COVID-19 and The Alarming Spike in Depression

In any given year in the U.S., approximately 8.5% of adults report suffering from depression, according to Medical News Today. This, in and of itself, is of serious concern as depression is widely considered one of the leading causes of disability in America for people ages 15-44. Unfortunately, these statistics only get worse with the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic. The social isolation, high unemployment rates, failing businesses, and uncertainty of life getting back to normal any time soon has taken its toll on men, women, and young people alike. Today, more than 1 in 4 people report being depressed. That’s 3 times the normal average. Hopefully, things will ease up soon, but unfortunately there’s no guarantee.

If you believe you fit into this growing category but are unsure if you’re simply unhappy, low energy, or something more severe, here’s a list of symptoms from Healthline to be on the lookout for:

5 Primary Symptoms of Depression

  1. Hopelessness

The most common symptom of depression is feeling like your life, or life in general, is pointless, hollow, and insignificant, and that there’s nothing you can do about it.

  1. Changes in Appetite and Weight

When people’s appetite and weight are affected by depression, the results can be either gain or loss. Some people lose their appetite and shed pounds while others’ appetites increase as they watch the pounds do the same.

  1. Loss of Interest

When it comes to depression, the things we once thoroughly enjoyed, or at least derived significant pleasure from, can become boring and irrelevant. This pertains to activities such as playing sports, hanging out with friends, attending routinely scheduled events, and even losing one’s sex drive.

  1. Sleep Problems

As with changes in appetite and weight, alterations in sleep habits can go two different ways. Either a person sleeps much more than normal, or insomnia sets in and too little sleep is had. In both cases the end result is usually a feeling of fatigue during the day.

  1. Mood Swings

People suffering from the heavy weight of depression are oftentimes prone to uncontrollable bouts of emotional upheaval and, when this happens, it’s not uncommon for the outburst to seem excessive in relation to its cause. Literally, a glass of spilled milk can send someone into a fit of anger and throwing dishes around the kitchen or collapsing on the floor while bawling as hard as they ever have.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help with Depression

If you feel that you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, and especially if you’re suffering from a cluster of them, please know that it’s okay to seek professional help for depression. In fact, not only is therapy an acceptable option, it’s probably one of the better decisions you’ll make, especially during this COVID crisis. There’s absolutely no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed because you’re having difficulty pulling yourself out of it. Times are especially tough right now and everyone has their limit. Its okay to be human, and sometimes humans turn to others to help them with issues they can’t resolve themselves. It’s perfectly natural. There are forces that are stronger than even the strongest among us.

What’s most important is your wellbeing. Trained counselors can work with you in healthy and constructive ways to begin feeling better, happier, and ever more hopeful. A word of caution, though. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, get help immediately. Dial the number below and explain to the caring person on the other end of the phone what you’re thinking and how your feeling. They’ll help you, and please know that you are worth helping.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: