Coronavirus depression is increasing in the United States, in large part due to COVID-19. according to Recent ReportsHowever, depression symptoms are at least three times higher than they were before the pandemic, suggesting that the emotional cost of living during this time is enormous.
For those who are already prone to depression, this time is more serious.
Al (whose name has been changed for privacy) suffered intermittent bouts of depression for years, but made the decision to give up his medication towards the end of 2019. Then the coronavirus hit, and it was hard to keep his moods from plummeting.
“I have more depressive symptoms than I did a year ago — more negative feelings about my relationship, about friends in general,” he says. “If your imagination runs toward negativity, this horrific scenario only confirms your negative bias about how things are going and how things are.”
Likewise, Michelle was already struggling with relationship struggles and worries about her child’s mental health before the coronavirus outbreak. All the changes brought about by the pandemic exacerbated these stresses, leaving her feeling depressed.
“Everything that I felt was stable in my life was pushed out from under me, and there was nothing left that I felt I could count on,” she says. “My social life disappeared or changed beyond recognition, and I didn’t know what my future job would be either. I felt completely rudderless.”
To some degree, we may all be at risk of developing depression from the coronavirus during the pandemic, says Nancy Liu, a clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
“You will feel frustrated. You will feel a little hopeless or helpless,” she says. “You will not be eager to connect with people and you will withdraw.” We should expect to feel anxious and depressed, as in any kind of disaster.
While we are all prone to feeling down these days, depression is different from normal sadness or anxiety and is more debilitating, says psychologist Shelby Harris, author of the book. A Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia. It continues, unabated, for weeks at a time and results in an inability to function normally.
Trouble sleeping, significant weight loss or gain, inability to get out of bed, lack of motivation or sense of self-worth, not finding any pleasure from daily activities – these are signs that you may be entering a depression.
“If you find that you are having trouble concentrating, concentrating, or doing what you need to do in life because of these issues, consider taking a further assessment,” she says.
Coronavirus depression can also be life-threatening when it becomes a harbinger of suicide. With depression rising in price, it’s important to understand its causes, how to identify it, and the steps we can take to counter it. Here are some of the things we can do until the pandemic is over to look out for each other, manage coronavirus depression and stay healthier.
1. Get professional help
When Michelle began to feel very depressed, she realized that she must be concerned, having experienced suicidal thoughts in the past. After her partner expressed concern, she called the attending physician.
“That was the first step,” she says. “I needed this outlet, to be able to talk to someone who didn’t have to worry about loading up on my depressive thoughts.”
Leo encourages people to turn to treatment in case of depression, as it can be very effective in overcoming mood disorders. But she bemoans the fact that many community clinics are currently overwhelmed, and some people lack the means to access help.
“There’s only so much needed, but not everyone can access a secure Wi-Fi and zoom in for remote treatment,” she says. “I am concerned that only a certain subset of the population is getting the services they need.”