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To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging experience from a mental health standpoint would be an understatement.

According to an article published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in August 2020, over 5,000 people responded to a survey, and 40.9% said they had “an adverse mental or behavioral health condition.”

There will be long-term effects of this pandemic. But what will those long-term mental health effects be?

Man with head in hands | mental health effects of the pandemic | mental health therapist in columbus | Blue Boat Counseling

Here are some potential mental health issues that will last after the pandemic is over.

Substance Use and the Pandemic

Overall consumption of alcohol has gone up during the pandemic. The same CDC article noted that 13% of survey respondents either began using substances or increased their use of substances. This makes them more susceptible to becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs. But it makes sense why they would turn to substance use.

The pandemic created many unavoidable scenarios that make it difficult for people to cope, including:

Maybe it’s because they want to indulge a little more than usual. Or, they don’t know what else to do. Regardless of the reason, the effects of an addiction can go on for many years. It also complicates other problems, such as pre-existing mental health issues.

Struggling with Depression during the Coronavirus Pandemic

As noted above, the CDC survey reported that many Americans are struggling with depression due to the pandemic. And it will likely continue well after the pandemic is over. Some reasons why someone could be depressed during the pandemic include:

  • Forced isolation due to quarantine protocols and social distancing.
  • Knowing that people you love and care about are sick.
  • Experiencing the loss of someone close to you.
  • Feeling a lack of control.

Additionally, people may have depression symptoms caused by other factors associated with the pandemic. For instance, many people lost their jobs. With that lost income, they may have found it difficult to pay their bills and are now experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.

Man lying in bed | mental health effects of COVID-19 | depression therapist in columbus | Blue Boat Counseling | April 2021

Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Symptoms Due to COVID-19

One aspect of the pandemic that has negatively affected many people is feeling anxious, in general or experiencing symptoms of health anxiety. More specifically, some are experiencing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s common to see hand sanitizer everywhere, and businesses advertise how they keep their facilities clean. Not to mention, frequent hand washing has become the norm.

People who already struggle with OCD may have noticed an increase in symptoms, and for some, these requirements might trigger OCD for the first time. Also, we’ve all been feeling anxious in general during this pandemic.

There have been so many “What,” “When,” and “Can I” questions to answer.

For example:

  • When is it safe to visit the grandkids?
  • Can I go to the gym or a restaurant and feel safe?
  • What will life look like after the pandemic?

People may still struggle with not knowing what the future will hold or with lingering OCD symptoms after the pandemic.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Brought on by the Pandemic

When you consider these issues, they certainly fall into the category of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This pandemic has been a life-altering experience for us all. Our safety, sense of security, and peace of mind have been dramatically affected.

With this in mind, we may see an increase in the number of people who experience PTSD once this pandemic is over. That’s because we have all experienced loss throughout this last year. Whether it’s becoming sick ourselves, losing a family member or friend, or our sense of safety, these all are losses.

How to Overcome Our Collective Loss from COVID-19

There are several ways that we can healthily cope with these losses moving forward:

  • Connecting with friends, family and re-establishing relationships.
  • Participating in groups and activities that build community.
  • Acknowledging our failures and finding ways to honor those losses.
  • Finding hope for the future.

Family on zoom call | COVID-19 and mental health | anxiety therapist in columbus | Blue Boat Counseling | April 2021

Depression and Anxiety Therapist in Columbus

Another essential component for healing will be mental health therapy. Therapy will help put the pieces back together and work to resolve symptoms from issues like depression or anxiety. It will also help you rediscover hope again. Find treatment for anxiety, depression and other mental health issues due to the pandemic at Blue Boat Counseling. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our Columbus therapists. However, if you are struggling right now with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for immediate help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 24-hours a day. There is support for you. You’re not alone.