Is Clinical Depression Rising Because of COVID-19?
Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit our shores, clinical depression is a common condition affecting millions of Americans. Around one out of five adults struggle with symptoms of depression. Clinical depression is a serious disorder that affects how you think, feel, and even handle daily activities like working, eating, and sleeping. To be diagnosed with clinical depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
Coronavirus Pandemic and Clinical Depression
If you have experienced any of the following symptoms or signs for most of the day, nearly every day, you may be suffering from clinical depression. These signs and symptoms include:
A persistent empty, sad, and anxious mood
Feeling hopeless and pessimistic
Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
Decrease in energy
Feelings of restlessness
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
Thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts
Physical distress like headaches, pains, and digestive problems
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
The prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder was approximately three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%), and prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (24.3% versus 6.5%).
This is a very distressing and uncertain time in our lives, and living in the age of Covid-19 can have a profound effect on mental health. The Covid-19 pandemic seems to be a perfect storm for increasing clinical depression among our citizens. There are many contributing factors that lead to more depression among Americans including:
Isolation fuels depression: Humans are social creatures and being cut off from support, contact, and love from your family and friends is the ultimate trigger for depression. Months of social distancing and minimal contact leaves someone feeling lonely and isolated, no matter how strong you are.
Anxiety can easily lead to depression: With all the uncertainty and fear surrounding the Covid-19, it is more than natural to worry about your life and the future. When those worries begin to spiral out of control, it causes anxiety and panic. It is said that anxiety and depression often co-exist, so one can lead to the other.
Stress levels are rising: Things such as major changes in your life like loss of a job, death of a loved one, diagnosis of serious illness, financial troubles, and strained relationships all can cause an overwhelming amount of stress. Experiencing several of these stressors at one time can make you much more vulnerable to experience depression.
We are using unhealthy ways of coping: The loneliness and stress of being locked down can cause people to find unhealthy ways to cope. During this time, people are coping by drinking too much, drug abuse, and overeating on unhealthy foods to find ways to self-medicate. While these methods may bring brief relief, they will make depression symptoms much worse in the long run. Instead, try finding healthy ways to cope.
There is no easy way to go about coping with clinical depression. Especially now, finding the energy to motivate yourself can be very tough. But you have more control over your mood than you think. The easiest way is to find simple sources of joy for you. Listen to uplifting music, take a walk or hike, or watch funny videos. These can all be easy ways to put a smile on your face. You can also try finding ways to fill up your time with positive things like finding new hobbies or finding something that brings some meaning to your life. For example, you can take up cooking or painting.
Get Help for Symptoms of Depression During COVID-19
If you still need more help to treat your clinical depression, the Counseling Center for Growth and Recovery, we offer a solution-motivated approach where we can explore, in a safe way, your challenges in life. Dealing with clinical depression due to Covid-19 is not an easy challenge to face. Luckily, you do not have to face it on your own. We are ready to help you or a loved one overcome the pains and struggles in your life every step of the way. Now is the time to get the help you need. Let us help you do it.