The Way COVID-19 Changed Mental Health And Addiction
Dayna Smith-Slade ❘
As years pass since the initial outbreak of COVID-19, we are left with increased substance abuse and mental health struggles.
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Everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic on some level. Frontline workers such as nurses and doctors have witnessed increases in poor mental health and poor sleep patterns. The constant struggle of saving thousands of lives while protecting themselves and their family adds stress to the anxiety of the pandemic. Furthermore, thousands of quarantined people face fear as they practice social distancing and safety procedures to ensure their survival.
Essential workers such as people in law enforcement, nurses, and mail clerks, for example, are able to work, but other employees in other fields may not have such luck. Recently, several career fields have been impacted by the Coronavirus, impacting the level of peace and security throughout the world. The first to get affected have been stylists, hospitality workers, and bartenders.
Members in the hospitality industry, such as hotel employees, hostess and hosts of restaurants, bartenders, and servers have directly been impacted by the Coronavirus. One of the first industries to shut down in order to avoid contamination has been the food industry. According to the Oxford Economic Study Data, 7 out of 10 hotels were empty, reducing the hours and demand for hospitality workers nationwide.
An additional $3.5 million in hotel revenue was lost each week due to the lack of demand for rooms. States like Alabama witnessed 82,164 lost hotel jobs this year. California lost 1,104,600 hotel-related jobs, and Illinois lost 292,588 hotel workers. This resulted in 70% of hotel workers being laid off or furloughed, resulting in significantly reduced paychecks. Overall, 2.8 to 3.4 million hotel jobs were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restaurant employees from servers to dishwashers and bartenders are experiencing the frustrations of job loss. Today reported 154,400 New York restaurant employees lost their jobs. Furthermore, restaurant owners have to face debt occurring over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many restaurants have managed to include take out options to stay afloat, while others have shut down.
Job losses have had a deep impact on revenues and the job security of thousands of people, forcing them to spend more time at home, frustrated and possibly anxious or depressed from lack of jobs. Unfortunately, some restaurants may not reopen after the pandemic, causing feelings of hopelessness as their dreams may not become a reality.
Thousands of people, especially hospitality workers, are enduring mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, and compulsive behavior. Some of this is in response for dying loved ones, and furthermore, as well as job scarcity in some fields. An ABC News article referenced anxiety and depression becoming a normal condition amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statistics confirm there are 7 million Americans battling anxiety which will increase after the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of jobs and death of loved ones certainty create difficult emotions for many. Often times in the face of challenging mental and emotional conditions, people can choose to cope in unhealthy manners. The article noted how connections between poor mental health and substance abuse disorders such as alcoholism and drug abuse can become more commonplace depending on the mental health of individuals.
Substance abuse can be complicated and difficult to detect depending on the chemical used. Substances like marijuana can be more subtle, and if someone drinks often but in small amounts, he or she may not seem to be struggling with an alcohol addiction. Some signs of people battling mental health challenges include, but are not limited to:
Despite times being challenging for several people, putting your family’s health first is wise. If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, contact a treatment provider. Rehabs are still accepting patients during this time and can provide mental health services like counseling as well as a safe space to get access to medication for recovery.
Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.