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If you suspect you are struggling with mental health issues during COVID-19, you are not alone.
Never before have we dealt with such crazy times. Our lives have been turned upside down for over a year due to COVID-19. In the wake of this global event many now struggle with mental health issues. This comes as no surprise, as we have all been through the ringer. Life has been uncertain and unstable, and that has taken a toll.
Mental health professionals are looking into this problem. They are able to make some clear statements now, after a year, about how COVID-19 has caused so much distress. Our homes have been our refuge, but being isolated has been very hard on us. Now, as the numbers mount, we can see just how hard it has been.
After much study, it is clear that the root problem is something called adjustment disorder. This refers to the hardship caused by so much strife and stress, and our problem adjusting to the new reality. Let’s delve into this now rampant mental health condition.
What is Adjustment Disorder?
Sometimes when someone has had a stressful major life event they can find themselves unable to function at their normal level. The stress of the event, and the mood issues that follow, can cause you to be impaired. You may be unable to perform basic daily routine tasks as a result of the trauma. You simply cannot adjust to the new reality.
In normal times, stressors that might result in an adjustment disorder might include the death of a loved one, an illness, moving, divorce, or a major injury. During Covid the entire year has been one huge stressor.
Not only fear of the unseen virus, but also fear of losing a job—or the loss of a job. Many are dealing with the death by Covid of someone you know. Others are alone and feeling isolated. More than any other stressor, though, is not knowing what is coming next, the uncertainty about the future. All of this eats away at us daily, leaving us afraid and tense. Those that are impaired by all the stress have what is known as an “adjustment disorder” (AD).
This mental health problem impacts all walks of life. Healthcare and mental health staff and food and grocery workers at risk of catching the virus, are especially hit hard. But any person who has had a hard time adjusting to all things Covid can be at risk.
AD pertains to these criteria:
- Their symptoms are not part of another mental health disorder.
- They have higher levels of stress that is normal for going through a stressful event.
- Their symptoms emerge within 3 months of the stressful event.
Now the mental health field is trying to normalize this all too common response to Covid stress. This is so that people who suffer from AD will not feel odd for struggling. They will know that many, many people are feeling just like they are.
Types of Adjustment Disorder
There is acute AD, and there is chronic AD. Acute AD is when symptoms resolve within six months after the stress is resolved. Chronic AD is when symptoms last more than six months.
There are some different types of AD, including:
- AD with depressed mood
- AD with anxiety
- AD with both depressed mood and anxiety
- AD with disturbance conduct
- AD with mixed mood and conduct
6 Tips for Working Through a Covid Adjustment Disorder
AD is treated with therapy and medication. There are also several things you can do to enhance treatment results and improve overall quality of life. Here are 6 ways to manage your Covid AD:
1. Get some sun.
Getting outdoors in the sunlight can really help boost your mood. Not only because of the fresh air, but because sunlight can increase vitamin D levels. Nature helps improve our mood and our health at the same time.
2. Set a sleep schedule.
It helps to maintain a normal daily sleep routine, as this helps ensure better sleep quality. When we are rested our moods are better, we think more clearly, and function better over all.
3. Be social.
With lockdowns and social distance mandates our social selves have really suffered. Now that things are getting better it’s time to reconnect with people. Join some meet-up groups, meet some friends for a hike, or start a walking club. Just get out and mingle.
4. Get fit.
Many of us have let our bodies get soft during Covid, so now is the time to make new goals. Fitness comes in all kinds of forms, so pick a few activities you will stick with. The secret is to be committed to your workouts and push through even when you don’t feel like working out.
5. Be grateful.
Our frame of mind can have a strong impact on mental health. By noting all the blessings in your life, and even writing these down in a journal, can make you joyful. So, go ahead and bring to mind all the good things in your life to be grateful for.
6. Be productive.
Nothing lifts your spirits more than meeting your goals. Decide on a few projects and set some new goals, and then follow through and make them happen. You will look back and feel very proud of yourself for accomplishing something, even during the Covid era.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if we all had a touch of AD after what we have been through. But with some treatment and self care, it is possible to rise above Covid and begin life anew.
The Treatment Specialist is an Online Hub for Mental Health Information
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options for adults, teens, and families. Reach out to our team with questions about COVID related adjustment disorder at (866) 644-7911.