Alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety and loneliness reached alarming levels among young people in the United States during the covid-19 pandemic – which reinforces the idea that the new coronavirus is ahead of problems that go far beyond the consequences directly related to it .
This is what a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs shows, based on anonymous interviews given by more than a thousand people between 18 and 35 years old. Viviana Horigian, a professor at the University of Miami, warns: “The convergence of the disease with epidemics of addictions and mental conditions in the USA is here to stay.”
According to the researchers, almost 80% of the participants revealed to have manifested “significant symptoms of depression”. Meanwhile, problems with drinking (58%), drugs (56%), anxiety (76%) and feeling disconnected (58%) are also worrisome. “These young adults are the future of the social fabric of our country,” adds the scientist.
“They need to have access to psychological help, along with the development and dissemination of brief online contact-based interventions that encourage healthy lifestyles.”
There are ways
Based on the data collected, the team now expects interventions to be put into practice – which depends directly on the actions of all agents. “As we invest in developing the sense of cohesion and social connection of these generations, we can address social and physical resilience in our communities in general,” says Renae Schmidt, co-author of the study.
Among the actions proposed by those responsible for the research are: maintaining the delivery of relevant virtual courses, offering counseling services through telehealth, greater commitment by primary care physicians to effective screening and expanding access to psychological help.
“These efforts, and others, can help to alleviate the problems of loneliness and its manifestations; however, an integrated, multifaceted and combined approach, rooted and supported by the prevention of mental health and the promotion of well-being, in addition to driven by the development of the workforce and research on intervention development, all with the aim of re-editing these trajectories “, says Viviana.
“This could encourage service to others, bringing social comfort and reward as a result of connecting with other people in need,” he concludes.