Coronavirus (COVID-19) has contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide and resulted in many other devastating consequences, including lockdowns, social distancing, and a slower global economy. COVID-19 is also having a major impact on mental health as people around the world cope with illness, grief, job loss, and isolation. Scientific evidence published after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic shows that rates of depression, stress, anxiety, and suicide have sky-rocketed thereby putting even more people at risk.

Here’s a closer look at how COVID-19 has affected mental health in the U.S. and around the world, and how these mental health concerns can be addressed using evidence-based therapies at drug rehab and inpatient residential rehab centers.

Depression Rates Have Tripled in the U.S.

Nearly 25% of people in the U.S. are suffering from depression, which is nearly 3 times the number of people who had depression before the COVID-19 pandemic. In a study recently published in JAMA Network Open, researchers conducted a survey to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in over 1,400 people and compared responses with those from an earlier survey conducted in 2018.

Researchers learned that 27.8% of adults reported suffering from depression today versus 8.5% before the pandemic. Rates of mild depression jumped from 16.2% to 24.6%, while rates of severe depression rose from 0.7% to 5.1%. Adults with lower income were found to be 2.4 times more likely to suffer from depression than their higher-income peers.

Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Are Highly Prevalent Worldwide

On a global level, rates of mental health disorders are higher among all populations than before the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent study published in Globalization and Health, researchers performed analysis on rates of mental health disorders during the pandemic using data from more than 9,000 studies.

Though researchers did not mention what the prevalence of mental health disorders was prior to COVID-19, researchers noted that, on a global scale, rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are significantly higher now than before the pandemic at 29.6%, 31.9%, and 33.7%, respectively. The evidence also suggested that COVID-19 may trigger mental health symptoms of psychosis, trauma, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts.

Suicide Rates Are Also Up

Rates of suicide also appear to be on the rise, though researchers say that reports showing the exact numbers and rates are delayed. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that suicide rates in the U.S. have increased over the last 20 years, and that secondary consequences of social distancing during COVID-19 may have further increased the risk of suicide. During late June, an estimated 11% of U.S. adults reported seriously contemplating suicide.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the populations at highest risk for suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic include younger people, the elderly, Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations, those who contracted COVID-19, those with comorbid conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, and those with a history of addiction and substance abuse.

COVID-19’s Impact on Substance Abuse

Stress, depression, and anxiety are all major risk factors for drug and alcohol abuse. The CDC reports that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 13% of adults in the U.S. either started using substances or increased their substance use. Mental health disorders and substance abuse are closely related in that some with mental illness may use drugs and alcohol to relieve their symptoms. In the context of COVID-19, many people have started using drugs and alcohol not only to relieve symptoms of mental illness, but to help pass the time spent in lockdown.

How Drug Rehab Can Help

Drug rehab centers use a combination of medications and behavioral therapies to treat people who need help recovering from both addiction and mental illness. Evidence-based treatments such as medically supervised detox, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and dual diagnosis therapy can help people overcome physical drug dependence and learn vital skills for effectively managing stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live Free Structured Sober Living offers a wide range of evidence-based treatments for addiction and mental illness. Contact us today at 603-505-8365 to learn more about our customizable drug rehab programs.