How Inflation Can Lead To Higher Rates Of Anxiety And Depression

According to WebMD, rent, gas, food, and other living expenses have reached an all-time high, surpassing prices that haven't been seen in 40 years. As a result, doctors say that they're noticing greater levels of stress in their patients. In addition to stress, inflation of this magnitude can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues as pandemic uncertainty lasting over two years, remains a part of our awareness.

"If salaries are not matched to reflect the rising prices of groceries, gas, rent, it becomes more difficult for people with minimum wage to manage their living standards," psychiatrist Dr. Aisha Shariq, told News4SA. She added that, in addition to anxiety and depression, schizophrenia could also become an issue for those "in vulnerable populations."

The Wall Street Journal reported that inflation in the United States grew 8.5% last month and noted that we haven't seen this annual pace since December 1981. A statement by the American Psychological Association was released on March 10 featuring a poll that found money stress to be at the highest rate since 2015. Though inflation affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, Dr. Lisa Strohschein, a sociologist at the University of Alberta, told Live Science that when it comes to finances, "people who are at the bottom, have never been more insecure."

Managing stress caused by inflation

Managing stress during this time when it seems so much is out of your control can be hard to navigate. Dr. Aisha Shariq, told News4SA that self-care is of the utmost importance and recommends natural stress relievers such as exercise, coping techniques, and focusing on the positive aspects of life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recognizes how challenging times of uncertainty can be. Common reactions to stress can include disbelief, feeling afraid or worried, experiencing a change in appetite or desires, having nightmares, suffering from headaches, and more. However, there are several healthy ways to cope with stress in a manner that puts your mind and body at ease. 

The CDC suggests taking a break from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. They also advise working out, eating healthy, avoiding excessive use of alcohol and tobacco, practicing deep breathing, and meditating. It's important to recognize when you need additional help, too. Connecting with your community can help you feel less alone and speaking with a psychologist or counselor can also be beneficial.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.