Skip to main content

Post Covid Depression and Anxiety: Mental Health Challenges

Pia VermaakPia Vermaak  July 9, 2024

Did you know that anxiety and depression increased by 25% in the first year of COVID-19? Millions suffered from mental health issues during this time, leading to devastating outcomes. Substance abuse and suicide numbers rose significantly due to stress and isolation. Although lockdowns have been lifted, many still suffer from covid depression today. Let’s take a look at how this condition is linked to the pandemic, different mental health problems, symptoms, and how to treat them!

How is Depression and COVID-19 Linked?

Many focused on the physical effects of COVID-19, but research shows that the COVID-19 virus attaches to receptors in tissue and harms the central nervous system. This can cause severe neurological problems, resulting in covid depression, anxiety, and other disorders. Crazy, right?

Covid depression and other mental health conditions caused by lockdown are primarily due to loneliness, loss of loved ones, and lack of stimulation. These aspects of quarantine have had a devastating effect on thousands of people’s mental states, requiring our attention.

Mental Health Problems Caused by The Pandemic 

depression after covid

COVID-19 has affected the mental health of many worldwide. 

Here are 5 notable mental health problems caused by the pandemic and lockdown:

1. Substance Use Disorder

Those who suffered from substance abuse before COVID-19 felt the devastating effects of lockdown as their addiction seemed to be highlighted at this time. For many people, lockdown is when they feel alone and stressed. For those with addiction, this made things very challenging as it prompted substance abuse. The increase in substance abuse, especially for those living alone, skyrocketed and unfortunately resulted in many deaths.

By taking larger doses or upping their intake to deal with the effects of the pandemic, many fell victim to overdoses, and for those quarantining alone, this proved fatal as no one was able to call for help. Those who were not able to get the substances they wanted either took dangerous alternatives or suffered through withdrawal.

2. Anxiety Disorder

Can you believe that the symptoms of anxiety tripled during COVID-19? The pandemic caused a lot of panic and led to an increase in panic disorders worldwide. Something as small as a toilet paper shortage had everyone in a state. The fear of losing friends and family alongside the possibility of catching the virus resulted in another outbreak: COVID-19 anxiety syndrome.

After the world started to return to normal and the restrictions were lifted, many feared leaving the house and were constantly checking for symptoms.

3. Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions that came out of the pandemic. Many people developed covid depression while in lockdown as they were isolated from loved ones and mourned losses. With little to do, overwhelming loneliness, as well as a sense of cabin fever, depression crept into the minds of millions. To this day, they suffer from this mental health condition.

As mentioned, COVID-19 strains also affect the neurological state via damage to the central nervous system. The effects left behind by COVID-19, such as disabilities and health issues, are the main culprit of people still experiencing covid depression related to the pandemic.

4. Stress Disorder

Stress disorder affected masses of people in lockdown and even afterward. The stress of potentially being infected, having a loved one infected, or not knowing how the future will shape out are a few reasons people develop this condition. Stress disorder can also be closely linked to anxiety disorder but has slight differences.

Mainly, stress disorder does not promote anxiety attacks but instead leaves the individual with heightened and continuous stress. During the pandemic, it’s natural that people’s minds began wondering about the worst outcomes in such a devastating time.

5. Insomnia

Along with many mental health conditions, interrupted sleep schedules are a given. Insomnia became a common issue during the pandemic, and many people still experience this sleep disorder. Strong emotions, especially stress, can affect brain chemicals and scramble our internal clock. With the many concerns and devastation the pandemic caused, people could not easily relax and rest, being in a state of stress.

The Symptoms of Post-COVID Depression and Anxiety

Ready to start feeling better? You’re on the right path. Understanding and identifying symptoms is the first step toward recovery!

depression after covid

Here is a list of common symptoms you should look out for:

  • Little to no interest in hobbies
  • Finding it difficult to do easy tasks
  • Anger outbursts, frustration, or easily agitated
  • Finding it hard to sleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
  • Intense feelings of loneliness
  • Feelings of sadness and frequent crying
  • Little to no energy and fatigue
  • Weight changes, either losing or gaining, are a concern
  • Restlessness and stress
  • Slower movements and speaking
  • Feeling little regard for personal worth and well-being
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Unusual body pains such as backache and headaches
  • Previously effective medication for mental illnesses no longer works

Pre-Existing Mental Health Conditions and Lockdown

The pandemic worsened pre-existing mental health conditions. Routines and activities that helped many escape once were no longer an option. This led to an increase in isolation and even more stress.  Let’s take a look at how to treat these problems post-COVID!

How to Treat and Manage COVID-Related Mental Health Problems

Covid hit everyone, but luckily, there are ways to manage and treat your mental health problems. 

covid and mental health

Tips to get you feeling better in no time:

  • Reach out to loved ones when you feel alone and have a conversation 
  • Get fresh air and enjoy some nature scenes
  • Seek out professional help when things feel too overwhelming 
  • Yoga and breathing exercises can help calm the mind and body
  • Get moving and remember that exercise releases feel-good hormones
  • Try new things and embrace new experiences
  • Keep your mind busy with stimulating and relaxing activities such as reading and other hobbies
  • Write down why you are grateful and happy, or express yourself in a journal
  • Look after yourself by following self-care routines and maintaining hygiene
  • Find helpful resources such as papers from others who feel similar or a support group
  • Keep your body healthy by eating enough and fueling your mind with nutritional foods

Conclusion

The pandemic is known for its physical effects, like breathing issues, fever, fatigue, loss of taste and smell, headaches, dizziness etc. But did you know that it also has mental health effects? This scary sickness took a toll on many and left its mark months after. These issues are as real and impactful as the physical effects. 

Dealing with these mental health issues is not easy, but there are ways to manage them. You can reach out to a loved one, get fresh air, try yoga, exercise, start reading, journal, or eat nutritious foods to manage what you are feeling. Remember that getting help is not a sign of weakness! 


Pia Vermaak

Pia Vermaak 

Pia Vermaak is the owner of the leading digital marketing and content writing company, MotherTyper. Her skill sets include degrees/certificates in beauty, psychology, business, and writing! MotherTyper has writers from all over the world with different races, genders, and backgrounds, ensuring the perfect piece is written, researched, and presented to you!