COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a highly contagious, infectious disease caused by a new virus

COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a health crisis as well as a significant economic impact. Alongside protection for everyone, support is needed for first responders, caregivers, and small businesses. Beyond those groups, many others are vulnerable to health issues brought about by the pandemic and the resulting economic changes.

What can we do about COVID-19, and how does it affect people? Let’s take a look at some key concerns.

COVID-19 Illness

While some people might not experience symptoms, others might compare their experience of COVID-19 to a cold. Another group of people could contract the virus and be more unwell than they’ve ever been before.

Others, including those at high risk, such as the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions, or a compromised immune system, could need to be hospitalized or die from the virus and its complications.

The virus is mutating into different strands. Research and observations from healthcare providers are essential to understand how contagious it is and what kinds of symptoms people will experience.

Ongoing Complications

A significant but relatively small percentage of people will experience long-term side effects after contracting COVID-19. These people can be split into two main groups:

  • Those hospitalized who might experience difficulties from being intubated
  • Cases in the community who might not have been severely ill but now have a debilitating illness

Post-COVID-19 syndrome or Long Covid can prevent people from returning to work and can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Research, healthcare, economic support, and recognition of the new condition can help people recover.

COVID-19 Measures

Understanding how virulent or contagious a particular strain of COVID-19 is can help determine the precautions people should take. Providing these details, backed by science, helps people make informed decisions.

Other measures to protect people from COVID-19 include:

  • Providing suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Providing testing so that people with COVID-19 can isolate from others
  • Implementing social distancing measures according to the level of risk

There are also economic activities to support people during the hardship brought about by the pandemic. These include:

  • Emergency funds for schools to implement safety guidelines
  • Emergency relief or forgiveness for student loans
  • Support packages for small businesses
  • Healthcare support and a standard level of care for all

Vaccinations

Producing and distributing vaccinations is another protection method against COVID-19. When developing and offering vaccines, it’s essential to:

  • Make them widely available
  • Clearly explain any risks and side effects
  • Make guidelines for immunocompromised people
  • Make guidelines for people who can’t have the vaccine

At every stage, it’s crucial to follow data backed by science and to include a wide range of medical viewpoints.

Collaborating Internationally

Collaboration with international partners plays a pivotal role during a pandemic and any other global crisis. By communicating with other countries and international health bodies, the US can read early warning signs for surges in cases, improve best practices, and share resources as necessary.

Responsive and Proactive

Risk levels of COVID-19 fluctuate based on the time of year, the virus itself, and the measures in place. Responding quickly and being proactive about having the necessary equipment and procedures can help save lives. Lessons can be learned from handling the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare for other national and global crises in the future.

Addiction

Compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful

Addiction

Addiction has affected millions of people for many generations. When we think of addiction, we usually think about drug addiction. However, there are many other things we can get addicted to, like social media and gambling.

What else can we get addicted to? What causes addiction? Can we treat it? We’re here to answer those questions and more here.

Type of Addictions

When we talk about addiction, we tend to think about drug or alcohol addiction. While those two are the most common, those aren’t the only addictions. Other addictions are-

  • Television
  • Social media
  • Exercise
  • Shopping
  • Gambling
  • Gaming
  • And more

Addiction is a slippery slope. When we first use or do something, our brain releases dopamine as a reward. This reward causes cravings, the first sign of addiction. When we continue to use or do something, we eventually tolerate it, which produces less dopamine. That means we’ll have to use or do more to get that high.

We lose interest in what we used to love because those interests don’t release as much dopamine as what we’re addicted to. Eventually, we lose control. This results in job loss, relationship problems, health issues, and more.

There are two types of addictions- chemical addiction and behavioral addiction. Chemical addiction refers to the usage of substances like drugs and alcohol, while behavioral addiction refers to compulsive behaviors that we carry out even if there is no benefit.

What Causes Addiction?

Many factors cause addiction, but the main three we’ll be looking at are genetics, mental health disorders, and environmental factors.

Genetics are traits passed down from parents to children, accounting for around 40 to 60% of our risk of addiction. Addiction is considered moderate to high in heritability, meaning our genes can impact risks the closer the genetic relationship is. Some substances, like cannabis, have a higher genetic risk than others.

What is also genetic is a mental health disorder. Those with said disorders are more at risk for addiction than other populations. Mentally ill people tend to use drugs for self-medication to cope with their mental health issues. Those with anxiety, conduct, or mood disorders are twice as likely to deal with addiction.

Of course, genetics do not always play a role in addiction. The environment matters, too. Living in an unstable or abusive household makes us more likely to become addicted. Other environmental factors that may cause addiction include-

  • Peer pressure
  • Presence of drugs at home/school
  • Community attitude and influence
  • Poor academic achievements
  • Parental drug use and criminal activity
  • Trauma (abuse, witnessing violence, divorce, etc.)

Treatment

There are many ways to treat addiction and its root causes. Some of the most popular treatments are residential treatment centers and therapy. Most residential treatment centers offer psychotherapy and addiction counseling to help with recovery. There are also support groups where we can recover with others dealing with addiction.

In some cases, medication can prevent relapses for those dealing with substance abuse, but it’s typically used in combination with other methods.

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for treatment, so we must try some methods to see which ones will work best for us.