Since COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation on March 11th 2020, more than 150 million cases have been confirmed worldwide.Although the physical ramifications of COVID-19 are undeniable, with one in twenty people thought to be suffering from long COVID, many health professionals are now turning their thoughts to the psychological repercussions of COVID-19.
Due to increased fear, isolation and loneliness, 56% of adults in the United Kingdom have come to experience anxiety. Likewise, one in five adults are believed to experience depression as a result of the pandemic.
In addition to an increase in the number of adults struggling with depression and anxiety, many are also thought to be living with post-pandemic stress disorder.
While post-pandemic stress disorder is yet to be considered as a formal diagnosis, research has determined that post-pandemic stress disorder, or post-COVID stress disorder as it is otherwise known, currently impacts at least 16.8% of people that have been either directly or indirectly exposed to COVID-19.
In this blog, we explore post-pandemic stress disorder and what you need to know.
We also share the signs and symptoms related to post-pandemic stress disorder and information regarding the help and treatment that is available.
What Is Post Pandemic Stress Disorder?
As touched on above, post-pandemic stress disorder is yet to be recognised as a formal diagnosis. However, much research has determined that post-pandemic stress disorder is somewhat common.
Defined as a disorder linked to the traumatic impact of the pandemic, post-pandemic stress disorder is typically encountered when an individual experiences several traumas such as intense treatment for COVID-19, prolonged periods of illness, long-COVID and seeing a loved one suffer from the disease.
Who Is At Risk Of Encountering Post Pandemic Stress Disorder?
Research conducted by the European Respiratory Journal has determined that at least 11% of individuals that required treatment for COVID-19 experience post-pandemic stress disorder.
Contributing to this, studies completed to examine the repercussions of long-COVID have found that individuals struggling with long-COVID are at greater risk of simultaneously suffering from post-pandemic stress disorder.
It should also be noted that just as post-traumatic stress disorder can impact an individual who has experienced or witnessed someone experience a traumatic event, post-pandemic stress disorder can too.
How Does Post Pandemic Stress Disorder Impact Those Struggling?
Post pandemic stress disorder is believed to impair the lives of those struggling in many different ways. However, due to the very nature of post-pandemic stress disorder, many of the repercussions are thought to be psychological.
The psychological ramifications of post-pandemic stress disorder have seen individuals across the world become incredibly fearful of contracting COVID-19 in the near or far future. Many also experience anxiety when considering whether someone they love is at risk of contracting COVID-19. This has sadly seen many develop health anxiety.
Although health anxiety is a somewhat recent concept, the pandemic has seen a surge in the number of people reporting that they experience symptoms associated with health anxiety due to fearing contracting or having COVID-19.
Unfortunately, health anxiety often comes hand-in-hand with obsessive-compulsive disorders, as those impacted will constantly worry about any symptoms they may encounter that could be associated with COVID-19. To manage these worries, they will seek constant reassurance from others, such as health professionals.
In addition to the above, as COVID-19 has left many feeling extremely uncertain when considering their career and financial security, post-pandemic stress disorder has undeniably seen the number of people struggling with insomnia increase due to fearing the short and long-term effects that the pandemic will have on society.
Individuals that have received treatment for COVID-19 and are now in recovery are also impacted by post-pandemic stress disorder. In addition to fearing contracting the disease again, those that struggle with long-COVID find themselves extremely anxious when considering the ramifications that COVID-19 has had on their physical health.
Regrettably, post-pandemic stress disorder has also been linked to an increase in the number of people contemplating and committing suicide. Research also shows that post-pandemic stress disorder has seen a surge in the number of people developing substance addictions in a bid to alleviate symptoms associated with the stress disorder.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms Associated With Post Pandemic Stress Disorder?
To help you ascertain whether post-pandemic stress disorder is impairing your life, we have outlined a number of the psychological symptoms you are likely to encounter below.
- Intense mood swings
- Increased fears
- Isolation from others
If you experience any of the symptoms noted above, you must consider securing treatment for post-pandemic stress disorder.
When left untreated, post-pandemic stress disorder can lead to a number of other mental health disorders. As noted above, left untreated, post-pandemic stress disorder can also give rise to substance abuse and addictions.
What Help Is Available For Those Struggling with Post Pandemic Stress Disorder?
Although post-pandemic stress disorder is yet to be recognised as a mental health disorder, there is a wealth of treatment available for those suffering.
Although the treatment provided will entirely depend on the psychological impact post-pandemic stress disorder has so far had, should you seek treatment, you will likely encounter psychological and well-being therapy.
Combined, psychological and well-being therapies will provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your post-pandemic stress disorder and learn how to manage the disorder more effectively. In turn, symptoms will gradually alleviate, offering you the chance to live a happy and healthy life.
Do I Have Post Pandemic Stress Disorder?
If you are still unsure whether you are struggling with post-pandemic stress disorder we have created an assessment quiz, to help guide you towards the possibility.
The quiz is for general guidance and is not a diagnostic tool, contact us for professional support.
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