Do you know what an addiction is? I’m sure you do.

And do you know anyone who has an addiction? If you say you don’t, I’m going to have to beg to differ, simply because I believe that, right now, there are nearly 330 million addicts in this country and you might be one of them.

What is the addiction? The addiction is “worry.” And I’ll explain.

But first, do you know what a black hole is? A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so strongly that not only does it suck in everything within its vicinity, but not even light can get out.

Now, I often also use the term black hole to describe situations that appear to be unsolvable. For example, when it comes to arguments about whether there is a God or not, or global warming or if eating butter is healthy or not, there simply seems to be no solution. That’s a black hole.

According to Mr. Dictionary, an addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance. Right now, in America, we are in the midst of a compulsive dependence on an unsubstantiated and disturbing mask-wearing behavior created by a mislabeled, overhyped pandemic.

After all, a real pandemic is something that causes a dramatic increase in the death rates. But not only has this coronavirus not achieved that status, but about 98% of coronavirus patients recover, and that hardly qualifies as a pandemic.

Today I was sitting at an open-air restaurant in a state, Arizona, where the governor has already discontinued any mask mandates. Yet people are still driving by, alone in a car, wearing a mask. And most of the businesses and retail stores are requiring you to wear a mask to enter.

Suddenly a lady walks up, fully masked, and pulls out a baby wipe and wipes off the door handle of the restaurant before she opens it. I call that excessive paranoia.

Why? Simply because the following five doctors had this to say in the New England Journal of Medicine: Michael Klompas, M.D., M.P.H., Charles A. Morris, M.D., M.P.H., Julia Sinclair, M.B.A., Madelyn Pearson, D.N.P., R.N., and Erica S. Shenoy, M.D., Ph.D.

“We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to COVID-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic COVID-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching COVID-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

In other words, we are suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder. That’s when people have frequent or nearly constant, nagging feelings of worry or anxiety. And these feelings are either unusually intense or out of proportion to the real troubles and dangers.

American author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia once said that worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy

Let’s face it. We have an anxiety disorder, America. And it’s sucking us into a black hole.

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Kevin Holten is a columnist and executive producer of “Special Cowboy Moments” on RFD-TV.

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