Health Matters: Managing the Stress of COVID-19
How we work, raise our families, and go out in public, in 2020 our way of life changed—and clinical psychologists at Lee Health say, those changes have taken a toll on our mental health. “The pandemic posed a different kind of stress that we were not expecting or even prepared for,” said Dr. Jacqueline Hidalgo, a clinical psychologist with Lee Health.
Stress that doctors say triggered things like anxiety, depression, isolation, and fear. “The fear of the unknown is always a big thing so this presented a huge component about the fear of the unknown and what was going to happen,” said Dr. Hidalgo. Feelings that have caused many people to develop unhealthy coping skills. “There has been a lot of exacerbation of reoccurrence or new occurrence of substance abuse disorders or at-risk substance use. There has been a lot of changes in lifestyle for a lot of people. Maybe staying more at home, maybe engaging in more comfort food eating, so maybe some weight gain,” she said.
More than a year later, physicians are seeing the impact the pandemic has had on the patient’s overall health. “I do think we were going through a big survivor mode last year. There was this big shock then everybody was like we have to survive this, we have to fight this, we got to get through this, and we’re fighting, fighting, fighting, then all of a sudden when things get a little calmer, that’s when we see the exhaustion kicking in,” said Dr. Hidalgo.
Making it important to talk to your doctor and let someone know if you need help.
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