Long after a COVID-19 vaccination is developed and years after the coronavirus death toll is tallied, the impact on mental health will linger, continuing to inflict damage if not addressed, according to new research. Michael Zvolensky, University of Houston Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and director of the Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory/Substance Use Treatment Clinic, has published two papers discussing the psychological, addictive and health behavior issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic from a behavioral science perspective.
“The impact of COVID-19 on psychological symptoms and disorders, addiction and health behavior is substantial and ongoing and will negatively impact people’s mental health and put them at greater risk for chronic illness and drug addiction,” reports Zvolensky in Behaviour Research and Therapy. “It will not equally impact all of society. Those at greater risk are those that have mental health vulnerabilities or disorders.”