The pandemic has been wreaking havoc on Americans physically and mentally. According to a Household Pulse Survey, 30 percent of adults have had symptoms of depressive disorder, and 36 percent have had symptoms of anxiety. This is a significant jump from 6.6 and 8.2 percent last year.
“Now that we’re moving on for several months, we’re seeing increased levels of stress and we’re seeing increased need for service both in the emergency room and outpatient services,” said Dr. Geoffrey Hopkins, a child and adolescent psychiatry specialist.
These feelings are understandable. People are dealing with so many types of loss, like life, relationships, job, and ways of living. People are also scared of getting sick.
“I think that the COVID-19 pandemic has made people’s natural reserves depleted. We all deal with low mood, anxiety, sometimes even depression. When we’re able to go to work, be social, engage in activities, it helps to buoy our spirits up,” Hopkins said.
With so many Americans dealing with these issues, it’s important to recognize the symptoms for yourself, or for your loved ones.
“Excessive worry, but once you take care of one worry another comes into replace it and you can’t get rid of it,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins also says irritability and easy angering are also symptoms of anxiety, which differs from depression.
“Excessive sadness, loss of interest in activities that are normally pleasurable for you. Feelings of tiredness and exhaustion. Difficult eating, loss of appetite. And sometimes you may have ideas of wanting to hurt yourself,” Hopkins said.
If these feelings are severe, patients can call “211” to speak with a mental health provider. If they aren’t severe, there are things that people can do for themselves to help.
“If you do have friends and family, try to socialize and maintain social distancing while you’re doing it, but reconnect with people. Also being able to re-establish a routine because many of us have had our routines disrupted,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins says that we do all have bad days, but when the periods of sadness last longer than two weeks, it may be time to seek professional help.