What Is Post Covid Stress Disorder?
Covid-19 as a virus, as a pandemic and as an unprecedented event has resulted in extreme stress, in a multitude of forms. From the fear of transmission and the financial implications of lockdowns to the risks of long-covid and working on the front line, stress levels are high, as a direct response of coronavirus.
Over recent months, signs, and symptoms of long covid, with a focus on mental health vulnerabilities, have started to show, indicating the ongoing disruption that the pandemic is causing. Through such display, post covid stress disorder has become a regular diagnosis, continuing the effects of covid through everyday life.
Depression, anxiety, panic, paranoia, obsessive behaviours, acute stress, and PTSD are all signs of post covid stress disorder, found as a head-on effect of battling the virus and the consequences that it’s amounted to.
While the recent events of covid have placed an extreme strain on our mental health, treating post covid stress disorder is possible, through professional support and self-help tips. Here’s some insight into ‘what is post covid stress disorder?’, including signs to look out for, along with ways to help yourself through acute stress, linked to the pandemic.
At Step One Recovery, we’re here to guide you, to support you and to facilitate any appropriate treatment for stress disorders. Lockdowns and mental health problems are an indefinite correlation, which although freedom has resumed, it’s important to now focus on restoration and recovery. Reach out to manage post covid stress disorder with recovery in mind from one of our rehab clinics.
What Are The Effects Of Covid-19 Pandemic On Mental Health?
Covid-19 as a whole has caused irreversible effects when considering health, livelihoods, and normality. While freedom, a sense of such normality and recovery from economic and wellbeing standpoints are commencing, the mental health of many is continuing to suffer.
Throughout the early months of the pandemic, prior to the full diagnosis of post covid stress disorder, the rate of suffering through symptoms of depression, anxiety and further psychological changes increased in the UK by 9%. Correlating with the impacts of lockdowns, frontline working exposure, and the changes that such restrictions caused, initial exposure to the world of covid was found to deteriorate mental health.
There are many reasons as to why covid has directly affected mass mental health, leading to post covid stress disorder, including:
- Loss and bereavement
- Job losses and insecurity
- Isolation and the regulations of lockdowns
- Paused plans and disruptions across everyday life, occasions, and connections
- Increased alone time, acting as self-sabotage through negative habits, including substance abuse, leading to dual diagnosis
- Working on the front line
- The worry of the unknown attached to covid
- Financial implications caused by lockdowns
- Scaremongering through the news and publications
- Loneliness and withdrawal from normality
Covid-19 has caused personal suffering which may even deviate from the above, accountable for diminished mental health. For example, experiencing covid itself as a virus has correlated with weakened cognitive functioning, known as long covid, displaying signs of memory loss, brain fog, irritability, and high anxiety.
What Is Post Covid Stress Disorder?
Post covid stress disorder, also recognised as a symptom of long covid, is the direct long-term impact, on the mind, due to experiencing the virus and/or the consequences of its presence.
Classified as a type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a feeling, experience, memory, or stimulus, linked to covid is found to trigger increased stress, standing as acute and possibly episodic.
As the effects of covid have been multidimensional and extremely personal, triggers of post covid stress disorder are different for each individual. Yet are found to expectedly display through life-limiting bouts of stress and the physical and psychological symptoms that it carries.
Research does suggest how an unprecedented, unpredictable, and freak event, such as covid-19, is expected to deter mental health and cause lasting impacts, due to the pressures and changes that pandemics cause. While normal, post covid stress disorder is however difficult to manoeuvre through, found to damage relationships, everyday life, health, livelihoods, and quality of post-covid life; just like many other mental health disorders.
Rehabilitation, treatment, and an aftercare programme will need to be worked through, through common stress disorders, including post covid stress disorder.
Signs Of Post Covid Stress Disorder
Insights into ‘what is post covid stress disorder?’, showcases its similarities to PTSD. Such similarities are displayed through signs and symptoms, mainly impacting mental health and stability. While mental health issues can result in physical concerns, such as dual diagnosis and the impacts that drugs and alcohol have on the body, along with pressures on the cardiovascular system through anxiety and pressure, most are psychological indicators.
- Flashbacks and nightmares of covid
- Engulfing feelings of anxiety and panic
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Feelings of hopelessness, isolation, and withdrawal from a return to normality
- Worried about post-covid life
- Relying on drugs and alcohol as a coping strategy
- Feeling triggered by news stories, by memories or by unfolding of covid-19
- Experiencing negative thoughts
- Feeling on edge
- Displaying signs of social or health anxiety
- Reacting to the pandemic in one way or another, without the ability to move forward
- Suicidal thoughts
- Extreme bouts of stress
- Pre-empting trauma
Signs and symptoms of post covid stress disorder will naturally fluctuate in form and degree from person to person. Yet the inability to shake off stress, linked to covid is definite.
Ways To Help With Mental Health Now We Have Freedom
A link between lockdown and mental health deterioration has been found throughout the phases of the pandemic, worsening through the restrictive months of 2020. As freedom has now been restored, to some degree of normality, mental health has been seen to improve, reducing episodes of post covid stress disorder.
However, naturally, some symptoms will reside, requiring self-help and treatment. Via a drug and alcohol rehab clinic, specialising in mental health recovery, appropriate treatment can be experienced to work through the rehabilitation of post covid stress disorder. This is an effective first step to overcoming the disorder. It’s also highly recommended in the case of a dual diagnosis of a drug and alcohol addiction, offering access to medical detoxification and addiction treatment.
Yet, self-help will be a significant management tool, to improve mental health post-pandemic. Sourcing professional support through therapy, support groups and charities will be encouraged, alongside understanding personal triggers of acute stress.
Maintaining a positive and healthy lifestyle, minimising the risk of such triggers will also be recommended, helping to strengthen relapse prevention. Being aware of post covid stress disorder and how healthy coping strategies of stress management, balance and self-development will be helpful.
Long covid, with a focus on post covid stress disorder, will likely be an ongoing impact of the pandemic. Yet manageable like further stress disorders, souring current support will be encouraged, to revert to a healthy and happy life.
Contact our team at Step One Recovery to access such support from our group of rehab clinics, along with gaining greater insight into ‘what is post covid stress disorder?’ and how to manage it personally.