COVID-19 Affects Those with Mental Health Conditions Especially Hard

by Lauren Taylor from In The Cloud Copy

As the world continues to watch the effects of COVID-19 sweep around the world, many worry about getting infected. A study from Australia aims to understand the impact of the pandemic on people with mental health disorders.

While the pandemic has caused some heightened anxiety in the general population over various concerns, the effect it is having on those who already have mood disorders is something that deserves attention as well. A study conducted on adults living in Australia highlighted this exact issue.

Those able to participate in the study were adults that were living in Australia during the pandemic. The study is ongoing with plans to complete yearly assessments until 2024. The survey began in April and was open for 72 hours. A new survey was made available at the start of every month for the next 12 months, when annual assessments will then begin. 1,292 adults participated that had a self-reported depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. 3,167 adults with no reported mood disorder participated. At the start of the study, Australia enacted restrictions that included self-isolation orders, meaning residents could not leave their home or place of residence except for essential activities.

Early Study Findings

The concerns that both the general populations and those with a self-reported mood disorder were the same: death of a loved one, overall well-being of society, health of loved ones, and fear of loved one becoming infected with COVID. Those with a self-reported mood disorder next worried about resource availability, isolation, and their own well-being and health. Alternatively, the general population worried more heavily about the economy of their country than those with mood disorders.

Bipolar disorder patients had greater stress and depression levels and greater concern of COVID-19’s financial impact than those with just a depressive disorder. Females with bipolar disorder seemed to be experiencing lower levels of depression than males with bipolar disorder.

Overall, findings suggest that all individuals with mood disorders, but especially males, are experiencing some degree of psychological stress as a result of COVID-19 compared to others in the general population. Health of loved ones, impacts of the pandemic on society and themselves, ability to acquire necessary resources, and financial burdens resulting from the pandemic weighed heavy on the concern list of those with mood disorders.

The study is limited in that the mood disorders were all self-reported and the participants were not surveyed prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine orders.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact not only on the world physically, but mentally and psychologically as well. Providers and clinicians need to remember this when treating patients. Those with mental health disorders, either present prior to the pandemic or as a result of the pandemic, need to reach out to healthcare providers who can assist them through this challenging time.

Learn more about this study here.

Read more on this story here.

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