How the Pandemic Related to Mental Illness?
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly not been a walk in the park for any of us. Many of us have had to grapple with a series of challenges that we had no prior experience with. Some of us have had to spend long hours on hold with the unemployment department, others have experienced immense financial insecurity for the first time, lost jobs at the hands of the pandemic, or been through watching a loved one fall ill with the virus.
Some of us have fallen ill with the virus ourselves, and have had to experience the mental devastation that goes hand in hand with completely socially isolating for two full weeks – or even longer, as the case may be. Since the pandemic first began, rates of mental illness have been on the rise. There are several reasons for this increase, including:
- Many men and women who previously suffered from mental illnesses like anxiety and depression experienced a worsening of pre-existing symptoms based on quarantine and social isolation. Some people who relied on therapy as a major part of their treatment programs no longer had access to the therapeutic services they had come to rely on, and some people with underlying psychological disorders found it more difficult to obtain the medications they needed.
- Some people experienced an onset of mental illness – people that had never been diagnosed with a mental illness previously. This could be due to several contributing factors, including job loss, financial insecurity, fear of the unknown, fear of sickness and/or death, long-term social isolation, or a lack of ability to participate in recreational activities that were previously enjoyed.
- Rates of substance abuse rose significantly during this period (since the pandemic first began in the US). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 percent of Americans reported experiencing increased rates of substance abuse as a means of coping. Overdose-related deaths also saw a sharp increase since the onset of the pandemic.
What Mental Health Disorders Were Caused by the Pandemic?
It is difficult to say whether or not any mental illnesses were caused by the pandemic or whether the person in question already experienced some risk factors. One thing is for certain – rates of the following mental illnesses have increased since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the US in January of last year:
- Social Anxiety
- Panic Disorder
- Substance abuse and dependence
Agape Treatment Center – Dual Diagnosis Recovery
At Agape Treatment Center, we understand how difficult this period has been for everyone – especially for those who struggled with a substance abuse disorder or a mental illness beforehand. Many men and women who maintained years of sobriety experienced a relapse during the pandemic, either because they failed to access online Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or because they strayed away from their programs of addiction recovery. The global pandemic has presented us with a unique set of challenges – but they are challenges that we can certainly overcome with the right tools and support systems in place.
If you experienced a return to old behaviors, or if you have been struggling with substance abuse or mental illness for the first time, we are available to help. Simply give us a call today for more information or to begin your journey of recovery. Please note that as an essential business, Agape Treatment Center has remained open for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Client safety is our top priority, and we closely follow all national protocols.