How Did the First Wave of COVID-19 Affect Behavioral Health and QOL?

Anxiety, melancholy, and alcoholic beverages misuse increased all through the COVID-19 pandemic, a research revealed in Scientific Reviews observed.

Tulane College researchers asked respondents in an online study from April 7, 2020, to July 26, 2020, to report the effect of their COVID-19 activities and COVID-19 disruption, as well as any mental overall health, physical health and fitness, or alcohol issues they professional right before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals done the Common Stress and anxiety Disorder, the Client Wellbeing Questionnaire, the CAGE (Minimize, Irritated, Guilty, and Eye) liquor misuse measurement, the Planet Overall health Corporation Excellent of Wellbeing – BREF assessment (small type), and a COVID-19 expertise index.

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Additional than 50 % (55%) of the 296 study members (aged 43.6±12.5 yrs 85% women 86% White) had been from Louisiana. Most participants (72%) had a 4-12 months or expert diploma and were married or cohabitating (65%). Their median 2019 cash flow was the $60,000 to $69,000 vary.

The scientists noticed a rise in reported present-day psychological health and fitness problems (25% to 33% X2 (1) = 37.61 P <.001). Alcohol use increased from 2% to 12% (X2 (1) = 16.42 P <.001). Anxiety increased from 2019 population estimates of 16% to 53% (Z (296) = 17.4 P <.001). Moderate depression increased from a 19% 2019 population estimate to 28% (Z (296) = 4.4 P <.001). Heavy alcohol use was higher compared with 2019 population estimates (14% vs 6% Z (296) = 5.6 P <.001).

More than one-third of survey participants reported they experienced social isolation, working from home, loss of income, and removal of children and adolescents from school during COVID-19. Those who reported social isolation and personal health effects said they had higher anxiety and depression and reduced past 2 weeks’ quality of life. Individuals with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 were more likely to say they misused alcohol and had a lower quality of life.

Individuals who lived in communities with increased physically unhealthy days reported higher anxiety. Alcohol misuse was higher among individuals with prior physical health problems, who also had decreased quality of life, and were less likely to live in areas with heavy drinking.

Preexisting problems with physical health (β = 0.24, P <.001) and mental health (β = 0.39, P <.001), which was predictive of quality of life (β = -0.55, P <.001), were linked with current mental health. Latent variables included anxiety and depression.

Prior mental health problems were predicted by younger age (β = -0.31, P <.001), and substance use problems before COVID-19 were predictive of current alcohol misuse (β = 0.29, P <.001). COVID-19 disruption was predictive of mental health (β = 0.42, P <.001).

Limitations of the study include the preponderance of female respondents and the limited study period.

“This study supports the urgent need for enhanced behavioral health service capacity moving into the recovery phase of the pandemic,” the researchers noted.

“Based on past disasters, brief services such as Skills for Psychological Recovery are still needed to normalize mental health symptoms and awareness of risk factors and acknowledge problematic coping, such as alcohol use. Brief interventions may be necessary to boost coping skills that may be diminished due to COVID-19. At this point in the disaster, more intensive treatments should also be made available, especially for those who exhibit specific risk factors, such as young and middle-aged adults, those with limited income and prior behavioral health concerns, and those living in communities with poorer health. Perhaps some of the gains made toward telehealth over the past year can continue and increase access and capacity to support improved behavioral health and quality of life.”


Cross Hansel T, Saltzman LY, Melton PA, Clark TL, Bordnick PS. COVID-19 behavioral health and quality of life. Scientific Reports. 12, 961 (2022). doi:10.1038/s41598-022-05042-z

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor

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