Covid-19, a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, was first discovered in December of 2019. It was first discovered in Wuhan, China, and in the months following the initial discovery, it spread across the world. In March of 2020, after countries worldwide began reporting cases of the virus, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of Covid-19 a pandemic. The Covid pandemic has affected the daily life of Americans and humans across the globe, especially on many people’s mental health. From learning new habits to stopping common activities and more, many felt their world was turned upside down, and many felt their lives come to a screeching halt. The unexpected pandemic caused panic, fear, anxiety, and more for millions of people. Going now on multiple years, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected many aspects of daily life, and with this alteration came a shift in the mental health of millions of Americans.
Pandemic Factors That Have Caused a Shift in Mental Health
Humans tend to be wary of the unknown. It is part of a biological response that our bodies provide to protect us from outside threats. With this natural response comes fear, anxiety, and sometimes depression. The pandemic started in 2019, and with it came the unknown. Scientists, researchers, and epidemiologists were fighting to learn about the virus causing the Covid disease, and news outlets were constantly updating citizens on any discoveries. The unknown factor of the pandemic brought out anxiety and depression for some.
COVID-19 Virus Challenges Mental Wellness
Aside from the biological response, outside factors also play a part in mental health. During the pandemic, strict rules and recommendations were implemented to help keep people safe from the virus. However, social distancing, businesses closing, economic decline, quarantine, and self-isolation all played a part in the overall decline of America’s mental health. Americans began experiencing loneliness from lack of interaction, fear of not getting necessities, stress from lost jobs, and fear of catching the virus. In addition, news coverage focused on the number of infections, inciting panic. Misinformation also spread like fire and caused nervousness and uncertainty for many. People worldwide were scared to hug their loved ones or greet their neighbors. Some people even were faced with discrimination. For example, healthcare workers were avoided by the general public, and many people of Asian descent felt discrimination due to the virus originating in China. All of these factors increased the prevalence of mental health disorders and struggles. If you, or someone you love, have been struggling with a decline in mental health, some steps can be taken to improve your overall level of happiness.
How the Pandemic Has Affected Mental Health in the United States
With Covid-19 came an increase in mental health disorders, not only in the United States but also across the globe. Studies have shown an increase in anxiety, depression, and substance use in America. The CDC states that surveys have given the following increases:
- The percentage of adults with recent anxiety symptoms or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%.
- Those reporting unmet mental health care needs to be increased from 9.2% to 11.7%.
- Overall, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition,
- 30.9% reported symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder
- 26.3% reported symptoms of trauma- and stressor-related disorder related to the pandemic
- 13.3% reported having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19
- The prevalence of anxiety disorder symptoms was approximately three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019.
- The prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times reported in the second quarter of 2019.
(cdc.gov) As shown by studies, overall, mental health disorders have increased during the pandemic. This could be for several reasons, as fear and panic set into many Americans’ lives. Not only does the pandemic come with those emotions, but outside factors directly correlating to the pandemic can also play a factor in the mental health of all individuals.
Steps to Help Improve Mental Health During Coronavirus
Understandably, shifts in daily life can cause anxiety, stress, and mental health disorders. The uncertainty and fear of pandemics can wreak havoc on routines, normal tasks, and family dynamics. However, there are things that individuals can implement to help boost mood, stabilize routines, and cope with stress.
- Maintain routines as much as possible.
- Talk to family and friends often.
- Video chat with people you love.
- Learn a new hobby.
- Do something that you know you enjoy doing.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Limit media input- turn off the tv.
- Limit social media use.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid substances such as drugs and alcohol.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation or yoga.
- Seek help from a licensed professional.
It is vital to your mental and physical well-being to make time for yourself. The pandemic can be lonely, scary, and overwhelming. It is normal to feel these emotions. However, taking the proper actions can help you cope with the stress from the pandemic and improve your mental health. If you feel helpless or like there is no way to recover, do not hesitate to seek help. With the rise of mental health disorders, medical professionals closely monitor individuals for signs of mental health struggles.
Find Your Footing After Mental Health Struggles
With 13.3% of individuals in one study admitting to increasing substance use or starting to misuse substances during the pandemic, logic would say that the actual amount is much higher. Here at Evoke Wellness, we understand the reasons behind addiction. We also offer a dual-diagnosis program to address addiction and mental health disorders. In addition, we offer a detox program and therapy sessions. Receiving treatment for both disorders in tandem is vital to a successful recovery. Our team of highly trained, compassionate professionals takes Covid seriously, and we take precautions to ensure the safety of all clients and our staff. However, you do not have to go through this pandemic alone. Call us today for professional co-occurring disorder help at our EVOKE dual diagnosis treatment facilities.