Coping After COVID: Dealing with a Disaster

May 1, 2021
Kenny Walter

Dr. Joshua Morganstein discusses the psychological impacts disasters can have on individuals and how the COVID-19 pandemic might be different than other disasters.

As vaccinations continue to increase and cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to drop, psychiatrists might soon enter the forefront in treating the collective trauma of the nation the events of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.

It is well known that following disasters, psychological issues can begin later, but maintain long after the disaster has ended.

However, the ongoing pandemic is unlike most the disasters and traumatic events the majority of the population has ever experienced.

The open-ended nature of the pandemic has likely exacerbated the traumatic experience that people across the globe are facing and even as vaccines increase and cases decrease, the mental health issues caused by the events of the last year could be long-lasting.

And along with mental health concerns, many across the country might be turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol that could have long-term health impacts.

But this also offers an opportunity to improve mental health issues and for some it is an opportunity to really focus inward and come out of the pandemic with a better handle on their mental health issues.

In this month’s Coping After COVID: Navigating Psychiatry After a Pandemic, Joshua Morganstein, MD, Chair of the Committee on the Psychiatric Dimensions of Disaster and Distinguished Fellow at the American Psychiatric Association (APA), discussed how we can lean on past history of disaster to response to aid in mental health issues and what makes the pandemic different from those past events.

Trauma and how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts all aspects of psychiatry is a major topic that will be discussed and analyzed during several sessions and abstracts presented during the 2021 American Psychiatry Association’s Annual Meeting.


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