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Mental health and COVID-19. How is this pandemic affecting us?

      

Mental Health

Statistics on the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of Americans. Some useful ways to help cope with isolation.

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(YorkPedia Editorial):- Los Angeles, Jul 26, 2020 (Issuewire.com) – Covid-19 is taking its toll on millions of Americans and billions of people worldwide. With an estimated 10,000,000 Americans out of work and struggling to put food on the table, people are reporting high levels of emotional distress and trauma. Experts warn that this could be a national mental health crisis. We are social beings, so for many of us social distancing and the cancellation of many events that were integral to our well being, have left us feeling depressed and anxious. We have compiled some data and some useful tips for staying well, happy, and healthy during these difficult times.

A recent poll found that 56% of Americans have reported that worry or stress related to the Covid-19 outbreak has led to at least one negative mental health effect. These negative effects include – over-eating, sleeplessness, drinking too much alcohol or consuming drugs, body aches, and stress headaches, heightened anxiety, domestic abuse, and other mental health problems. Even our frontline health care workers and their families have reported worsened medical health and stress. Over 64% reported worsened mental health, as did 65% of those who had lost income.

A report conducted in May estimates that an additional 75,000 Americans will die from Drug & Alcohol overdoses and suicides as a direct result of the pandemic. See report.

We looked to a recent study conducted by the KFF, a charitable, donation based mental health reporting agency, well trusted for accuracy and transparency. Here are the statistics that they are reporting:

Mental health issues have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Average weekly data for June 2020 found that 36.5% of adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from 11.0% in 2019.

Suicide is one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S. and has increased in almost every state over time. In 2018, the age-adjusted suicide rate was 14.2 per 100,000.  In 2018, there were 48,344 recorded suicides, up from 42,773 in 2014, according to the CDC ‘s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The statistics for 2020 will not become available until mid-late 2021. It will take a year or more to truly understand the impact of this pandemic upon our society. 

Another factor that has been broadly apparent is the isolation that many of us have encountered as a result of Covid-19. Those particularly affected are the elderly and individuals living alone. This can result in depression and unhappiness. There are 28% of American adult households that are now single-person households. For the chronically lonely, the introduction of sudden and mandated separation and isolation is creating trauma. It is estimated that over 40% of these individuals will suffer a form of PTSD as a result of the pandemic.

We have compiled a list of ways to help curb the stress of Covid-19:

  • Keep in contact with people. A zoom call or a call to an old friend you have not spoken to in a while will help to ensure you feel less alone during this time.
  • Do an anonymous good gesture. This may be dropping off a gift of fresh fruit, pre-made meal, or flowers to an elderly neighbor or a neighbor who lives on their own. Several neighborhoods in California were reporting nightly anonymous visits from the wine fairy!
  • Get out and walk. Visit a park you have not been to before. Plan an early morning visit to the lake or the beach with a friend when it is not too busy (social distancing of course). Exercise is an amazing serotonin booster. It is important to schedule a time for yoga, stretching, and walking/biking/running every day. There is a multitude of free online classes you can take from the comfort of your home.
  • Take up a new hobby. Whether it is learning a new online trade (think Adobe software, computer programming, stock trading). Or even better, skip the laptop and pick up a brush or a pencil. Art is a wonderful form of expression and can consume many happy and stress-free hours.
  • Turn off the TV and listen to music. Try a genre that you do not usually listen to. Classical music can be very calming and positive.
  • Create a zen garden. No matter the size and space you have available you can create a peaceful and harmonious area that will help you to stay positive. Herb gardens are a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals and they are a delicious addition to a fresh and healthy salad.
  • Read! Pick up a book and allow yourself to be consumed in another world. Check out the New York Times bestseller list or the Booker Prize. Many books are available for a fraction of the price as downloads.
  • Incorporate some good supplements. A CBD tincture can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help you to get a better night’s sleep.

 

We have compiled a list of things to do in moderation:

  • Moderate tv exposure. Try to restrict binge-watching. Set a reasonable limit per day and stick to it. Set a timer if you need to.
  • Reduce the amount of screen exposure per day. Try to get at least one hour of screen-free time prior to sleep. This will help you to fall asleep more quickly and get a better more restful night’s sleep.
  • Eat less junk food. Being stuck at home can often lead to bad eating habits. Food is fuel and when we eat a bad diet our brain, hormones, and moods are impacted negatively.
  • Limit alcohol to a glass or two of red wine per day. Consuming spirits and seemingly more healthy soda-based drink mixers can be negative especially if they contain malt liquor.
  • Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. Bring our bodies into balance within our circadian rhythm allows our bodies to more effectively create and balance our hormones.

    ‘The circadian cycle is controlled by a region of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which is the master centre for integrating rhythmic information and establishing sleep patterns. A part of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) receives signals about light and dark from the retina of the eye. Upon activation by light, special photoreceptor cells in the retina transmit signals to the SCN via neurons of the retinohypothalamic tract. The signals are further transmitted to the pineal gland, a small cone-shaped structure that is attached to the posterior end (behind the hypothalamus) of the third cerebral ventricle and that is responsible for the production of a hormone called melatonin. Cyclical fluctuations of melatonin are vital for maintaining a normal circadian rhythm. When the retina detects light, melatonin production is inhibited and wakefulness ensues; light wavelength (colour) and intensity are important factors affecting the extent to which melatonin production is inhibited. In contrast, in response to darkness, melatonin production is increased, and the body begins to prepare for sleep. Sleep-inducing reactions, such as decreases in body temperature and blood pressure, are generated when melatonin binds to receptors in the SCN.’ Encyclopedia Britannica.

We are all doing our best to get through these trying times. Being there for one another and creating a feeling of usefulness is key to staying positive and happy. Choose a couple of things on this list and incorporate them into your daily routine. Stay focused and mindful. There are many online support groups to help if you are feeling isolated and alone.

OC Wellness Solutions provides a range of health supplements and up to date information to help individuals during these trying times. We are located in Orange County, California, and have been operational since March 2018. We regularly donate to Wounded Warriors and to the National Alliance for Mental Illness.

Written by: Sarah Rutherford
Ph: (714) 477-4195
https://ocwellnesssolutions.com/

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This article was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.


      

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