‘Collective trauma’: Covid continues to affect the mental health of many patients.coronavirus

eRic Wood, a mental health professional who leads a virtual support group for judges and attorneys in Indiana, saw a screen full of heads nodding in response to what someone said, suggesting this meeting was during Covid. You can know that you are offering some relief to the struggling participants. -19 Pandemic.

Wood, who lives in Indianapolis, shared with his wife, Diane Keller Wood, how her recovery has gradually improved from the severe effects of COVID-19 on her mental and physical health. You can also see if it has been completed.

“This is probably because I was more of a therapist than a husband, but I wanted her to focus on the positive aspects and not see everything through a negative filter. I think.Indiana’s Judges and Attorneys Assistance Program.”And eventually, she started walking home from her doctor’s appointment and said, ‘I think I’m getting better.'”

Still, Keller Wood and legal scholars, like millions of other Americans, have not fully recovered from the mental health challenges associated with the pandemic and the social turmoil that surrounds it over the past two and a half years. Is not.

There are signs that anxiety and depression rates have declined from the spikes seen in the first year of the pandemic, at least among adults in the United States, but they are still higher than pre-Covid, and psychiatrists and therapists is still not enough. .

In short, while the pandemic is no longer headline nightly news, its ramifications remain on the back of the minds of many Americans.

In addition to those who have died from Covid or lost loved ones to the virus, “there are personal stressors that people have to deal with. UC Irvine psychologist Roxanne Cohen-Silver, who has described Off, and the entire pandemic, as a “collective trauma,” said:

In 2019, 11% of adults in the United States reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In January 2021, that number was 41% for her. A year later, it has dropped to 32%, but is still significantly higher than pre-pandemic.

Before the pandemic, the Attorney Assistance Program ran monthly support groups for people struggling with issues like addiction and grief. When much of the country went into lockdown because of the virus, the organization launched Connect Groups, a weekly program to help people tackle the quarantine.

“We have some people in our group who identify as extroverts, and the pandemic has been especially difficult for them,” Wood said. It really changed the feeling of working with them.The dialogue was cut.Everything social was gone from their lives.”

But even when litigators started working face-to-face again, their mental health problems didn’t go away, Wood said. In some cases, it got worse.

“When people started going back into the office, lawyers in particular were starting to fall apart,” Wood said. “In those two years, substance use really got out of hand for a lot of people. Depressive disorders are on the rise, too.”

Still, despite the growing concern and the novelty of virtual meetings, the support groups seemed to work, said Wood. People can now participate from home.

The Connections group “created a unique sense of community,” says Wood. “We had people who came in when the crisis was particularly relevant and stopped coming to the group after things calmed down, and it really met a need.”

As Covid restrictions eased, Wood and his colleagues considered suspending Connections groups or meeting less frequently, but asked participants to keep the same schedule.

After many people stopped worrying about COVID-19, hearing aid worker Diane Keller-Wood contracted the virus in February 2022, but was careful about wearing a mask.

She then developed prolonged COVID-19 symptoms, including difficulty breathing, fatigue, brain fog, loss of balance, and eye twitches.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly one in five U.S. adults with Covid had long-lasting Covid symptoms in June.

Keller Wood has looked at a long list of providers, including ear, nose and throat doctors. a neurologist; a physical therapist; a psychiatrist; and an ophthalmologist.

For about a month, she experienced suicidal thoughts, according to a study conducted at Washington University in St. Louis.

Keller Wood described it as “the worst despair you’ve ever experienced, really for no reason”.

“Unfortunately, people infected with Covid-19 are at a much higher risk of having mental health problems,” says a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Washington who believes the virus and long-term Covid affect people’s mental health. Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, who studies the effects, said.

A psychiatrist prescribed Keller-Wood a mood stabilizer, which “helped me a lot,” she said.

Keller-Wood also connected with members of the Covid Survivor Support Group, who recommended trying the over-the-counter drugs Pepcid and Zyrtec. Studies have shown that these drugs can help with some Covid symptoms. She said they helped ease Keller Wood’s brain fog.

But there are days when words are hard to come up with.

“If my quality of life improves and I see improvements, I think I can stay positive, but I don’t know what my life will look like in 10 years.

Another challenge is the shortage of therapists and psychiatrists. More than a quarter of his U.S. population lives in areas with a shortage of mental health providers, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.

“We have to be creative,” said Al-Aly, to address the growing mental health problem. That could mean that the health care system forms support groups and social workers provide mental health care.

“Governments must do more, and the public must realize this, restore social ties, restore a normal sense of checking each other,” said Al-Aly. said.

Tim Bostwick, an opera singer and PhD Candidate for Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is working on creative solutions for post-traumatic stress disorder.

He had never experienced significant anxiety or depression until he was hospitalized with Covid in the spring of 2021 and developed long Covid symptoms. is no longer possible.

“Since recovering from Cov, I’ve woken up with nightmares almost every night, most of which have taken me back to the hospital,” he said.

However, thanks to medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy, his mental health has improved. And he’s currently working with a service dog organization to train his mini-His Aussiedoodle, Lift.

In public, Bostwick would panic when he saw people not wearing masks. Rift notices a change in his breathing pattern and steps into him.

“It helps me focus on something other than everyone around me who isn’t wearing a mask,” he said. I can’t, but I have to deal with my own psychological issues.”

He is currently preparing to perform for the first time since the pandemic began. He sings on the Chicago Fringe in his opera La His Jute.

“Losing your voice…is like losing an old friend, we’re never the same. We’ll never be the same. We’ll never be back to normal,” he said. “But it’s like reuniting with an old friend.”

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