COVID-19 Stress in Anxiety and Mood Disorders
There is growing evidence of widespread emotional distress in the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, data from China shows that 25% of the general population experiences moderate anxiety-related symptoms in response to COVID-19. Additionally, several studies have reported high levels of fear of infection and increased prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic shows that pandemic-related distress can be discussed in five subcategories under the title of COVID Stress Syndrome: fears of danger and contamination, socioeconomic concerns, xenophobia, symptoms of traumatic stress, seeking control and reassurance .
People with pre-existing mental health conditions may be more susceptible to stressors associated with COVID-19 than the general population, given the increased potential for symptom recurrence and exacerbation due to disruptions in daily routines and mental health services.
Taylor et al reported that COVID Stress Syndrome is associated with premorbid psychopathology ; people with a pre-existing mental health disorder scored significantly higher on the COVID Stress Scales (CSS) total score than those without a mental health disorder. This finding supports previous data that, overall, individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions are more negatively impacted by COVID-19-related stress than those without pre-existing mental health conditions.
People with anxiety-related disorders scored higher on the COVID-19 Stress Scales. In particular, they showed higher scores in the categories of danger and contamination fears, socioeconomic concerns, xenophobia, and traumatic stress symptoms. People with mood disorders , on the other hand, showed higher scores in the categories of traumatic stress symptoms and socioeconomic concerns than those without existing mental disorders.
People with anxiety and mood disorders were more likely to report isolation stress and distress than those without mental disorders.
It can be said that COVID Stress Syndrome is most evident in self-isolated individuals with anxiety-related disorders. It is also possible that fear activation due to extensive media coverage of the pandemic is high in anxiety patients.
To cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to limit one’s exposure to news. However, sometimes even if individuals adopt this coping strategy, they may still be more sensitive to the news, and therefore it is beneficial to seek professional help.
In conclusion; It would be beneficial to reconsider COVID-19-related mental health interventions to meet the specific needs of people with existing mental disorders.
– Asmundson , GJ, Paluszek , MM, Landry , CA, Rachor , GS, McKay , D., & Taylor, S. (2020). Do pre-existing anxiety-related oath mood disorders differentially impact COVID-19 stress responses oath coping ?. Journal of anxiety disorders , 74 , 102271.