COVID-19’s Impact on Mental Health and Addiction

HHRC-Quarantined coronavirus family in medical masks

The hallmark of 2020 was quarantine, unemployment, loneliness, economic fallbacks, alarming mortality rates, mask-wearing, and social distancing. Everything altered after the COVID-19 pandemic. It claimed lives and livelihoods and altered how we work, go to school, connect with others, and see the world.

During the pandemic, many people experienced emotions of isolation, despair, and worry. Some gained new skills and radically changed their manner of earning a living, while others struggled to make ends meet. We stayed at home, adapted to virtual relationships, and found creative outlets for our leisure.

In some circumstances, people turned to alcohol, drugs, and unhealthy eating relationships to cope with their emotions. During the pandemic, there was a surge in mental health, addiction, eating disorders, domestic abuse, and suicide. COVID-19’s mental health impact has altered our perceptions of mental stability as well as how we coped.

Connecting Virtually 

When COVID-19 began, the world had to adjust swiftly. Despite having little (or no) experience with it, both patients seeking mental health care and mental health care practitioners were forced to transition to internet treatment or teletherapy instantly.

Studies had previously established that internet treatment was helpful for mental health difficulties before the pandemic, but the pandemic reinforced its relevance, convenience, and efficacy.

Overall, internet counseling has altered our approach to mental health care. Anyone with Wi-Fi may now access assistance for mental health, eating disorders, and addiction.

We may contact a therapist at any time of day or night from the comfort of our own homes. Instead of waiting weeks for an appointment, we may get on a fast video conference or chat to discuss mounting nervous sensations. Instead of having persistent symptoms before finding therapy, we may address COVID and mental health difficulties right immediately, which will only continue in the future. 

COVID and Mental Health Amidst Drug Abuse

In the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more lives than World War I, the Vietnam War and the Korean War combined. Aside from the mortality toll, there are substantial public health consequences in households and communities worldwide.

Most drug misuse counselors and employee assistance professionals throughout this period have noticed some significant shifts in substance usage and mental health during COVID-19.

The required social distance and quarantine measures exacerbated mental upheaval by severely altering the social fabric through which individuals, families, communities, and nations cope with catastrophe. Occupations, income, education, affordable healthcare, food security, transportation, entertainment, cultural and religious traditions, and the capacity of personal support networks and communities to join together and lament are all affected.

You have probably seen or experienced the effects of “emotional turmoil” (or “multidimensional disruption”) as described above. These include social isolation, close-knit living, unpredictable changes in our lives, collective grief, missed celebrations of milestones such as graduations, weddings, etc. Fear, stress (work and at home), financial insecurity, job changes, and decreases in healthcare coverage for substance abuse treatment are also included, as well as the waiting list for substance abuse treatment, untreated mental disorders, changes in medication access, drug supply, and exacerbations of pre-existing conditions. People’s eating habits, sleeping patterns, activity levels, and daily routines changed. As we know it, life changed because of COVID and mental health challenges.

As a result, and unsurprisingly, various research studies on the pandemic’s effects have discovered mental health issues during COVID, including increased anxiety, depression, traumatic stress, and drug usage among the general population.

Anxiety, Depression, Traumatic Stress, and Substance Abuse Are All on the Rise 

What did that look like in the capacity of mental health professionals and drug abuse counselors? Some of their customers were already having regular anxiety attacks, sleeplessness, a lack of desire, energy, focus, home conflicts, frequent crying outbursts, coworker conflict, decreased appetite, and increasing headaches/migraines by May 2020.

Three months later, the caseload bursts at the seams with people needing assistance. Most customers’ presenting difficulties were becoming more intense and severe. Clients were presenting with suicidal and gloomy ideas. Most colleagues were having the same problem with their customers.

To successfully address the requirements of their patients, rehabilitation institutions and mental health practitioners hurried to design safe practices and embrace technology. Prior to the pandemic, telehealth/telemedicine was an accepted practice; nonetheless, it became the go-to modality of care and was supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services to enable insurance payment.

Mental health professionals and drug abuse counselors noticed that COVID-19’s mental health impact, especially on people with pre-existing mental illnesses, were getting worse, and people without such conditions experienced symptoms for the first time during the pandemic.

People with a history of severe substance abuse disorder had to face similar challenges before the advent of virtual support groups. People with mild disorders were also experiencing difficulties in maintaining abstinence. They were often increasing the amount and frequency of their alcohol consumption and smoking Cannabis. This led to them becoming more dependent on other mood-altering substances and eventually needing treatment.

A Few Words About the Overdose  Pandemic

In addition to the pandemic, an earlier pandemic, the opioid overdose crisis, occurred concurrently. The mental health during COVID-19 statistics indicate that there was an increase in drug overdoses and overdose-related fatalities due to synthetic opioids (mainly Fentanyl).

According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose fatalities in the United States for the 12-month period ending in April 2021, a 28.5% rise over the same time the previous year.

In the 12-month period ending in April 2021, overdose fatalities from psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also climbed.

Self-care techniques 

Self-care practices are beneficial to your mental and physical health and may assist you in taking control of your life amidst mental health issues during COVID. Take care of your body and mind and connect with people to improve your mental health.

Take care of your physical and mental health:

Get adequate rest: Every day, go to bed and get up at the exact times. Even staying at home, stick to your regular sleep-wake routine.

Engage in frequent physical activity: Physical activity and exercise regularly can help reduce anxiety and enhance mood. Find a movement-based activity, such as dancing or fitness applications. Take a walk outside, such as on a nature trail or in your garden.

Consume nutritious foods: Choose a well-balanced diet. Limit your intake of junk food and processed sugar. Caffeine should be consumed in moderation since it might exacerbate tension, anxiety, and sleep issues.

Maintain your usual regimen: Having a constant routine is critical for your mental health. Maintain consistent hours for meals, bathing and dressing, work or study routines, exercise, and a regular nighttime regimen. Make time for hobbies that you like. This regularity might give you a sense of control.

Focus on pleasant thoughts: Choose to focus on the good things in your life. Keep a positive attitude, attempt to accept changes as they come, and keep concerns in perspective. Consider beginning each day by making a list of things you are grateful for.

Protect Your Mental Health and Prevent Addiction With Us 

Experts agree, based on research, that pandemic-related factors, from the economic recession and isolation to general anxiety about the virus, and lack of healthy coping skills to manage progressively worsening symptoms, have significant effects on the increases in substance abuse and other forms of addiction.

At Haven House Recovery Center, you are not alone. If you are looking for rehab centers in Nashville, TN, look no further because we are here for you. We are a reputed recovery center in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, that serves all patients with unconditional positive esteem. We believe that the COVID-19’s mental health impact has affected many men, which may cause them to spiral down the addiction hole. That is why we offer a customized strategy to meet your specific requirements and provide a supportive environment to help you get through rehabilitation.