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Impacts of the pandemic: Increased use of alcohol, drugs and medication

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Alcohol is often used by some to deal with difficult emotions. With so many feelings to deal with during the pandemic, unforeseen problems, and also the restriction of physical activities, there has been an increase in alcohol consumption.

The problem worries experts. For them, this will be the new challenge of the pandemic, because this behavior often leads to other addictions, such as the abuse of drugs and illicit medicines, for example, which also saw high consumption in 2020 and 2021.

A study by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), published on the occasion of the National Day Against Drugs and Alcoholism, February 20, highlights that 74% of Brazilians drank during the pandemic and 42 % drank heavily in certain situations.

Anxiety frames increase the odds of people drinking heavily by more than 70%.

“The pandemic has caused an increase in cases of anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and changes in sleep patterns. As a result, people began to consume more alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, in addition to resorting to illicit substances such as marijuana and cocaine,” quotes psychiatrist Jairo Navarro.

Psychologist Camilla Viana says such addictions are found ways to temporarily numb emotional pain. “However, these are not lasting solutions, as the root of the problem is not really addressed. This will be a challenge for years to come, as the consequences of the pandemic tend to be long-lasting.”

Such reflexes are part of what researchers and academics call the fourth wave of the pandemic, namely the increase in disease and mental disorders due to the impacts of covid.

“The fourth wave started in the first week of the covid pandemic and is growing. The consequences are the increase in new cases of mental disorders, some already identified and others not yet identified or recognized, ”explains psychiatrist Valdir Ribeiro Campos, president of the Psychiatric Association of Espírito Santo (Apes).

It also highlights, in the medium term, the aggravation of already known mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and the increase in alcohol consumption.

Higher risk of depression among covid recoveries

Much is still being studied about the effects of the new coronavirus on those who have had covid-19. But research already shows that they can be long and diverse in those who have overcome the disease, like thoughts about mental health.

People who have recovered from the illness, even those who did not need hospitalization, are 60% more likely to experience mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

This is indicated by a study published by the scientific journal British Medical Journal, coordinated by the University of Washington in St. Louis, United States.

Illustrative image of Impacts of the pandemic: Increased use of alcohol, drugs and medication

Psychiatrist Carolina Coser highlights the impacts on sleep quality.

Photo: Reproduction/Instagram.

“There are also impacts on sleep quality, stress, adjustment disorders and cognitive decline. Covid-19 causes a systemic inflammatory process and the brain is also affected by neurotoxic factors, which generate mental disorders and neurological manifestations,” explains psychiatrist Carolina Coser, from Rede Meridional.

Pain in mourning the dead by the virus

Over the two years of the pandemic, thousands of people have suffered the loss of a family member to the novel coronavirus. Although there are over 14,000 covid deaths in the state, the pain is unique and the consequences of loss are felt differently even inside a home.

Kitchen assistant Ariana Bastos da Vitória, 34, still cries every time she talks about her husband, Tiago Oliveira Passos, who died at 32 from covid.

It took several years of marriage and now, in addition to having to overcome the pain of losing her husband, Ariane is trying to be strong to take care of her three daughters, Ana Clara, 17, Clarice, 14 and Lara, Four years.

Illustrative image of Impacts of the pandemic: Increased use of alcohol, drugs and medication

Ariana says her 4-year-old daughter, Lara, became very sensitive after her father died of covid. “She cries about everything and often gets sick.”

Photo: La Tribune.

But, in addition to the daily difficulties, because she had to return to work outside the home after four years, Ariane feels that the emotional health of the family is very degraded.

“My girls have completely shut down. They can’t express how they feel and don’t like to talk about their father. Lara, the youngest, says her father lives in heaven. I noticed that she became very sensitive, cried for everything and often fell ill,” she says.

Tearfully, she cites that even after almost a year of her husband’s death, she still hasn’t had time to think about her own feelings. “It’s very difficult! I can’t even think about myself right now. There’s a lot to sort out. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Endocrinologist and lifestyle specialist Marina Pazolini warns that having a Covid victim in the family is linked to an increased risk of declining physical and mental health and wider negative implications for well-being. social, economic and relational being of individuals. .

“Covid-19 could lead to a second wave of population health issues related to bereavement and reduced social support. The burden of deaths in mourning the disease will be greater than the number of deaths. Each death leaves about nine times as many people bereaved, be it a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse or child.

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