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Depression, Anxiety in U.S. Adults More Severe During Pandemic

Last Updated: October 13, 2021.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There was an increase in depression and anxiety scores among U.S. adults from August to December 2020, followed by a decrease, correlating with the average daily number of COVID-19 cases, according to research published in the Oct. 8 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Haomiao Jia, Ph.D., from the Mailman School of Public Health and School of Nursing at Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues examined trends in reported anxiety and depression among U.S. adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia during Aug. 19, 2020, to June 7, 2021.

The researchers observed a 13 percent increase in the average anxiety severity score nationally from Aug. 19 to 31, 2020, to December 9 to 21, 2020 (average percentage change [APC] per survey wave, 1.5 percent), followed by a 26.8 percent decrease from Dec. 9 to 21, 2020, to May 26 to June 7, 2021 (APC, −3.1 percent). During the same time periods, the average depression severity score increased 14.8 percent (APC, 1.7 percent), then decreased 24.8 percent (APC, −2.8 percent). State-specific trends were generally similar to national trends; anxiety and depression scores peaked during the Dec. 9 to 21, 2020, or Jan. 6 to 18, 2021, survey waves in most states. During the entire study period, there was a positive correlation noted for the frequency of anxiety and depression symptoms with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases.

"Mental health services and resources, including telehealth behavioral services, are critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19," the authors write.

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