The impact of the COVID pandemic and its consequences on mental health has been confirmed by numerous studies and has been shown a general increase in mental health disorders. For people who were already struggling with mental health or substance abuse, the new circumstances created new barriers, often aggravating their conditions.
Statistics Showing an Increase in Mental Health Issues
According to KFF, almost 40% of adults in the US have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder since April 2020, compared to the 11% incidence reported in the previous period of time. 12% of them have stated that their alcohol or substance abuse has increased during this time.
Factors that Lead to a Worsening of Symptoms
There are many variables playing a role in this worrying tendency, with many aspects of life being altered dramatically by the pandemic, the safety measures that many countries needed to apply, and a generalized discourse of fear, mistrust, and uncertainty in our society.
Here are some of the most common causes of increased anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation in so many people:
- Loss of income
- Being left without a job
- Loneliness and lack of social contact
- Worrying about COVID and about own and others’ health
- Losing loved ones or someone they know
- Less accessible medical services
Some of the most affected groups in terms of mental health issues are essential workers, young adults, racial or ethnic minorities, and unpaid caregivers, according to a study by CDC.
Why Substance Abuse Disorder Is More Prevalent
Substance abuse disorder (SUD) has been linked with depression and anxiety and worsened by socio-economic struggle. For people who were already facing difficult challenges, like being homeless or imprisoned, substance abuse during the pandemic has been used even more as a coping mechanism, leading to downward spiraling.
Dealing With the Aftermath of the Pandemic
Dealing with these mental health issues while still being affected by the factors brought in by the pandemic is not only a challenge for individuals affected by them, but for the mental health system as a whole.
Society’s responsibility towards those who suffer from anxiety, depression, or SUD should be expressed by putting more resources in the prevention and treatment of such illnesses. Telemedicine and organizations helping people affected by mental health issues have contributed to the management of this “pandemic” of its own.
The Department of Health and Human Services lists some of the services available for those suffering from SUD, anxiety, or depression, encouraging everyone to take notice if such symptoms appear and reporting their struggle to someone who can help them go through it.
It will take a lot of effort on both sides of the barricade to normalize life after the pandemic, and uncertainty is a given in such an unprecedented situation but being aware of such risks is the first step in handling it successfully.
Process addictions such as sex addiction seems to also been on the rise in most western countries.
For help with any from of addiction, contact Rehab UK rehab cape town on our respective websites.