bus driver 33-year-old Anthony Perkins. He's an essential worker in Washington D.C. "We're in contact with the public, all day everyday. I have a fiance here at home that has a compromised immune system with MS. I have two young children. It weighs on you."  His story is similar to those living across the Arklatex. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration, along with changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests are all stress symptoms of the pandemic.

Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams

"People who are normally emotionally tough or are emotionally strong are the somewhat are the ones that are breaking down," said Ryan Williams, CEO of Seedlinks Behavior Management. Seedlinks is a Shreveport based out-patient clinic with 70 employees including psychiatrists, licensed professional counselors, and nurses.

"We've received more calls and more referrals than we've ever have," said Williams.

The demand for help over the past year has skyrocketed, he said.

CDC recommendations

"We all know when the anxiety is high, it actually triggers other mental health issues that we already have that may be diagnosed and may not be diagnosed," Williams added.

When anxiety is high, a person has to find stress relievers. Williams recommends entering group counseling, talking to a licensed professional counselor, or a psychiatrist.

The CDC recommends taking breaks from watching, reading, and listening to news stories about the pandemic, temporarily disconnect from technology and social media, exercise regularly, meditate, try to eat healthy with balanced meals, and get plenty of sleep.

"We're totally out of our space and totally out of our norm and most people that never dealt with that, its all new to them so seeking information on how they can get better and what it takes to get better," said Williams.

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