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Thomas Gallatin / May 8, 2020

Growing Health Consequences From Prolonged Lockdown

Mental health problems and drug abuse are spiking during this pandemic shutdown.

One of the biggest ironies of state governments’ stay-at-home measures, intended to limit the spread of the China Virus, is the ill effects these mandated social isolations are having on people’s health. Specially, people’s mental health. One example that exemplifies this growing problem is the federal government’s disaster distress hotline, which in April experienced more than a 1,000% increase in the number of people reaching out for help.

President Donald Trump’s dire warnings that a prolonged lockdown would result in “massive mental depression, … tremendous [increase in] suicides, [and] drugs being used like nobody has ever used them before” are now becoming evident. Just Facts recently reported, “Scientific surveys of U.S. residents have found that the mental health of about one-third to one-half of all adults has been substantially compromised by reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic. Examples include the following:”

  • An American Psychiatric Association survey in mid-March found that 36% of adults report that anxiety over Covid-19 “is having a serious impact on their mental health.”

  • A Kaiser Family Foundation survey in late March found that 45% of adults “feel that worry and stress related to” Covid-19 “has had a negative impact on their mental health, an increase from 32% from early March.” Additionally, 19% of adults said it is having a “major impact” on their mental health.

  • A Benenson Strategy Group survey in late March revealed that the Covid-19 “situation has already affected” the “mental health” of 55% of U.S. adults “either a great deal or somewhat.”

  • A Kaiser Family Foundation survey in late April found that 56% of adults “report that worry and stress related to” Covid-19 “is affecting their mental health and wellbeing in various ways,” such as “trouble sleeping, "poor appetite or over-eating,” “frequent headaches or stomachaches,” “difficulty controlling their temper,” “increasing their alcohol or drug use,” and “worsening chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.”

Just Facts further noted, “At least 16.8% of 255,200,373 adults in the United States — or 42,873,663 people — have suffered major mental harm from responses to Covid-19.”

Furthermore, spiking sales in cannabis and alcohol indicate a future prospect of increased drug abuse. That in turn could end up exacerbating the opioid epidemic the nation has been struggling to address over the last decade.

The pertinent question remains: Is the pandemic cure worse than the disease?

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