Can the Pandemic Cause Depression?
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the entire world for the last two years. Economically, politically, socially, and the obvious attack, on our physical health itself. Who would’ve guessed that a virus could cause the level of destruction in the way that it has? Although, for some, the pandemic has served as a time of reflection, a career-pivoting opportunity, and even personal economic growth, no one can deny the negative impact that COVID has had on mental health and the increase in substance misuse. In late June of 2020, 31% of people reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, and an overall 40% of adults in the United States went on record stating that they experienced a struggle with substance use and mental health.
American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leader in addiction treatment and has facilities across the nation to help those battling substance use disorders. We provide supervised medical detox, inpatient and outpatient care, as well as aftercare planning. If you’re struggling with substance use disorder, alcohol use disorder, and/or co-occurring mental health disorders, you’re not alone. Please reach out to get the help that you need today.
Mental health, Depression, & the Pandemic
Mental health is defined as our social, emotional, and psychological well-being. It determines how we relate to people, the choices we make, how we feel, think, and act, and even how we handle stress.
From this definition alone, it’s obvious to see how the experience of living through COVID-19 can affect the mental health of so many individuals, which it has.
There are variables that contribute to mental health problems, including, but not necessarily limited to:
- Family history.
- Biological variables (e.g., brain chemistry, genes).
- Life experiences (e.g., abuse or trauma).
Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a serious mood disorder, which causes severe symptoms that impact how an individual handles daily activities and how they think and feel.
It’s clear to see how individuals, having gone through the pandemic, may have experienced the last two years as traumatic, which may contribute to some individuals developing a form of depression. Additionally, depression symptoms must also be present for at least two weeks to be considered a diagnosis of depression.
Remember, only a licensed medical or psychiatric professional can diagnose an individual, which is why it’s important to make an appointment with one if you’re experiencing symptoms or simply feel like you need help.
A few forms of depression include:
- Psychotic depression.
- Postpartum depression.
- Persistent depressive disorder.
- Bipolar disorder.
- Seasonal affective disorder.
For many, the pandemic has been one of the most challenging times in our lives. And in response to this global obstacle, some people have turned to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with what they are forced to face. It doesn’t matter if it’s a financial hardship, political grievances with relatives, social injustice, or if you’re battling the long-haul symptoms from having contracted COVID. All of the challenges feel big and overwhelming to the one facing the hurdles.
We have lost nearly a million lives in the United States from COVID-19 within the last two years. And this doesn’t even include the auxiliary deaths due to drug overdoses or alcohol-related deaths associated with the pandemic itself. According to a New York Times article, “Americans drank more to cope with the stress of the pandemic” and there was an increase in binge drinking. Alcohol-related deaths increased by 25% between 2019 and 2020 compared to the usual yearly increase of 3.6% between 1999 and 2019.
As it looks like there is a light at the end of what has felt like a long and dark tunnel over the course of a couple of years, we have to remember that there are people still struggling with substance misuse. AAC helps those battling substance use disorders to reach long-term sobriety. If you’re one of those individuals struggling, please reach out to get the help you need.