We’re all worried for our physical health at the moment but what about our mental health? In times of uncertainty, change, or loss it’s normal to struggle but some may experience more mental health difficulties than others.
These are a few common mental health disorders we’ve seen more people presenting with at the moment. So how can you recognise whether you or a loved one may be dealing with more than a manageable level of stress during these trying times?
Major Depressive Disorder
Depression can present in many different ways, not just the stereotyped image of someone crying and never getting out of bed. There are some common symptoms though. If a few of these ring true most days for more than 2 weeks, it’s time to reach out.
- Feeling low, empty, or hopeless
- Reduced interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Changes in sleep
- Feeling fatigued or exhausted
- Feeling worthless or excessively guilty
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide
There are a few different types of anxiety but you may notice an increase in worry that you struggle to control and feel unexpected changes in your body, like racing heart, breathlessness or chest pain, shaking, nausea, dizziness, sweating, or changes in temperature. Sudden intense physical changes like these could also indicate panic attacks. On a daily basis, you may experience:
- Feeling restless or on edge
- Feeling easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep difficulties
Clinical diagnoses require a 6 month duration for some disorders but that doesn’t mean you should suffer in silence if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
Addictions as Coping Strategies
In self-isolation there’s more time to fill and strong emotions that we may want to escape from. Alcohol, substances, and gambling may seem like good options but can quickly become addictive and cause more problems in the long-term. If you recognise any of these signs, we recommend contacting a health professional.
- Struggling to control urges or desires
- Difficulty resisting or stopping
- Spend large portions of time thinking about the activity
- Noticing changes in functioning or the ability to complete day-to-day tasks
- Continuing the behaviour despite knowledge of detrimental consequences to yourself or others
- Needing to use or gamble increasingly more to achieve the same result
Mental health workers are still considered essential at this trying time. PsychMed are a team of local Adelaide psychologists and still fully operational, albeit by phone and video for your safety and the safety of our staff. If you, your family, or friends need support, PsychMed can help – call 8232 2424.