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Depression: An Intensified Problem During the Pandemic

Ramiro Guzman
7 min read
Depression: An Intensified Problem During the Pandemic – Wellness and Health
COVID-19 and depressive disorders go hand in hand

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders leading to harmful consequences for the individual. According to WHO data, 5% of adults in general suffer from this clinical picture.

In turn, it is a cause of accentuated morbidity that has continued to increase in recent years. Above all, when the advent of the pandemic and lockdown appeared, the cases skyrocketed.

Mental health and COVID-19: How closely are they related?

Both the World Health Organization (WHO), and different health unions around the world, carried out studies that evaluated the mental state in these times. The deductions acquired were sharp and alarming.

It was concluded that common mental disorders began to emerge exponentially.

Depression and anxiety began to be directly related as sequelae of COVID-19 in general.

A joint survey carried out by the Pan American Health Organization and the WHO reaffirmed the previous results. It showed that a high population index developed feelings such as fear, sadness, anxiety and stress in the face of confinement.

In parentheses, a large portion expressed fear of contracting the virus, while others worried and stressed about the future. The quarantine, unemployment, shortages and more, were the triggers for the establishment of depressive, obsessive and anxious pictures.

What is depression?

Depression is encompassed within the known or denominated “common mental disorders”. In them, anxiety attacks are also written as part of the main diseases that affect the mind.

In general terms, it is defined as a state of "hypofunction" or a progressive decrease in daily activity. The medical literature also presents it as a chronic state of disinterest and a feeling of sadness that does not stop.

Depression: An Intensified Problem During the Pandemic – Wellness and Health
Confinement and pandemic contribute to common mental disorders

In addition to this, it is accompanied by other symptoms related to the cognitive, physical and behavioral fields. Basically, it is a pathology that totally incapacitates the individual in the most serious cases.

Some causes that trigger this disorder

Depression is a multifactorial disease that can arise on different fronts according to each organism. For practical purposes, those with the greatest health study have been simplified:

1. Both behavior and personality are determining factors in causing depression. Some behaviors such as insecurity, perfectionism, hypochondria or personal dependence, predispose to depressive scenarios.

2. Environmental, socioeconomic or health factors also influence the problem. Poverty, unemployment, little or no family tolerance, chronic diseases and more, is a sum of high risk.

3. As a third place, it has been suggested in the last time that the hereditary sphere has a place in the disease. However, it continues to be studied pending further study.

What are its most common symptoms?

Although certain symptoms can lead to an early diagnosis, by themselves they do not exactly mean a depressive picture. Sadness is the letter of introduction that this disorder uses, being described as "unconventional".

Normally, the sadness described by the patient follows two trends that have been reflected in the medical academy. Thanks to this strategy, it is possible to identify the presence of depression more quickly:

  • Sadness is manifested with a greater intensity that does not vary over time. The individual is in a chronic state of apathy even when his environment has no tangible defects.

  • It is classified as a feeling of sadness, disinterest or loss different from what has been experienced before. Motivation to get ahead is lost with a tendency to sink into an emotional abyss.

Depression: An Intensified Problem During the Pandemic – Wellness and Health
Constant sadness and apathy are the flags of depression

In addition, other specialized medical texts in psychiatry and psychology cover a series of important complementary symptoms. In order of relevance, they are as follows:

  • Apathy and slowness of movements that is related to the fear of making decisions; fatigue and irritability

  • Insomnia of the "early awakening" type defined as the inability to fall asleep after an abrupt interruption in the morning.

  • Prolonged feeling of slowing down of thinking or marked difficulty in articulating logical thoughts.

  • The individual experiences a medical term known as "anhedonia," which is the same as loss of pleasure sensations.

  • General symptoms such as muscle and headaches, digestive disorders, among others.

  • Appreciation of pessimistic, irrational and even suicidal thoughts.

Types of depression

Major depression

It is that of a chronic nature manifested in a high duration of its episodes. Most cases last for weeks or months due to a failure in the main neurotransmitters in the nervous system.

Dysthymic disorder

The so-called dysthymic disorder is described as a set of disabling signs and symptoms. Despite being less intense, they also start from a chronic quality that can last for years if it is not treated.

Minor disorder

In reference to the minor disorder, it is secondary to a stressful or complicated overwhelming situation.

It is the acute trigger for signs and symptoms of a depressive condition, but its duration in time is short and self-limited.

Medical writing allows other depressive disorders to be included in the current classification. They are those that do not have a predefined name, obeying underlying psychiatric and non-psychiatric conditions.

Regardless of the type of depression that may be suffered, the variety of symptoms described above is common in each of them.

How is depression treated?

Many people make the mistake of holding onto the belief that depression is only treated with antidepressants. But this is not always the case, a whole medical protocol based on the severity of the disease, or the type of symptoms shown, is handled.

Antidepressant treatment is exclusive for major depression, where the biological component is present. Indeed, they act as advantages to weigh the chronic symptoms linked to the pathology.

Depression: An Intensified Problem During the Pandemic – Wellness and Health
Antidepressants are not the only approved method against the disease

Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed for dysthymia disorders, but in lower dosages.

As long as it is successfully diagnosed and reinforced with constant psychological monitoring, it will not be counterproductive.

To recap, adaptive disorders are the mildest presentations of depression. Therefore, it does not warrant entry medication since the approach is to prevent symptoms from becoming exacerbated.

Above all, therapeutic sessions for psychological support focused on the cognitive-behavioral field will suffice. It will help to identify other possible risk factors and to find effective solutions for the disorder.

The data released by the WHO are alarming

The World Health Organization, in its annual summary of depression, states that almost 350 million people suffer from this mental disorder. A large percentage of that number are in adulthood, ranging from 45 to 60 years.

On the other hand, 70% of that figure is made up of people of the female gender. In hindsight, women are considered more likely to develop depression at some point in their life.

The reason for this is that depression is a silent condition that knows how to hide, going unnoticed. In addition, due to the misinformation that exists and the limited public mental health approach, it is estimated that 60% of the cases are not attended to.

Depression: An Intensified Problem During the Pandemic – Wellness and Health
Helping and seeking support can make a difference

As a result of this inconvenience, it is one of the most frequent causes of morbidity worldwide. According to official figures, an average of 850 thousand people die annually by suicide, the maximum terminal expression of depression.