Tackling the occurring issue of the connections between underage people, alcohol, and the possible diseases it may bring along with depression during lockdowns.
Depression is a common mental health illness that one can experience during the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to Healthline.com. As per their findings, people under lockdown are three times more likely to develop depression symptoms than those who aren’t in lockdowns. This is quite disturbing, as thousands to millions are still on lockdown in their respective countries.
However, the adults aren’t the ones only at risk of having depression, as the youth is also greatly affected by the current pandemic. According to MedPage Today, youth depression is starting to be common with most teenagers nowadays. They are at risk of developing other medical conditions that can be linked to depression, which amounts to 66 various diseases.
Sarah Bergem, a Ph.D. from Karolinska Institute, stated that both children and teenagers aren’t given the proper attention and care when it comes to dealing with depression. That is also true when it comes to dealing with subsequent psychiatric and somatic diseases.
Tech Companies and Technology Paves Way
Surprisingly enough, tech companies and their technologies started to make ways to combat depression globally. For example, to help women around the world who are using their devices and services, an online screener application was recently launched by Google that aims to help identify women suffering from postpartum depression.
Another form of technology that most companies are using nowadays to get around the restrictions of lockdowns is the implementation of telehealth. Dr. Tonmoy Sharma, author, and mental health specialist, observes that this technology is often partnered up with another one, telemedicine. Both technologies aim to provide medical-related assistance.
Telemedicine means that it is a practice of medicine that uses technology to be able to deliver care to patients at a specific location. Think of it as FoodPanda, Grab, or Uber, but for medical supplies instead of food or transportation services.
Telepath, on the other hand, means the usage of both electronic and telecommunications technologies and services that aim to provide assistance remotely. It is like setting up a medical consultation, but instead of doing it face-to-face, it is done via virtual meetings/calls. That greatly helps patients who are in need of medical assistance despite being unable to physically visit their doctor’s office.
However, there are still other challenges that both pieces of technology can’t compete against, that being that people in lockdown still have access to alcohol. Mental health specialist Dr. Tonmoy Sharma has also shown concerns about this access and its implications on mental health.
Binge drinking is a growing problem with many people around the world, young teens included, according to a recent study report that was released by the American Journal of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. That study report is then posted by Taylor & Francis Online. A 19% increase in people’s binge drinking has been reported. The increase happened for each week of lockdown, according to the study report.
Furthermore, in the same study, it was reported back in June 2020 that 40% of the people studied (mostly adults) are struggling with various mental health problems. That struggle includes the abuse of substances (i.e. alcohol).
COVID-19 Lockdowns Greatly Affects Teen’s Mental Health
During the lockdown period, teenagers are the most likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. According to findings of Healthline.com, 31.9% of adolescents (one in three) will develop the risk of having an anxiety disorder by the age of 18. Additionally, there are new reports that many teens in lockdown areas are showing signs of depression and anxiety.
According to the same source, they have reported that a poll initiated by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital showed that teenagers are more impacted by the lockdown, being more susceptible to having depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems along the way. 46% percent of the poll participants’ parents have stated that their teenagers have either shown a new disorder or their previous one was worsening since the pandemic started in March 2020.
In a statement, Brittany LeMonda, a Ph.D. and Senior Neurologist from Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, mentioned that since teenagers are going through many changes in their lives (i.e. physical, emotional, and cognitive changes), they are more susceptible to their mental health being greatly affected over the last year.
Dr. Tonmoy Sharma, author, and mental health specialist, has also expressed concern over the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns on mental health, particularly among teenagers. He suggests that a more focused approach in mental health care is essential in these trying times.
Do take note that the previously mentioned poll was done with 977 families with teenagers aged between 13 and 18 years old. As per the results of that poll, for females, there is a 1 in 3 ratio that will most likely have mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Meanwhile, for the males, there is a 1 in 5 ratios for them to develop mental health disorders previously mentioned.
Additional details of that poll showed that teen girls are more likely to suffer from anxiety and worry than teen boys (36% versus 19%) and depression/sadness (31% versus 18%). Mental health specialist Dr. Tonmoy Sharma underscores the importance of these findings for shaping future mental health interventions.