Women worry more than men. That’s a scientific fact.
With worry rates reaching epic proportions as the result of the pandemic, many health professionals are concerned about the immediate health and well-being of American women, particularly its female healthcare and frontline workers, and Millennial moms, who are grappling with extraordinarily high stress levels.
A Yale study found that 14% of healthcare workers had probable major depression, 15% had generalized anxiety disorder, and 23% had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the early months of the pandemic. More than 40% were also suspected to have alcohol-use disorder, according to the study published in PLOS.
Recently, as many as 35% of healthcare workers were reported to have physical symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study reported in Frontiers of Psychology.
Frontline workers, who have direct trauma exposure and are witnessing people dying in pretty large numbers are disproportionately impacted according Tanja Jovanovic, professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Many of these frontline workers are also working moms and face increased stressors of trying to safeguard their families health and well-being while working under increasingly stressful conditions.
Among the general population, more than 97% of Millennial moms report their highest stress levels ever due to the pandemic, according to an annual poll published by Motherly.
Such acute stress levels are a natural pathway to depression, according to WebMD.
Coupled with other serious health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the combination can be deadly according to researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who recently discovered that women with both have a four-fold greater risk of early death from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, type 2 diabetes, accidents, suicide and other causes.
The results are particularly troubling given the pandemic, according to Andrea Roberts, the lead author of the study and a senior research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health who worries about the impact that COVID-19 related stress and reduced social connections will have on at-risk women.
The study published online in JAMA Network Open is raising alarm bells among mental health professionals.
“These findings provide further evidence that mental health is fundamental to physical health — and to our very survival. We ignore our emotional well-being at our peril,” says Karestand Koenen, senior author of the study and professor of psychiatric epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
The pandemic will pass, but its effects will be much linger on much longer if we don’t address the mental health issues of those at risk now, according to professionals who fear we may see a “Patriarchal pandemic.”
Some stress-relievers include:
Editor’s note: Discover other tips and tricks to control stress in these related articles: Coping with COVID fatigue and Hold off on hibernating: Use exercise and light therapy get through winter’s darker times The CDC recommends the following for those in more immediate need of resources:
Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health