COVID-19 Triggers

Increased Use of



ith fi nancial experts predicting the COVID-19 pandemic re- sponse will result in an eco-

nomic crash worse than the Great Depres- sion of the 1930s, it’s no wonder that de- pression and suicide statistics are ticking upward.

According to a Kaiser Family Founda-

tion poll, between March 25 and March 30, 45% of respondents said the pan- demic has disrupted their lives “a lot,” with women (49%) being disproportionally affected than men (40%); 27% say their lives have been impacted to “some” de- gree.

Most also say there’s “no end in sight,”

and 74% of respondents believe “the worst is yet to come.” Only 13% believe the height of the pandemic has already passed. Fifty-nine percent worry their invest-

ments will be negatively impacted for a long time, and 52% worry they will lose their job. A nearly identical number — 53% — worry they or a family member will contract COVID-19.


Already, 39% of adults report having

either lost their job or lost income due to working fewer hours. A clear majority — 85% — worry local businesses will per- manently close due to loss of revenue. Compared to the week of March 11

through 15, a larger proportion of Ameri- cans also reported negative mental health impacts the week of March 25 through 30 — 45% compared to 32% the week be- fore.

Antidepressant Use Skyrockets According to an April 16, 2020, report

by Express Scripts, an employer-based pharmacy benefi t management company, prescriptions for anti-anxiety rose 34.1% between mid-February and mid-March, by which time stay-at-home orders had been issued for many parts of the U.S. Combined, drugs for anxiety, depres-

sion and insomnia rose by 21%. Mirroring poll results, far more women have turned to antidepressants than men, with women increasing use by 40% compared to men,

who had a 22.7% rise in prescriptions. As reported by Newsweek:

“Anxiety is the most common type of mental illnesses in the country, according to the Anxiety and Depression Associa- tion of America, with over 40 million adults suffering from some form of dis- order.

Although medication can be an ef-

fective treatment, some of the drugs used can come with serious side effects and a potential for abuse and addiction. In- somnia drugs share many of the same caveats.

[Senior vice president of Express

Scripts, Dr. Glen] Stettin insisted that a majority of people experiencing anxiety or insomnia issues during the pandemic should fi rst seek drug-free treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy or practic- ing good sleep. ‘If you think about anxi- ety and you think about sleep issues, for most people medicine is not the answer,’ said Stettin.”

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