Everyone on our planet has now lived through over two years of pandemic life, and millions have endured prolonged stress on many different levels.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often conjures images of shell-shocked veterans returning from war, someone witnessing a violent crime, or other life-threatening events. Emerging evidence shows that COVID-19 is associated with PTSD symptomology even though it does not fit neatly within prevailing PTSD diagnostic criteria.
PTSD is a condition that can develop after experiencing psychological trauma. When the condition persists, it can cause substantial distress and disruption in a person’s life. Some symptoms include:
- Having memories or concerns about the trauma that interrupt emotional well-being
- Avoiding people, places, or things
- Reacting negatively to life or not reacting at all
- Experiencing difficulty sleeping, irritability, and difficulty concentrating
Even though many people may not fit into the official diagnosis of PTSD, if someone feels bad and it affects their day-to-day life, it’s a mental health concern, and it doesn’t matter what official label you want to give it.
Trauma has now become a part of many people’s lives for various reasons. This can include burnout and mental exhaustion felt by front-line workers; having or being hospitalized with COVID-19; suffering the loss of a loved one; or experiencing lockdowns, losing jobs, and being separated from friends and family for long periods. As a result, the trauma can wreak havoc on mental health.
Everyone on our planet has now lived through over two years of pandemic life, and millions have endured prolonged stress on many different levels. Children and adults experience grief, anxiety, isolation, depression, substance abuse disorders, fatigue, or economic hardships due to the constant media-driven fear as well as ongoing and ever-changing uncertainty about the future.
Prior to COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that about one in four people worldwide would suffer from mental health concerns. They now estimate that 40–48% are struggling with mental health, and these numbers increase as the pandemic continues.
We will continue to see the mental health repercussions of this worldwide health crisis, even long after the world returns to some form of “normal.”
One of the main reasons for this fragile psychological state is that humans of all ages are hard-wired to soothe stress by being around other people – working, playing, attending school, living with others, etc. We all need a connection to other humans. During the pandemic, nearly everyone had less social support, with people living alone or those who had recently retired or lost their jobs being the most severely impacted.
Any trauma we experience is not necessarily proportional to an event’s intensity. Some people will process what has happened better than others. Simply having a negative experience does not automatically lead to negative psychological effects. Some people have incredible resilience to stressful events, often due to individual perceptions of stress and attitude toward it. Chronic stress becomes harmful when the physiological response called “fight or flight,” meant to get us through a dangerous moment, doesn’t turn off. When the threat continues, or we perceive that it does, and our mental resilience – the machine that keeps us moving during stress – is depleted, the resulting symptoms can severely disrupt our lives.
Nutritional support to keep the mental/emotional body strong during times of prolonged stress:
- Stress: AdrenaSense® contains adaptogens that have been studied extensively and proven very effective in supporting the body during times of increased demands and stress.
- Mood and anxiety: Studies show that saffron effectively treats mild-to-moderate depression and improves mood. GABA and L-theanine support and calm the nervous system in individuals who experience moderate anxiety.
- Probiotics: Probiotics have both anti-inflammatory and serotonin capacity, as well as some overall effects similar to antidepressants without side effects.
- Insomnia: Melatonin, valerian, and combination herbal formulas such as Restful Sleep® are effective for many people with insomnia.
Lifestyle Tips and Techniques
GET TOGETHER with others.
EXERCISE, as it is the key to eliminating the stresses trapped in the body.
Return to HEALTHY NUTRITIONAL BASICS emphasizing vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy oils.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP – treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) are especially valuable for trauma.
REFLECTION and taking time to be still are potent tools for trauma recovery.
Do all you can to keep carrying on!