What are the Psychological Aspects of the Coronavirus Pandemic?
With confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19 cases in more than 200 countries around the world, the coronavirus is a global pandemic.
While most of the world’s focus has been on containing or mitigating the spread of the virus, testing new treatments and developing a vaccine, very little attention has been directed towards the pandemic’s psychological impact.
What impact is the coronavirus having on people psychologically?
Psychiatric Disorders and Clinical Symptoms
While it is too early to quantify, experience from previous disasters suggest the coronavirus pandemic will result in an increased prevalence of psychiatric disorders and clinical symptoms.
Although individual responses vary, in general, the restrictive nature of mitigation efforts—effectively limiting access to life’s staples and structures—has been associated with increased incidences of psychological distress.
In other words, public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus may further the risk of adverse psychological consequences.
Studies have shown that the longer these restrictions continue, the greater the risks.
Feelings of isolation, the spread of misinformation, increased life difficulties and frustrations, all serve to compound mental health concerns and addiction.
Pandemics are Stressful
The coronavirus pandemic may be stressful for people.
Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.
Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.
Stress and anxiety during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following:
- Heightened fears over your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Worry over your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
- Changes in your sleep or eating patterns.
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
- Worsening of chronic health problems.
- Worsening of mental health conditions.
- Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.
Coping with stress and anxiety in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. We can help. Talk with someone confidentially, right now. 855-525-3210.
How you respond to the increased stress and difficulties thrust upon you by COVID-19 can depend on several factors—
- Your age and whether or not you have any underlying health issues.
- If you are caring for family members or loved ones
- Work conditions—frontline employees, first responders and medical personnel, for instance
- Existing mental health conditions
- Substance use disorder or addiction
- Career stresses—loss of employment, schedule changes, reduced income, and etc.
Steps You Can Take to Ease Psychological Consequences
There are steps you can take to help lessen the pandemic’s mental health stressors. Make these steps a priority—
- Know what to do if you are sick or concerned you have COVID-19. Contact your doctor before beginning any self-treatment for suspected COVID-19.
- Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your emotional health. Emotional stability will help you think clearly and react to urgent needs.
- Take care of physical health. Breathe. Eat healthy and well-balanced meals. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoiding excessive alcohol and substance use.
- Make time to unwind. Invest time in activities you enjoy.
- Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with your community and/or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
Don’t Give Coronavirus the Last Word
People with mental health or substance disorders may find their symptoms worsening during the pandemic.
At Honey Lake Clinic, our team of doctors, therapists, and clinicians recognize that holistically treating the whole person—mind, body and spirit—results in the very best chance for you to experience health and happiness through life-transformation.