Returning to normal is something many people have been waiting for months to do, but others are more hesitant. That’s known as cave syndrome, referring to people who aren’t feeling ready to go back out in public like they normally did before the pandemic.

Doctors from UnityPoint and Genesis say this social anxiety can be dangerous in the long run.

“Social isolation and loneliness not only affecting memory, also increasing chance for more comfort eating, more alcohol consumption, increasing inflammation,” said Dr. Hamid Sagha, with UnityPoint Clinic Mulberry – Internal Medicine.

Dr. Steve Kopp, executive director of Genesis Psychology Associates, said if people are experiencing cave syndrome to know that it may be difficult, but facing your fears will make you stronger.

The bottom line is that when you’re exposing yourself to anything that’s fearful, you want to feel in control when you’re doing it,” he said.

More information on receiving help through Genesis can be found here.

More information on receiving help through UnityPoint can be found here.