The past year has been undeniably stressful with COVID bringing on layers of stress including social, health and economic distress. In the past, times of economic upheaval have been followed by increased rates of mental health problems, suicide, overdose and overall quality of life challenges. Now, as we seemingly re-enter another phase of this pandemic, we’re beginning to see evidence of the impact COVID has had on our collective mental health.
Among the most highly affected groups in terms of mental health during the pandemic are younger people and women, including mothers – which comes as no surprise. Women experienced more significant rates of job loss, were more likely taking on the role of caregiver and teacher during school closures and experienced heightened stress and worry related to COVID.
Also highly concerning is the impact of covid on those with previously diagnosed mental health conditions. System and routine are extremely important to supporting mental health – and during the past year those were disrupted. Treatment, medication regimen and support system routines were all interrupted, if not completely uprooted.
Studies and purchase trends are showing that many people are turning to unhealthy avenues such as drinking, smoking, substance use, gambling, pornography, unhealthy eating, online shopping or other maladaptive habits to cope with stress from the past year.
These unhealthy coping mechanisms are dangerous, especially at a time where we are experiencing heightened levels of stress and lower levels of social interactions with our support system because they can snowball into addictions. And for those who are genetically or environmentally predisposed for mental health disorders such as substance use disorder, these unhealthy habits are even more dangerous.
If you are feeling heightened levels of stress, take note of how you cope with it and ask yourself the following questions:
If the answers worry you, I encourage you to make a change – not only for yourself now, but in the future. The good news is there are plenty of positive, healthy coping mechanisms and skills that you can use to reduce stress and positively impact your life.
A few ideas of healthy coping skills for mental health are:
If you’ve been relying on an unhealthy coping mechanism to get through this unprecedented time of stress, know that you are not alone and there is help out there to support you through it. Our team at Wellbridge has been working with many individuals to identify and heal the traumas the past year has brought, as well as previous habits and traumas that may have led to the point of addiction. We also work with you to create healthy coping skills and habits to handle difficult and triggering situations in the future.
If you are struggling with addiction, contact us today to learn more about our admission process and treatment center.