The coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in depression and anxiety in the U.S., a recent survey found

By Ally Mauch
June 05, 2020 01:29 PM
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The FDA announced a shortage of the antidepressant Zoloft and its generic version, sertraline, as the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in reports of depression and anxiety in the U.S.

The FDA posted the announcement of the shortage to its website Friday, estimating that it will last about 60 days.

The short supply of the commonly used antidepressant comes just days after researchers at Johns Hopkins University found an increase in psychological distress reported among U.S. adults during the pandemic.

The survey, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 13.6 percent of U.S. adults reported symptoms of psychological distress in April 2020, compared to 3.9 percent in 2018.

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The increase in symptoms of psychological distress is most severe in younger adults aged 18 to 29 — going from 3.7 percent in 2018 to 24 percent in 2020 — and in Hispanic adults (18.3 percent in 2020 compared to 4.4 in 2018).

Adults with an annual household income of less than $35,000 also showed a significant increase — 19.3 percent reported psychological distress in 2020, up from 7.9 percent in 2018.

"We need to prepare for higher rates of mental illness among U.S. adults post-COVID," Dr. Emma McGinty, one of the report’s co-authors, told Science Daily.

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"It is especially important to identify mental illness treatment needs and connect people to services, with a focus on groups with high psychological distress including young adults, adults in low-income households, and Hispanics," she added.

The disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including high unemployment, financial uncertainty, social distancing and fear of contracting the illness, could all be contributing factors in the increase, Science Daily reports.

Dr. Kevin Gilliland, a clinical psychologist and director of Innovation360, an outpatient resource center, and member of PEOPLE’s Health Squad, said that he’s seen an increased need for help from his longtime patients and from new sufferers.

“There are a lot more people that need counsel and guidance,” he told PEOPLE in May. “You’re having feelings of isolation and loneliness like you’ve never had before. Everybody’s psychological health has taken a hit.”

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