Local doctor's office offers therapy to treat pandemic anxiety

(Source: WRDW)
(Source: WRDW)(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 10:23 PM EDT
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Psychologists around the country say they’re seeing a dramatic increase in patients as people continue to be stuck inside. And one local doctor's office is taking matters into their own hands by offering free help to anyone in the CSRA.

You don’t have to test positive for coronavirus to experience a common symptom of the pandemic -- anxiety.

"Whether it be older folks who are really worrying about themselves and their health," Dr. Jeremy Hertza, a neuropsychiatrist at Neurobehavioral Association, said.

"Or little kids really missing their friends in school, or parents trying to figure out what to do with their kids, I think there’s just a lot of anxiety and a lot of difficulty, and that’s increasing every day," he continued.

Dr. Hertza has seen that increase firsthand.

He says he’s been getting up to 40 new patients a week since the pandemic started. So, he and his team at neurobehavioral associates created free online group therapy for anyone who needs a little help.

"People are hashing it out on Facebook, or social media, or next door, and all these different things, but there’s no professionals involved," Herzta said. "If people are doing this and looking for support, let’ give them something that’s professional-led, that focuses on things that helps solve things."

The most important advice he gives to people struggling in quarantine -- create structure.

"It's really about having a plan to manage yourself and your family, and not just winging it day to day," Hertza said.

For example, Hertza says going for a walk in the morning isn’t as productive if you feel most anxious in the afternoon.

"Take the time to look at yourself to examine: what are the ways that I traditionally manage my emotions? What are the ways that I can’t do now? And what do I need to do?" he said.

And perhaps offering therapy in a group will serve as a reminder -- just because you stuck at home --

"Maybe when all this is done, they learn some new things and get some new support systems," Hertza said.

It doesn’t mean you are alone.

Dr. Hertza told News 12 the free group therapy starts this Friday, and the groups will be separated by age, gender, and situation. Participants also have the option to remain completely anonymous.

For anyone who wants individual therapy -- Hertza has discounted services to just the cost of the copay.

To participate in the group therapy, email for more information.

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