Are the Effects of COVID-19 Still Impacting Your Mental Health?

The COVID-19 pandemic had several adverse effects on the world, including impairing the mental health of millions. Unfortunately, the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact people today. To prepare ourselves for this new, post-pandemic world and protect our mental health, we must first understand how COVID-19 affects us. Many harmful effects were abrupt when the world shut down because people and organizations scrambled to provide access to mental health care. Somehow many of us made it through, but countless others did not. 

If you or someone you love has been struggling to cope with the long-term mental health effects of COVID-19, know that you are not alone. So many of us have been in the same boat and are trying to cope too. Talking about it can help, and seeking further professional treatment may be the best way to manage it. 

Effects of COVID-19

Whether people came out of the pandemic with new or worsened mental illnesses, one thing is for sure—the world was forced to adapt. But unfortunately, it took a minute for some to adjust, and many are still coping with the ramifications. 

Feeling Cut Off During the Pandemic 

Most of us still recall the early stages of COVID-19 vividly. While the global pandemic only began over two years ago, it felt like it lasted a lifetime. Between endless lockdowns, quarantines, constant information shifts, and an over-abundance of media coverage, it is no wonder the last two years felt like a lifetime. 

Everyone was affected by the pandemic, but those struggling with mental health had uniquely dangerous experiences. Many people's symptoms worsened due to a complete cut-off of mental health treatment. So, those of us dealing with anxiety probably felt our symptoms become progressively worse and crippling. Imagine how they felt for people with even worse mental health conditions. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, eating disorders, and personality disorders can worsen when not actively treated. Lockdowns not only constituted a lack of mental health care in the talk therapy sphere, but they also meant people may not have been able to obtain medications that help them maintain their mental health. 

In addition to limited access to treatment and medications, people were cut off from each other. If you lived alone during this time, handling the isolation was tough. Isolation can be detrimental to those trying to cope with mental illness or maintain addiction recovery. With isolation came increased risks of relapse and other dangers. Furthermore, it may have felt even more difficult than usual for those requiring addiction treatment to access proper care during lockdowns. 

Virtual Mental Healthcare During COVID-19

Some mental health facilities and addiction treatment centers offered virtual services before the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many already did not have this option in place and had to scramble to prepare and provide telehealth services to current and new clients. The one silver lining is that many people and organizations realized the potential benefits of virtual mental health treatment. Some benefits of virtual mental healthcare include: 

  1. Parents do not have to find childcare to attend therapy, group meetings, or other forms of treatment.
  2. People can attend therapy and discuss traumatic and potentially triggering events from the comfort of their own homes.
  3. Avoiding exposure to COVID-19 while still receiving treatment

In response to the lockdowns and the need for mental health care during the pandemic, organizations did their best to provide online resources for people across the country. Organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offered links, guidance for treatment and facility resources, and tips on coping with stress during this unprecedented time. However, in such an unusual time, many could not fully predict the effects of COVID-19 on mental health. While virtual progress was helpful, it was not enough for some people.

Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health

The National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates that half of Americans experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression in 2021, in addition to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder (SUD) since the start of the pandemic. 

From their research, the NIH observed that individuals who contract COVID-19 might experience the following: 

  • Cognitive and attention deficits (brain fog)
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal behavior

While a lot of us experienced initial things such as these, the effects can be long-term. Many developed other mental disorders like PTSD, but others did not. According to some research, "The long-term effect from direct COVID-19 infection has been associated with no or mild symptoms." 

Seek Treatment 

While much of the world has seemingly returned to normal, some of us may still be experiencing recently developed or increased anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. Some may also be dealing with the repercussions of relapse or other complications. If you are one of these people, consider treatment. With the help of telehealth services and other protocols, healing is possible. Get help understanding your options by reaching out to NorthStar Transitions today. 

Across the world, professionals are still trying to determine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on our physical and mental health. In the wake of a “new normal,” many of us developed mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the ever-changing scope of the pandemic. Furthermore, people already struggling with mental illness or addiction were in an impossible position: trying to maintain mental health or recovery without access to mental health care, treatment, or individuals in their support groups. People still struggling with the long-term effects of COVID-19 on their mental health should seek treatment. Call NorthStar Transitions at (303) 558-6400 to learn more or seek treatment today.

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