THE COVID-19 pandemic has been a ‘double-edged’ sword in opening up opportunities for people to things they’ve not had a chance to do before, but sadly it has also increased anxiety and addictions for others.

It’s meant that the experienced team of Marbella-based Villa Paradiso Rehab Spain have been busy? ? treating clients as social anxiety levels have risen during a year of lockdowns.

The clinic was last year awarded the prestigious ‘Best Treatment Centre in Europe’ award by ‘Worlds Best Rehab Magazine’, due to the high standard of help it gives over issues like anxiety and depressions as well as addictions.

SPOTTING THE SIGNS

Social anxiety can present itself in a variety of ways, with Matthew Idle, Villa Paradiso’s lead therapist, saying that spotting the signs was an important stage in acknowledging a problem.

He explained: “There may be issues with sleeping and waking up early for example, as people get worried about their future including work prospects.”

“The lockdowns may have created an atmosphere of boredom with nothing to do and personal care and appearance might suffer as lounging around all day in a dressing gown or pyjamas becomes a norm.”

Boredom is especially dangerous to individuals with past addictions who may suffer a relapse.

“People need to keep busy to make sure that their mind does not trigger a return to old habits,” says Matthew.

“Boredom can lead to depression and our own experience is that around half of our clients have resorted to self-medication by taking prescription drugs.”

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Tranquility and spectaculay views at Villa Paradiso

Villa Paradiso’s specially-tailored sessions will seek to identify all of those key triggers caused by boredom.? ?

Other potential anxiety indicators, according to Matthew, include a change in eating habits with more food being consumed or people getting snappy with their partners or children.

RELATIONSHIP ISSUES

Increased anxiety levels have also caused problems with relationships covering all age ranges.

Matthew added:”Couples and families have spent so much time together over the last year that we are seeing relationships struggling or even totally breaking down.”

Inevitably lockdown pressures have caused increased alcohol consumption and drug taking as part of an unhealthy sequence of behaviour that makes people feel even worse.

“It’s all part of a pattern where the anxiety levels have risen so much that people’s personalities have changed and they become fearful of a return to normality,” added Matthew.

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Mathew Idle, Villa Paradiso’s lead therapist

“There are cases where the COVID-19 pandemic has led to overthinking about the future, and it is not just down to financial concerns. It’s in some instances they feel that they have missed the chance to have occupied their time better and that with their change caused by anxiety, future socialisation may prove to be harder.”

SETTING GOALS

On the flip side, Matthew acknowledged the many cases where pandemic restrictions have allowed people to extend their abilities from learning to play a musical instrument through to taking an online educational course.

He has had over 15 years’ experience in supporting people with mood and anxiety disorders. That includes teaching them at Villa Paradiso how to use positive coping skills and developing new ways of living a positive life.

He explained: “Anybody that comes to see us will get a set of goals to achieve, but everybody is totally different, and we tailor to individual needs.”

A PERSONAL TOUCH

The personal approach at Villa Paradiso is vital in getting a positive outcome.

“Our groups only have a maximum of five people and they are allowed to fully express their personal feelings. We have had lots of success stories,” added Matthew.

A year-long aftercare service is also provided to make sure there is a sustained recovery and besides? the Marbella area, Villa Paradiso also offers treatment in Tunisia for any Arabic and French-speaking clients, in a beautiful, luxurious private villa overlooking the sea.

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