Mental Health issues – How COVID19 is impacting Australians
It’s been an unsettling, whirlwind of a year not only for Australians but for tens of millions of people around the world. Despite the best efforts of countless countries and leading health organisations, COVID19 has been uncontainable. The measures put in place to restrict the spread of this deadly virus have been tough on many Australians, in particular those in Victoria and NSW but for many Queensland residents as well.
Below is a list of mental health conditions that have dramatically increased over the course of 2020. Many of the following conditions aren’t in isolation and are often interconnected, leading to deeper, longer lasting issues. If you, a friend or a loved one relate to any of the following conditions, seeking treatment is the first step in the right direction.
With pubs, clubs and restaurants closed and strict social distancing guidelines, you would think that people would be drinking less alcohol. On the contrary, since COVID19, alcohol consumption has increased much to the despair of health workers across Australia.
The impacts of alcohol are far reaching – affecting the physical and mental wellbeing of many. A recent study conducted by the Australian National University shows increases in alcohol consumption for various groups during COVID19, but higher amongst women aged between 35 and 44 who had increased caring responsibilities. For men, it was due to work being cut back has been cut back during the pandemic.
Alcohol addiction is one of the leading forms of addiction in the world. It’s legal, cheap, readily available, and is considered socially acceptable. On a global scale, The World Health Organization states that alcohol kills more than 3 million people each year, most of them men.
Whether it’s a few extra drinks each night, or drinking when you usually wouldn’t, it can quickly develop into a debilitating addiction.
TELL-TALE SIGNS OF ALCOHOL ADDICTION:
● Regularly drinking more than you intend to
● Becoming dependant on it
● Hiding your habit or lying about your drinking habits
● Neglecting your responsibilities at home or work
● Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
● Need to drink in order to relax or feel better
● “Black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking.
There’s a wide range of impacts from alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, only 39% of Australians are aware of the link between alcohol and cancer, with even less people aware of the connection between the specific types of cancers it is related to.
SOME OF THE ISSUES CAUSED BY ALCOHOL ARE:
● Domestic abuse and alcohol are frequently paired
● There has been a rise in alcohol-related domestic violence since COVID19
● Alcohol is linked to seven specific cancers: breast, bowel, mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, and liver cancer.
● Alcohol consumption leads to an increased risk of disease including including liver damage, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and more
With these alarming statistics emerging, if you or someone you know may be addicted to alcohol there’s no better time to take action.
Although a reported 1.5 billion dollars has been saved from going into poker machines since the closure of pubs and clubs, there’s been an alarming increase in online gambling. To make matters worse, online gambling is readily available at any time and for anyone with a phone.
A gambling addiction is the uncontrollable urge to make bets and gamble, despite the negative impact it might have on someone’s life. NAB’s internal data covering consumer spending shows expenditure on gambling is 50.7 percent higher since the start of the year.
Whether it’s online casinos, mobile pokies or betting on the plethora of Australian or international sporting events, it’s now easier than ever to gamble.
GAMBLING ADDICTION TRIGGERS DURING COVID
The triggers associated with gambling addiction are disturbingly consistent with the conditions that COVID19 has been placing on thousands of Australians. Gambling addiction triggers include:
● Traumatic circumstances
● Job-related stress
● Retirement and boredom
● External influences from friends
● Depression or anxiety
Some, if not all of the above triggers have been experienced by hundreds of thousands of Australians since COVID19, and if you already have a gambling addiction it’s extremely alarming.
GAMBLING CAN LEAD TO SERIOUS EFFECTS, INCLUDING:
● loss of jobs
● failed relationships
● severe debt
● Problem gambling is often associated with mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.
To make matters worse, pubs, clubs and Casinos have opened back up across Queensland, making it vital for people with gambling issues to seek as soon as possible.
DEPRESSION AND STRESS
Mass job losses, the stress of paying bills, worrying about a deadly virus, a unstable home environment; it’s a scenario that thousands are currently faced with. That coupled with the inability to see friends and family has led to a perfect storm, leaving many feeling stressed, depressed and unable to cope.
There’s been an unprecedented toll on Australians’ mental health since COVID19. Calls to mental health services have increased dramatically, with Lifeline Australia receiving 3,000 calls for support every day, that’s one call every 30 seconds.
Depression, stress, and anxiety are some of the leading mental health issues that are arisings. Many organisations failing to keep up with the demand in calls and experts are warning that long-lasting mental health issues will follow the pandemic, particularly with the unexpected nature of how COVID19 will play out.
SIGNS OF STRESS AND DEPRESSION
● Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame.
● Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters.
● Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
● Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much, unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
● Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort, anxiety, agitation or restlessness
● Anxiety, agitation or restlessness, trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
● Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
GETTING HELP IS THE FIRST STEP
Whether it’s addiction, gambling, depression, chronic stress, grief, trauma, mood and anxiety disorders, or PTSD, Salt Recovery offers a range of different recovery programs and therapies which are tailored to the individual’s situation and recovery needs.
If you’re finding life difficult during or know someone who is, give Salt Recovery a call today, regardless of your situation, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and help is simply a phone call away.