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Pandemic triggers anxiety and depression

The COVID-19 Mental Disorders Collaborators conclude that, throughout 2020, the pandemic led to a 27·6% increase in cases of major depressive disorders and 25·6% increase in cases of anxiety disorders globally.(1)

However, we propose that these prevalence estimates are likely to be substantially inflated. Decades of trauma research has shown that, for most people, negative life events such as bereavement or disaster exposure are typically followed by resilience (minimal effect on symptoms of anxiety, or depression, or both) or recovery (initial short-term increase in symptoms of anxiety, or depression, or both, followed by recovery).(2)This pattern matches what large-scale studies and reviews(3,4,5) have found in the context of COVID-19. In a meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies,(3) there was an acute increase in mental health symptoms at the pandemic onset. Symptoms declined significantly over time and were indistinguishable from prepandemic symptom profiles within a few months of the outbreak.

According to CBNC depression rates have tripled during pandemic as people were more likely scared and suffered mental and social crisis.
And when researchers surveyed the same people a year later, they saw a jump to 32%.

“It is unusual to see sustained levels of depression 12 months into a traumatic experience,” Galea says. The Covid pandemic is “unique in its ongoing nature,” which likely contributes to people’s continued and heightened levels of depression”. – Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of Boston University’s School of Public.

It also noted that pandemic depression is disproportionately affecting lower-income populations: People making less than $20,000 a year in 2020 were 2.3 times more likely to experience depression, compared to people making $75,000 or more. This year, the study noted, that likelihood increased sevenfold. (CBNC)

Lastly, “In the beginning, there was so much that we didn’t know. Many people felt apprehensive. Now, we realize that with vaccines and safety precautions, we can take action to protect ourselves. We are no longer totally at the mercy of this coronavirus.”- Vannorsdall


  1. 1.
    1. COVID-19 Mental Disorders Collaborators

Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lancet. 2021; 398: 1700-1712

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Psychological adjustment during the global outbreak of COVID-19: a resilience perspective.

Psychol Trauma. 2020; 12: S51-S54

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A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies comparing mental health before versus during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

J Affect Disord. 2022; 296: 567-576

View in Article 

Psychological distress and adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.J Psychiatr Res. 2021; 136: 603-609

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