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  • Sasha Hamdani, MD

Kansas City mental health expert weighs in on reactions to violence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seeing and hearing about all the violence in a community can be sickening, according to Kansas City area doctors.

"Your amygdala starts spinning out of control, and then once you get into that situation, you can't rationalize your way out of it," Dr. Sasha Hamdani, a psychiatrist at the Psychiatry Associates of Kansas City, said. "So yes, you can have these situations where you just get absolutely overwhelmed with it."

It makes it harder that the world is reopening at a time when psychiatrists usually see mood shifts in patients coming out of the winter months.

"Everybody is going to be anxious, but I think it's how anxious are you and how difficult is this transition going to be, and knowing when to seek out help," Hamdani said.

Emerging from the past year of social isolation could potentially change the way people treat others, according to Hamdani.

"You're moving into a situation where you're having to accommodate to everybody else's needs," Hamdani said. "Your threshold might be just significantly lower so you might just get more irritable, more anxious."

Physical signs associated with anxiety include rapid and shallow breathing, problems with falling asleep, lacking an appetite and having racing thoughts.

Some might shy away from speaking up when experiencing signs of anxiety, but loved ones and friends can lend a hand.

"Just opening up a communication about this and starting from a nonjudgmental place," Hamdani said. "So, starting to talk to them about, 'Hey, these are the things I've noticed. Is this something that you've noticed as well? How can I best help you?'"

More people are reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), which found that four in 10 adults at the start of the year were reporting symptoms. From January to June 2019, one in 10 adults reported symptoms.

"We have to kind of figure out how we're going to calibrate and recalibrate back into what our normal situation was," Hamdani said.

Mental health resources: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

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