On May 2nd 2020, the U.K. newspaper The Guardian published an article titled ‘Britons will suffer health problems from Covid-19 for years, warn doctors’. They reported that post-traumatic stress disorder, organ damage and other psychological effects will be felt for years to come as a result of economic desolation, individual isolation, sickness and stress related to these unprecedented times.
But Great Britain isn’t the only country who will feel these side effects of COVID-19 for years to come. Across America, 20.5 million people lost their job in April alone. As reported by The New York Times, this is ‘the worst devastation since The Great Depression’.
COVID-19 has changed the way each and every one of us live. While we’re rallying together to pull through this trying time, the true side effects of COVID-19 are yet to be felt.
Here are some of the long-term side effects to expect from COVID-19.
1. A rise in severe depression and suicide
According to analysis by The Wellbeing Group, as many as 75,000 Americans are at risk from overdose and suicide as a direct result of COVID-19. As the number of unemployed continues to climb and the pandemic widens to affect more people, the group believe that there will be a significant rise in ‘deaths of despair’ as the mounting stress, isolation and economic pressures weigh on people.
For us here at Tikvah Lake Recovery, these numbers are concerning, especially since we’re yet to see any state or federal action taken to mitigate against this. The best chance we have right now, then, is to help. We must help each other through this tough time, and we must provide a shoulder of support whenever we can. After all, no person is an island and we’re all facing this pandemic together.
If you are concerned about a loved one, consider seeking professional help as soon as possible, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline here.
2. Emotional and physical burnout
Compassion fatigue is a real and concerning thing. In short, compassion fatigue means burning out because you have remained in a state of tension, stress and preoccupation with another person’s emotional state.
During this time, people need people. And while this sense of community is vital to our success against the pandemic, it’s important to remember that in order to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself.
‘Throwing yourself under the bus’, so to speak, to help someone else out will only result in your mental health concerns later on. Be sure to remain balanced and mentally healthy yourself. Only then can you help others.
3. Executive burnout
Whoever you are, burnout is probably your biggest fight right now. If you’re working from home, chances are you’re trying to over-deliver on projects to retain your sense of value and avoid getting fired. If you’re an executive, you’re likely working overtime (more so than you ever have before) in order to differentiate your business and keep it afloat.
While working too hard might be a necessary sacrifice to be made right now, it’s critical to your long-term success that you continue to manage your work-life balance. This is especially the case if you’re currently working from home, and the lines of ‘on’ and ‘off’ have been blurred.
4. Post-traumatic stress disorder
Many frontline workers will likely suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after COVID-19. Not only is the vulnerability of contacting a life-threatening illness in your everyday environment stressful (or the idea of spreading this to others), it’s extremely traumatic to witness death on a daily basis.
PTSD is characterized by four types of symptoms:
- Re-experiencing trauma through memory, flashbacks and nightmares
- Avoidance of places, people and activities that remind us of the trauma
- Negative changes in thoughts and emotions associated with trauma
- Increased feelings of anger, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, irritability and other signs of stress.
If you begin to notice these symptoms in yourself or your loved ones as a result of the pandemic, it might be time to intervene and seek professional help.
Seeking coping strategies for COVID-19
During the height of this pandemic, the best thing you can do is remain vigilant of your own responses. Are you feeling overly stressed, unhappy or anxious? If so, what can you do for yourself to try and counter these feelings?
In some cases, holistic wellness practices like more yoga, meditation, exercise and a balanced diet might be all that’s required to help you maintain a happy state of mind. In other cases, it might be turning to family members for support and guidance.
In some extreme cases, though, you might feel yourself struggling more than you realise, and if you’re prone to relapse or you know you have an addictive personality, this could be enough of a sign that you need to find professional help.
To find out how Tikvah Lake Recovery can help you during this time, contact our admissions office today.