COVID-19 has led to an increase in stress, hand sanitizer production, and unfortunately, mental health disorders, specifically PTSD.
Epidemiological studies have seen this pattern before. First comes the physical disease, next comes PTSD. During the Ebola outbreak in Libera, 76% of survivors endured PTSD symptoms three years later.
So, what is PTSD, and how is it affected by COVID-19? Let’s explore.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a psychological disorder that is triggered by trauma. After a person experiences or witnesses a distressing event, they have trouble adjusting to normal life.
Sources of PTSD include:
- Serving in a war
- Long-term health problems
- Losing a loved one
- Natural disasters
Most recently, COVID-19 has been added to the list of traumatic experiences that can lead to PTSD.
In most cases, PTSD symptoms show up within one month of the traumatic experience, although they can appear at any time. PTSD symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to think, sleep, and function.
PTSD patients may experience distressing memories, lucid nightmares, and vivid flashbacks. They may avoid places, things, and people who remind them of their trauma. Patients often experience memory problems, lack of interest in activities, numbness, and detachment.
A person may also exhibit behavioral symptoms of PTSD. A patient can have aggressive outbursts, indulge in destructive behaviors, constantly feel tense, and be easily startled.
PTSD treatment includes a combination of therapy and medication.
Therapy for treating PTSD aims to restore a person’s self-esteem and teach patients how to deal with their past trauma healthily. Some patients undergo individual therapy, while others partake in group or family counseling sessions.
PTSD medication aims to balance chemicals in the brain. For patients with PTSD, neurotransmitters signal a “fight or flight” response too often, which results in jumpy behaviors. SSRI and SNRI medications balance brain chemistry to decrease fear and anxiety.
The Link Between PTSD and COVID-19
COVID-19 has caused intense physical trauma that has triggered PTSD in many people. Whether you are on the front lines, or just trying to stay home, COVID-19 has caused an overwhelming amount of stress for Americans.
Navigating Life During a Pandemic
Recovering from a disease with no known cure is stressful. It takes a physical and mental toll on a person’s body, which is the perfect recipe for PTSD.
While not everyone contracts COVID-19, trying to navigate life during an international pandemic is anxiety-provoking. People are on-edge and unsure of what they should and should not do.
Plus, it’s not comforting that throughout the pandemic, less than 15% of ICU beds were available for patients who require more intensive care.
In addition to feeling fearful about contracting COVID-19, people are also facing overwhelming stress as the world deals with the aftermath of COVID-induced shutdowns.
People are out of work or on reduced hours. Business owners are unsure if they can recover. The financial burdens caused by COVID-19 are causing sleepiness nights and leading to an increase in PTSD cases.
Losing Loved Ones
Those who lost a loved one from COVID are having a hard time recovering.
Due to the severity of the disease, many people are unable to be by their loved one’s side during their final moments. Losing someone unexpectedly is distressful and can trigger PTSD symptoms.
Counseling Services for Those Who Need Them
While the world is starting to recover from COVID-19, PTSD cases are increasing.
PTSD is a debilitating psychological disorder that can be triggered by COVID-19. If you or a loved one is experiencing PTSD symptoms, help is available.
Contact us to learn more about our services and how our qualified team of professionals can help.