Home Articles The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health and Substance Abuse


For those who live with symptoms of depression and anxiety, every day brings new challenges. Hopefully, with signs pointing in the right direction, 2021 may be the year the virus vanishes. Worrying about touching things or coming in contact with strangers can lessen. A sneeze will no longer mean getting deathly sick and a handshake and a hug will once again be something you can perform.

Prior to COVID-19, the number of people in the states living with anxiety disorders and depression ranked high as a common form of mental illness worldwide. Today, millions more Americans without a history of mental illness find themselves feeling lost, hopeless, anxious, depressed, and afraid. 

Addicted to Drugs

Healthcare professionals, many of whom are on the front lines, are seeing many COVID-19 patients die without any way to save them. The trauma of these events over a period of several months led some professionals to turn to drugs as a way to cover their feelings.

Unfortunately, once the drugs wear off, the symptoms of anguish, and depression return. What doesn’t leave is their desire to continue to abuse drugs, eventually leading to an addiction. 

Restrictions on Life

It’s truly something unprecedented, living in a time when the entire world shut everything down. In a flash, the freedom you’ve enjoyed for your entire life, to come and go wherever and whenever as you please, is no more. It began as a 2-week lockdown to flatten the curve and is now well into its ninth month. Unfortunately, the number of cases are once again rising, forcing the hands of many governors to roll back openings to protect the population from contracting the virus. While the restrictions are designed to save lives, there is another problem with sheltering in place and isolation.

Many people can’t handle being alone. They need daily interaction with family, friends, and co-workers. As a result, they find it harder each day to get up and remain functional. Despite getting help at a treatment center or through therapy, an addiction relapse is highly possible given the current environment. 

Child Suicide

Teens and tweens are isolated from family and friends. On a positive note, technology gives younger generations a way to conduct face-to-face meetings and chats. While you can’t reach out and actually touch someone, you can see them. Feeling isolated due to schools either partially open or totally shut down, many teens become depressed and develop strong feelings of isolation and separation from their school social life and friends.

Some hold back their feelings, leaving parents clueless and shocked when they attempt to or succeed at taking their life. Others develop behavioral problems, making it difficult for parents to control them.

Help is on the Way

There are several vaccines in the early stages of transport to the states. The first doses will go to healthcare workers and other professionals on the front lines, and to the elderly population in nursing homes. After that, the vaccine will make its way through the entire population, allowing for a slow return to life pre-2020. 

Getting Depression and Anxiety Under Control

Unfortunately, the effects of COVID-19 will linger long after the virus ends. Take it in stride and adopt healthy beneficial habits. Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer after shopping or while you are out and about running errands. It’s also important to stay at home if you feel ill. Going forward, this will help to prevent the spread of the common cold, influenza, and viruses.