In a new survey, researchers found the levels of anxiety, addiction, suicidal thoughts are soaring in the pandemic.
They found about 41% of American adults surveyed in late June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition.
They also found the number of Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder had tripled by late June compared to the same time last year, and the number of those with depression had jumped fourfold.
The research was conducted by a team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the study, the team also found one quarter of survey respondents reported symptoms of trauma- and stressor-related disorder.
About 1 in every 10 survey respondents also said they’d started or increased their use of alcohol or illicit drugs during the pandemic.
Suicidal thoughts are on the rise, too: Compared to data from 2018, approximately twice as many respondents reported serious consideration of suicide in the previous 30 days.
The team says mental health practitioners and organizations had predicted an increase in mental health problems associated with the pandemic, and this study provides important data to support the public health concerns that have been raised.
They believe there’s a particular strain on Americans who’ve been entrusted with the care of others.
The study was based on confidential online surveys conducted among more than 5,400 Americans over the age of 17. Some had already participated in similar surveys conducted in April and May.
The strain on unpaid caregivers for adults—people taking care of disabled loved ones at home—seems particularly troublesome.
According to the study, the rate of substance abuse and/or suicidal thoughts among unpaid caregivers more than tripled between May and the end of June.
Older Americans appear to be more resilient to the strain of the pandemic compared to the young: The study found rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts were most prevalent among those aged 18 to 24, and the prevalence of these issues decreased progressively with age.
Black and Hispanic Americans tended to have higher rates of mental health issues tied to the pandemic than did whites, the study also found.
Of course, unemployment or the threat of it is a major source of anxiety for millions in 2020.
One author of the study is Rashon Lane.
The study is published in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
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