After a year of dealing with Covid, there is still no sense of normalcy. Many of us are still staying home, Zooming our workdays and kids’ school, and missing our families. We may even find ourselves struggling with fatigue and anxiety more often.
But is this covid anxiety? Quarantine depression? Or, is it a mental health issue that requires therapy? How do you know the difference?
Why Am I Struggling With Fatigue and Anxiety?
Why do I feel so tired and anxious and my neighbor doesn’t? The saying goes, we are all in the same storm, but we all have different boats.
For example, your neighbor may have a spouse, so someones physically there. But, you may live alone, which can lead to quarantine depression. While we are lucky to have video chats and phone calls, they don’t fill the same needs.
Many parents have been forced to play a more active role in their child’s education. Children are home all day, parents trying to work from home, and manage a household, no wonder they are exhausted and feeling “blue.”
Many people lost their jobs because of covid. While nearly two-thirds or 63 percent of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck. But for those who have not returned to work, the financial debt building up can cause anxiety and depression.
But how do you know if it is covid anxiety, covid depression, or a mental health issue?
Catherine Powers-James, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, states, “While it is normal to have frequent thoughts of Covid-19, be mindful of these thoughts become more frequent, or start to impact your daily life.”
Symptoms of Covid Anxiety and Covid Depression
Although symptoms may vary, there are common symptoms to be aware of. Generally, if you aren’t feeling like yourself, it’s probably the “blues” or quarantine depression.
Common symptoms of Covid fatigue and anxiety include:
- Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless
- Feeling restless
- More angry or irritable than normal
- Avoiding friends and family
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Change in appetite
- Not doing things you enjoy
Although we have been restricted on what we can do for fun, adding self-imposed restrictions may signal something more serious.
My Symptoms Come and Go
The “blues” or situational depression is a temporary issue. It will dissipate once the cause of the problem is handled. The “blues” are not a clinical condition and are not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
While the symptoms of Covid depression are similar to clinical depression, the length of time they last are different. Covid depression symptoms are generally mild and short-term. They also typically do not interfere with day-to-day life.
But, with support from friends and family and changes in your lifestyle, your Covid depression is manageable. Furthermore, as more people are vaccinated and life finds a new normal, we will be gathering with friends and family, and Covid depression will fade away.
What If My Symptoms Stick Around?
What if my symptoms are lasting for weeks and are getting worse? This may be a sign it’s more than Covid anxiety and depression. Symptoms that are persistent and increase in severity are hallmark signs of clinical depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Also called a major depressive disorder, depression causes persistent feelings of sadness and a lack of interest. It can lead to various emotional, mental, and physical issues because it affects your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
Symptoms of depression occur almost every day and last most of the day. These symptoms include:
- Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless
- Angry outbursts
- Frustration and irritability
- Loss of pleasure and interest in activities and hobbies
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Lack of energy and fatigue
- Change in eating habits
- Anxiety or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking, and movements
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Trouble focusing and making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Unexplainable physical pain such as headaches and back pain
Those struggling with depression are generally unhappy and miserable but don’t know why. Furthermore, depression can severely affect your day-to-day activities, including work, school, relationships, and social activities.
Covid is Increasing the Risk of Fatigue and Anxiety
When Covid hit, experts knew the risk of social distancing and isolation would affect people’s mental health. However, they only had past disasters and pandemics to base this on. Since then, various studies are proving this to be true.
One CDC report surveyed American adults in late June 2020. It reports that 31 percent of those surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. While 26 percent reported stress-related symptoms, and 13 percent have started or increased their alcohol use.
Covid Anxiety and Covid Depression Can Trick You
When you are struggling with fatigue and anxiety, daily life can be challenging. You wake up, and your mind and body are screaming; stay in bed. But don’t listen!
Does your body say lay on the couch and watch tv? Yes? Then get up and go for a walk. Once you get out in the sun and the breeze, it’s actually kind of nice.
What’s the old saying? Misery loves company. So if you don’t join your mind and body in the depression, it starts to fade away. So, do the opposite of what your body says!
How Does Covid Affect Depression?
Although places are opening up across the country, Covid is still a very significant health problem. The numbers of new infections change every day. Will life ever return to normal?
The loneliness of isolation fuels depression. We, as humans, are social beings. We need the love and close contact of friends and family. However, the ongoing isolation and social distancing are increasing the risk of depression.
A troubled or abusive relationship is worse than loneliness. As humans, we need an average of 4 hugs a day to fulfill our soul. But, we are not all lucky enough to have that. Being in lockdown with an abusive partner is severely damaging to your wellbeing.
Covid anxiety can lead to covid depression. All the uncertainty over the last year has led to an increase in anxiety. Your worries can spin out of control, causing panic and fear. Furthermore, anxiety often leads to depression.
Unhealthy coping skills increase quarantine depression. The first week of lockdown was enjoyable for many of us. Stay in our pj’s, binge-watch tv, and nap when we wanted. However, the financial struggles and added stress of being home all the time often causes people to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
Combat Quarantine Depression, Fatigue and Anxiety
While depression can be challenging to overcome, combating covid anxiety and covid depression only takes a little motivation. Take the first step. You have more control than you think.
Change Your Focus
When you’re home with nothing to do, the negative thoughts can start spinning. You are out of work, away from friends and family, and the electric company still wants to be paid. But, when you recognize the negative thought pattern, there are ways to stop it, including:
- Distract yourself by learning to cook, play the guitar, or take up hiking. Anything that keeps your mind and body busy will help fight off fatigue and anxiety.
- Find the simple pleasures like the smell of a flower, taste a new Indian dish or the sound of a child’s laughter.
- Limit the amount of news you watch. While it’s important to be informed, not all information you hear or read is accurate. This can lead to Covid anxiety.
- Express your gratitude even on your worst days. When struggling with quarantine depression, life can seem hopeless. But, there is always one thing to be thankful for. Maybe it’s the voice of a friend calling to check on you. Or, perhaps it’s the sunset. Gratitude will boost your mood.
Teletherapy for Covid Anxiety and Covid Depression
If you still can’t tell whether you have Covid depression or a mental health issue, you may want to seek help from a therapist or counselor. In the time of Covid, many traditional mood disorder therapies are done virtually.
Teletherapy delivers healthcare through various technologies such as:
- Video conferencing
- Telephone calls
- Text messages
- Mobile apps
Teletherapy is an affordable option as many Americans cannot afford healthcare. Simultaneously, teletherapy has given thousands without access to mental healthcare the ability to get the help they need.
Treatment Options for Quarantine Depression at Discovery Institute
We offer various treatment programs to help you recover from Covid fatigue and anxiety. Maybe you tried teletherapy, but you need a more intense treatment program. At Discovery Institute, we have programs that fit your recovery and personal needs.
- Outpatient treatment allows individuals to attend therapy while still taking care of your family.
- Inpatient treatment provides around-the-clock care in a drug-free environment. Individuals can focus on their recovery without the stress of daily life while receiving support from therapists and others in recovery.
Although each treatment program has a different intensity level, they all treat Covid anxiety and Covid Depression with individual, group, and family therapies.
Contact Discovery Institute Today!
Whether you are struggling with fatigue and anxiety or quarantine depression, we are here to help. Don’t wait for your depression to get worse. Contact us today and find out how you can find joy and happiness again!
Dr. Joseph Ranieri D.O. earned his BS in Pharmacy at Temple University School of Pharmacy in 1981 and His Doctorate Degree in Osteopathic Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine Addiction Certification. Dr. Ranieri has lectured extensively to physicians, nurses, counselors and laypeople about the Disease of Addiction throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 2012.