We all recognize that there has been a lot of stress and trauma in the year 2020 due to the COVID-19 virus creating a fallout with many consequences that we all have been dealing with. Some of the effects are intuitive and predictable such as anxiety, fear and depression.
However according to a study performed by the American Psychological Association as reported by Erika Edward at NBC News there are many other significant effects that are now being discovered. Here are some excerpts from that article about the research.
The APA’s “Stress in America” report, published Thursday, provides a stunning example of how mental health directly impacts physical health. It comes exactly one year after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.
“We’ve gone through a collective trauma,” said Arthur C. Evans, chief executive officer and executive vice president of the APA….
The resulting stress, the report found, is showing up in drastic weight changes and increased alcohol use….
“I’m not surprised,” said Kara Caruthers, an associate professor in the physician assistant program at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine in Memphis.
Caruthers explained that when the body feels stress, a cascade of physiological changes takes place. The body releases a hormone called cortisol, which increases insulin levels in order to maintain normal blood sugar. Higher insulin levels increase fat deposits along the waistline….
The report also found that a growing number of adults have turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. Nearly 25 percent of survey respondents cited pandemic stress for drinking more than usual.
But that percentage more than doubled to 52 percent among parents with children in early elementary school — a “stunning” finding, said Scott Bea, a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic….
Parents with young children at home for remote learning have been particularly impacted, with 60 percent reporting their stress has increased. Three-quarters of parents said they craved more emotional support.
This extensive study has given us evidence that there is a significant amount of stress that has impacted our society in diverse and significant ways. Often, I find individuals are attempting to figure out why certain things have happened and why they are feeling the way they do post-COVID-19. It is helpful to know that others have been quietly struggling as well and that we all may be experiencing these symptoms and attempting to cope in different ways.
This research is somewhat comforting because we now have some baseline data to help us figure out what works for each of us as we strive to recover from this past year. We still have a bit of time left in facing this pandemic so please be patient with yourself, your family and those you encounter.