As we approach one year of dealing with the coronavirus, many people are suffering from “pandemic fatigue” — the feeling of being unmotivated to follow recommended guidelines to protect themselves and others from the virus. Pandemic fatigue can have serious effects on your behavioral health.
Pandemics Can Be Stressful
Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Social distancing can make you feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention*, here are some healthy ways to cope with stress:
- Know what to do if you are sick. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
- Take breaks from watching and reading the news, including social media.
- Take care of your body. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.
- Make time to unwind. Do activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Connect online, by phone or by mail.
Depression: More Than "The Blues"
Depression is a disorder of the brain. There are a variety of causes, including genetic, environmental, psychological and biochemical factors. Anyone can get depressed, and depression can happen at any age and in any type of person.
Depression is not a weakness and you cannot simply “snap out of it.” There are effective treatments for depression, including antidepressants and talk therapy. Most people do best by using both. Many people who experience depression also have other mental health conditions including anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each with unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. Anxiety can manifest itself through both emotional and physical symptoms.
Each type of anxiety disorder has its own treatment plan. Common treatments include:
- Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Medications, including antianxiety medications and antidepressants.
- Complementary health approaches, including stress and relaxation techniques.
Substance Abuse During the Pandemic
Stress during a pandemic can contribute to increased use of alcohol, prescription medications, non-prescription medications and illegal drugs. If you or someone you know is abusing alcohol or other substances during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are a few suggestions that may help:
- Contact your health care provider.
- Take medicine as prescribed and continue your therapy, treatment or support appointments (in person or through telehealth services) when possible.
- Call the National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service (800-662-HELP) to speak with someone about an alcohol or substance use problem.
Anyone can suffer from pandemic fatigue. If the stress of COVID-19 is affecting you, talk to your doctor.
*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an independent organization that provides health information you may find helpful.
Pandemic Fatigue? Protect Your Mental Health During COVID-19