Through A Screen Darkly Details Pandemic Mental Health Struggles
Dr. Ahron Friedberg’s Book Offers Context on CDC & KFF Data
In his latest book, Through a Screen Darkly: Psychoanalytic Reflections During the Pandemic, New York City psychiatrist Dr. Ahron Friedberg portrays a range of individuals dealing with mental health issues related to the pandemic, providing context for these harrowing recent statistics:
The average share of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depression almost quadrupled from January 2019 to June 2021
- 36% of adults report difficulty sleeping, 32% cited eating problems, and 12% reported increase in alcohol and substance abuse
- Communities of color and essential workers are suffering disproportionately
- Young adults, more likely to lose jobs and / or be in lockdowns, are also suffering disproportionately
- Suspected suicide attempts have increased in teenagers, especially girls
Commenting on the statistics, Dr. Friedberg stated: Stress has physical as well as mental consequences. It weakens the immune system and increases the incidence of major depression as well cardiac and pulmonary issues.
Friedberg continues: I coined the term Post-COVID Re-entry Syndrome to describe the stress that people suffer as they re-enter the workforce, reconnect with friends and family, and attempt to resume some semblance of a normal life.
To manage this anxiety, Dr. Friedberg recommends:
- Taking a walk outdoors
- Connecting with friends and family – safely
- Self- Reflection
If symptoms become severe, he recommends consulting a trained mental health professional. Primary care physicians and clergy can also provide resource and emotional support.
The ultimate goal is to bolster your resilience, states Dr. Friedberg. In my experience counseling patients through the pandemic, I found that they had greater capacity for resilience than they realized. Deploying this resilience was their pathway to successfully managing their mental health.
Through a Screen Darkly offers practical examples of how patients coped with these conditions and (in many cases) found the resilience to get past them.
In addition to Through a Screen Darkly, Dr. Friedberg wrote Psychotherapy and Personal Change: Two Minds in a Mirror with Dr. Sandra Sherman. With Dr. Jack Hirschowitz, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai, he wrote Flashing Seven: Seven Essential Skills for Living and Leading. With his father, Dr. Eugene Friedberg, he wrote Between Us, A Father and Son Speak.
Through a Screen Darkly is available for purchase at amazon.com.
ABOUT DR. AHRON FRIEDBERG:
Dr. Ahron Friedberg, M.D. is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Manhattan. At Mount Sinai, Dr. Friedberg served as Co-Chair of the Psychiatry Advisory Board and has helped develop and lead several academic and teaching initiatives including their Innovations in Psychiatry Symposium. Dr. Friedberg also directs the Symposium, a national meeting held annually at Mount Sinai. He has participated in clinical research as part of the Department’s Mood and Anxiety Program, which focuses on translational neuroscience and understanding resilience.
Dr. Friedberg has served twice as national President of the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians. He was named first Executive Editor of International Psychoanalysis.net, a highly regarded online psychoanalytic resource. In addition, he is an Acquisitions Editor of International Psychoanalytic Books, Book Editor of Psychodynamic Psychiatry, Editor of the American Academy of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis Academy Forum, elected chair of the International Council of Editors, Psychoanalytic Journals, as well as a regular contributor to Psychology Today.
His research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including The Psychoanalytic Review, The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Neuro-psychoanalysis, and Psychodynamic Psychiatry. Dr. Friedberg’s writing focuses on the treatment of anxiety and trauma, clinical technique, and the concepts of resilience, consciousness, and desire in psychoanalysis. He has received awards for excellence in writing, in addition to originality and scholarship.
For more information on Dr. Ahron Friedberg, visit his site.