- Depression symptoms are three times higher during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to a new study.
- The COVID-19 pandemic, according to experts, is a catastrophic event on a much bigger scale.
- It has caused physical, emotional, and psychological harm to those who aren’t infected with the virus.
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While we’ve been focusing on the physical effects of COVID-19 and measures to prevent its spread, we may have overlooked another condition: depression. In a recent study, researchers from Trusted Source reviewed survey data from 1,441 persons in the United States aged 18 and up. Depression symptoms were three times higher during COVID-19 lockdown than before the pandemic, rising from 8.5 percent before to 27.8% during the lockdown.
COVID-19 is a terrible event on a large scale
The COVID-19 pandemic is a major catastrophic event on a vast scale. It has caused physical, emotional, and psychological harm to those who aren’t infected with the virus. We may not have understood how the epidemic and quarantine have harmed our mental health while working frantically to keep our faces covered, wash our hands, and stay 6 feet away from everyone, including our loved ones.
Most Americans’ daily lives were interrupted as a result of policies put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Between the onset of the pandemic and mid-April, twenty million people applied for jobless benefits. According to the report, 42 states were under stay-at-home advisories or shelter-in-place policies as of mid-April, affecting 316 million people.
Dr. Brittany LeMonda, senior neuropsychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, “Results imply that rates of depression symptomatology are three times greater during the pandemic compared to before the pandemic.” “Many causes, including greater social isolation, economic challenges, and exposure to other stresses, are undoubtedly contributing to this increase in mood symptoms.”
These aren’t minor annoyances. The results are comparable to those obtained from other significant traumatic situations. After September 11, 2001, for example, 9.6% of Manhattan residents showed signs of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The study found that “exposure to large-scale traumatic events is associated with an elevated burden of mental disease in the afflicted community.”
Factors that contribute to depression
The researchers discovered that during COVID-19, there were fewer persons with no signs of depression and more people with more symptoms than before COVID-19. It was also discovered that specific groups, such as those with a lower income and those with less than $5,000 in-home savings, were at a higher risk of developing depression symptoms. They had a 50% higher risk of developing depression symptoms than individuals with a higher income.
However, income isn’t the sole consideration. Isolation and uncertainty play a role in depression symptoms in people from all walks of life. “People are more socially isolated, have less structure and routine, and more uncertainty about the future, which leads to skepticism and negative predictions,” said Dr. Collin Reiff, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health.
There’s also the alteration in the “grand picture,” he noted. “What does this mean for people’s plans?” What if they were going to start a career and were suddenly facing financial difficulties as a result of the six-month delay? What if they’ve lost a significant partner or a family member and are now forced to face life without them?” Furthermore, there is no way of knowing when it will all come to an end. It goes without saying that the rise in depression symptoms is understandable.
How to Deal with Depression during COVID-19
Even during a pandemic, there are several strategies to assist alleviate depressive symptoms. Millions of people in the United States and around the world suffer from depression. This means there are tried-and-true ways to cope with the symptoms so you can get back to living and enjoying your life.
“Identifying those at risk for mood symptoms, such as those with a history of depression or anxiety, substance misuse history, long-term unemployment, or a sense of isolation from others, is critical for early detection and intervention,” LeMonda said. “Before symptoms worsen, recognizing warning indicators in our friends and family members, such as feelings of hopelessness and detachment from others, can help connect folks with appropriate resources.”
Symptoms of depression for individuals who are unsure if they are suffering from it include:
- low energy
- weight loss
- low mood
- feeling like a burden to others
- feelings of guilt
- suicidal ideation
“You may determine how you want to tackle it based on the symptoms,” Reiff said. “It could be as simple as creating some structure or pattern in your day, or setting a reminder to take time for yourself, even if it’s only for an hour.”
There’s also psychotherapy, which is regarded as one of the most effective methods for improving mental health. “To feel like someone is suddenly listening and understanding you and allowing you to see things from a different perspective — that’s priceless,” Reiff said. “This is especially true when someone is depressed.”
Antidepressants and other medications can also benefit some people. In the middle of a pandemic and a recession, LeMonda says one way to help is to simply call out to family and friends and inquire about their mental health. “During COVID-19, everyone is struggling in some way. “Don’t be scared to seek help or share your experiences with others who care about you,” LeMonda advised. “There’s a good chance you won’t be alone.”