Are We at Risk of Developing PTSD from Coronavirus?


Can people get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the Coronavirus Pandemic? Many people are asking that question.  Or concerned about some of the emotional feelings they are having. Additionally, mental health workers who are not able to see their clients face-to-face are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating symptoms of those already diagnosed with increased levels of anxiety and/or depression.  Some practitioners are even beginning to see some of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Technology has been helpful for mental health therapists, because they are now able to communicate with their clients through Apps like Zoom which was used (until now) as a video conferencing solution for businesses.  Video conferencing has made working from home and checking in through video meetings more available to even the smallest of businesses that have employees with special skill sets all over the world.

Mental health therapists are using the app to provide individual appointments and conduct group therapy sessions.  Many clients are relating symptoms similar to anxiety and depressive disorders.

Another interesting use of ZOOM is Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and a newer twelve step group called ‘Double Trouble in Recovery (DTR)‘ this is a group for those who have been diagnosed with substance dependency and another mental disorder like Major Depression or an Anxiety Disorder of some type.  Many of those attending these groups are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and began using alcohol or drugs to deal with the anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with PTSD.

While receiving our weekly scan of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder articles, this interesting article was among the mostly clinical and medical journal articles usually found in the list. The article is:

‘We’re All at Risk of Developing PTSD from the COVID-19 Pandemic’

Ariel is Chinese American and a survivor of domestic violence  — and the coronavirus pandemic has taken a painful toll on her mental health. It has created “a unique intersection in a time where racism against Chinese civilians is high, and domestic violence rates are increasing,” she tells InStyle.

Ariel, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) three years ago, is one of many women across the country currently facing a resurgence of their symptoms. “I’ve relied on in-person interaction to fight off that anxiety,” she explains. “Now that we are under quarantine, my usual ways of fighting my trauma are gone. This is on top of the fact I am afraid of going out in public because I don’t want to be attacked.”

Like Ariel, anyone with previous trauma is at risk of being triggered by the pandemic. But it’s not only survivors that can experience PTSD symptoms during this time. Though we’re separated by physical distance, we’re all simultaneously absorbing the trauma of this unprecedented global event. Whether posted at home or working in the ICU, the threat of the virus and its impact on the economy are unavoidable weights to bear — and we’re all susceptible to long-term mental health issues like PTSD.

While no one experiences the disorder in exactly the same way, there are certain signs to look out for. “PTSD is a set of symptoms that result from trauma and can greatly impact functioning and create distress,” says Annie Miller, a psychotherapist in Washington D.C. These symptoms include: “anxiety, flashbacks, trouble sleeping, nightmares, lack of concentration, negative thoughts, and feeling easily startled.”

“People with PTSD often feel on edge and experience hypervigilance, which can cause irritability and an inability to relax, as well as a host of sleep problems,” adds Miller.

Read More: We’re All at Risk of Developing PTSD from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Related Are we at Risk of Developing PTSD from the Coronavirus Pandemic Articles:

  1. Minimizing the Risks of PTSD from the COVID-19 Pandemic
  2. Coronavirus: Front-line NHS staff ‘at risk of PTSD’
  3. Are COVID-19 Patients at Risk for PTSD?