Two months from the publishing of this article will mark the second year of the pandemic. During this time period, many of us have felt the sting of separation from our families. Every day we live in a state of anxiety and uncertainty about the state of our world and our health. Millions of Americans have been touched by COVID-19, experiencing the loss of loved ones to this terrible disease. The pandemic has shown us all sides of humanity, including how communities can come together in times of strife. However, it has also had a significant impact on the mental health of those living through it.
Staying Healthy In Isolation and Avoiding Pandemic Trauma
It’s essential to remember that no two people respond to the stressors of our modern world the same way. Our jobs, our families, and our own personalities can have a significant impact on how our mental health holds up. Due to the loss, isolation, and constant stress, it’s inevitable that many Americans will come out of the pandemic with a form of PTSD. Thankfully many will eventually heal when things begin to return to something resembling normal. Others, however, will find that the traumatic event that is the pandemic will stick with them.
Some symptoms of persistent PTSD are:
- Reliving the traumatic experience
- Event-triggered avoidance and anxiety
- Heightened emotional responses and becoming easily upset
These symptoms can occur at any time, often without a recognizable trigger. However, they can occur more frequently in cases where a triggering event happens. During an episode, those with PTSD may find it difficult to manage their emotions and may have difficulty properly navigating a situation.
While there is no cure for PTSD, it’s entirely possible to provide effective treatment. There are a variety of therapeutic approaches that can be taken to manage the symptoms of PTSD. The most common forms of treatment used include:
- Cognitive Processing Therapy – This involves analyzing your beliefs about the source event and determining if they are founded in truth. While the initiating event may have been traumatic and painful, it’s essential to know that it isn’t happening again. CPT helps patients reorient themselves in the present.
- Exposure Therapy – It’s likely that many of us will be hesitant about going into a public place following the pandemic. For some, this can turn into a paralyzing fear. One potential approach is gradually taking trips into public. Convenience stores are often a good start with their limited capacity. Then you can work your way up to larger groups.
- Medication – Anti-anxiety medication can often help patients with PTSD better manage situations that would trigger their conditions.
It’s essential while the pandemic continues to seek mental health treatment if you’re feeling the strain.
Speak to Your Mental Health Provider Today
Avoiding pandemic-related PTSD is best achieved by getting help before it has a chance to lay down roots. With that in mind, remember that the pandemic is still in effect as the Omicron virus makes its rounds. Contact your mental health provider and speak to them about telehealth visits if you feel you’re struggling with the strain of life in the pandemic.