As the world grapples with the physical toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, there's a growing recognition of its hidden adversary: the mental health repercussions that often linger long after recovery. In this exploration, we look into the profound mental changes that may occur post-COVID-19, the after-effects on mental health, and the concerning issue of depression and anxiety therapy that can persist.
The Mental Changes After COVID-19
The COVID-19 virus, though primarily attacking the respiratory system isn't limited to physical symptoms, it can leave a lasting impact on the mind. The aftermath of COVID-19 bears a considerable mental health burden as well.
1. Anxiety and Depression
A surge in anxiety and depression diagnoses has been noted in the wake of the pandemic. Isolation, health concerns, and the loss of routine have contributed to these conditions.
2. Increased Stress Levels
Even those who haven't contracted the virus may suffer from heightened stress. Worries about health, finances, or the broader state of the world have become common stressors.
Here, we take a deeper look at the mental changes people may experience.
3. Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSD)
For those who've endured severe illness, hospitalization, or the loss of loved ones, the trauma of the experience can lead to symptoms of PTSD. Intrusive memories, nightmares, and heightened anxiety can become frequent companions.
4. Mood Swings and Emotional Turmoil
The stress of isolation, uncertainty, and fear during the pandemic can take a toll on emotional well-being. It's common to encounter mood swings, increased irritability, or a persistent sense of sadness. With the data all over the place, with the efficacy and effectiveness of mask-wearing and boosters, this can take a toll on the mind with uncertainty.
5. Cognitive Difficulties
Frequently referred to as "brain fog," this symptom can include memory issues, difficulty concentrating, and mental fatigue. It can hinder day-to-day functioning and impact work or academic performance.
6. Survivor's Guilt
For those who contracted the virus but recovered, feelings of guilt or remorse may arise. Survivors might grapple with questions about why they survived when others did not. Nothing is worse than losing a loved one, but another direct impact for small business owners is the loss of their livelihood or business. Depending on what state you resided in, the shutdown and cease of “non-essential” operations lasted from 2 weeks in some areas, up to and surpassed 12 months for many in-person businesses. The stress and unknowing of it all caused untold amounts of other mental health issues for the business owners and their families. Relocations, layoffs, 20-30-40 year small business now closed.
Can COVID Cause Long-Term Anxiety and Depression?
The impact of COVID-19 on mental health can extend beyond the acute phase.
Some individuals experience persistent symptoms, including anxiety and depression, long after recovering from the virus. Research is ongoing to understand these long-term effects better.
Factors Influencing Long-Term Mental Health Effects
Several factors can influence whether the mental health effects of COVID-19 become long-term:
a. Severity of Illness
The more severe the illness, the greater the likelihood of long-term mental health impacts.
b. Pre-existing Conditions
Individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions may be more vulnerable to the long-term effects of COVID-19.
c. Access to Support
Having access to mental health support and resources can mitigate the long-term impact of the virus.
Does Post-COVID Anxiety Go Away? : For some, anxiety may dissipate as the immediate threat of the virus recedes. Others may require more extended periods to recover emotionally. Seeking professional help can expedite the healing process.
Why Did I Get Social Anxiety After COVID?
Social anxiety post-COVID may arise from several factors.
1. Isolation Effects
Extended periods of social isolation during lockdowns can lead to apprehension about re-entering social situations. Including re-entering the workforce or at the office, where the majority of us learned to work remotely from home. Some found it more productive and beneficial and having to go back to the office can be a major change after much time working remotely and comfortably. However there are many benefits in being in person at the workplace with other coworkers, but that's for another blog…
2. Health Concerns
Fear of contracting or spreading the virus can make social interactions anxiety-inducing. Also, the silent or at times not silent interaction between those who wore masks, those who had physical or medical issues wearing the mask and couldn't wear it, and those who voluntarily chose to disregard mask-wearing completely.
3. Loss and Grief
The loss of loved ones or witnessing the suffering of others during the pandemic can trigger feelings of grief and social anxiety.
The Role of Resilience
Amid the challenges of the post-COVID mental health landscape, resilience emerges as a vital trait.
Resilience involves the capacity to bounce back from adversity. Individuals can enhance their resilience through:
a. Social Support
Maintaining connections with loved ones can provide crucial emotional support.
Prioritizing self-care, such as exercise, adequate sleep, and mindfulness practices, contributes to resilience.
c. Professional Help
Seeking therapy or counseling can equip individuals with coping strategies to navigate mental health challenges effectively.
The mental health toll of COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the importance of holistic well-being. Understanding the mental changes, acknowledging the after-effects on mental health, and seeking help when needed are crucial steps toward recovery. Remember, you're not alone in navigating this uncharted territory, and there is support available to help you find your way back to mental health and well-being.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health challenges related to COVID-19, reaching out to mental health therapist in summerville can provide the guidance and support needed to overcome these hurdles and find a path toward healing.
- World Health Organization. (2020). "Mental health and COVID-19."
- American Psychological Association. (2020). "The COVID-19 Pandemic and Health Disparities."
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). "Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19."