Anxiety, Depression, and Drinking in the Age of COVID
Ever since the declaration of the COVID pandemic back in early 2020, we have all been affected in a variety of ways.
People have lost their jobs, small businesses have shut down, tourism has taken a massive hit worldwide, and many have seen a decline in their mental health.
As a crutch to deal with personal issues, people have started resorting to drinking to help alleviate their symptoms but have developed bad drinking habits and even dependency on substances as a coping mechanism.
Let us look at how COVID has negatively impacted the populace at large.
Anxiety and Depression Rates Due to COVID Have Peaked
It takes a mental toll not being able to see members of your family and became apparent pretty soon following the implementation of strict lockdowns in various countries worldwide.
Due to serious medical conditions, family members admitted to hospitals have passed away alone because of the strict rules against visits.
Such measures have also invited in open hostility from various groups that have emerged, such as those who refuse to be vaccinated and wear masks, arguing that governments have embraced authoritarianism by controlling civil liberties and making existence difficult for everyone.
Unable to engage in meaningful social interactions, many have noticed an increase in their symptoms of anxiety and depression.
COVID 19 has created a state of mass confusion and panic around the globe, and people have lost faith in the government, blamed science for its limitations, and succumbed to ill feelings about the prolonged house arrest.
The uncertainty due to COVID is the major reason people have suffered so much.
Rising infection rates and mortality rates are constantly being broadcasted on the news, and people are left bracing for what might come next.
We are still unsure how long it will last, the long-term consequences of such a dramatic change in our lifestyles, and we have internalized a sense of incoming catastrophe that can quickly spiral into overwhelming panic and despair.
These reasons contribute to the emergence of mental health issues like anxiety and depression and have aggravated these preexisting issues in others who have even resorted to taking their lives.
Regardless of how you feel about the situation, we cannot deny that it has been a complete mess, and people have become alienated from one another.
Alcohol Has Become a Major Crutch
Drinking has become a means to cope with personal issues.
In states of intoxication, our nervous system slows down. We become temporarily disconnected from reality and therefore free of the constant stress that’s become the new normal in the last couple of years.
Instead of facing our issues head-on or joining alcohol treatment programs, many have succumbed to the dependency on alcohol to drink away their worries and fears.
Being constantly under the influence has damaged personal relationships and contributed to feelings of anger and other irresponsible tendencies such as self-sabotage and self-destructive behaviors.
Alcohol addiction has made it easy for people to find a way to drown their sorrows using a quick fix without developing the necessary coping mechanisms to deal with their issues.
Many have developed an alcohol addiction, while others have backslid and reverted to their old and destructive habits.
Since people develop a tolerance to substances, they require more and more to achieve the same effect.
This creates a vicious cycle of constantly chasing the next high and has also resulted in serious conditions such as insomnia, tremors, and alcohol withdrawals.
Anxiety Disorders and Depression
Depression is thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is why there are a host of medications available for treatment, such as SSRIs, SNRIs, and TCAs.
While effective, to accelerate the healing process, people must resume their daily lives to regain a sense of normalcy. This has been stripped away by COVID, increasing depressive symptoms such as isolation, suicidal ideation, sleep disturbances, and loss of interest in daily life activities.
People suffering from social anxiety disorders have retreated into their shells and suffered from a lack of human interaction. They have fallen into vicious patterns of self-blame, loneliness, and despair.
Drinking, again, helps people deal with such issues. Still, the consequences of using alcohol as a crutch have only provided a temporary solution and had other dangerous side effects like dependency.
COVID 19 has created mass confusion and panic and affected people’s lives negatively to the point where they’ve developed anxiety and depression, or in the case of preexisting conditions, aggravated their condition immensely.
The Sands Treatment Center has a variety of alcohol treatment programs and should be supported in their attempts to help those in need.
We must strive to be kind to others and offer support wherever possible because it is hard to know who’s going through what problems in their lives.