Surviving a pandemic is only half the battle. It s time to barricade the psyche

The rules of social isolation introduced to protect us from coronavirus infection do not have a good effect on our psyche.

Remote work, no contact with friends and partial enclosure in our own four walls are for many of us completely new realities, to which we had to adapt. Many experts say that these types of changes can trigger another pandemic - it's about an increase in the incidence of mental disorders.

Barricading ourselves in our own four walls does not serve our psyche

It is not only about limiting our interpersonal contacts. Home isolation also means limited contact with nature and a decrease in physical activity. This combination, unfortunately, causes many of us to increase stress levels.

Tomasz M. Gondek, MD, specialist psychiatrist, member of the Early Career Psychiatrists Committee of the European Psychiatric Association believes that pandemic conditions will contribute to a greater incidence of anxiety disorders, mood disorders and increase the incidence of depression. The psychiatrist warns that in extreme cases they will also contribute to the development of addiction to alcohol or psychoactive substances taken as part of immediate coping with the current situation.

Gondek also claims that the rules of social distance from each other in public places can cause us to - to a lesser or greater extent - perceive strangers as a threat to our health.

- The pandemic, which forced us to isolate in a sudden, radical way, however, showed us how difficult experience for us is to significantly limit the possibility of direct contact with other people. Perhaps we will be able to take advantage of this lesson and in times after the outbreak of the epidemic we will not only not be afraid to look at others, but we will again begin to pay more attention to cultivating interpersonal relationships - says Gondek.

Brain changes

More and more research suggests that social isolation leads to an increase in the concentration of acute phase proteins in the blood, i.e. C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, which are inflammatory markers. According to researchers, their increased level is a natural response of our body to the state of danger.

By default, this is more about all types of infections or injuries, but scientists suggest that isolation can be perceived by our body very similarly, i.e. as another threat. It may have a connection with our evolutionary mechanism, according to whose being part of the community reduces the risk of potential encounter with a predator.

Long-term persistence of elevated levels of inflammatory markers in the body can lead to further health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, ischemic heart disease, etc.

What to do, how to live?

The chronic state of the pandemic probably made you and me lazy. Return to any physical activity, even in very limited home conditions, is a good idea to start. If you have a secluded place nearby, then in addition to physical exertion, you can begin to dose yourself the contact with nature, which is also recommended by experts.

The third, quite valuable advice is to renew and maintain regular contact with friends and family. Despite loosening the isolation regulations, our contacts with other people may have deteriorated and become rarer than before the pandemic. It is worth fixing it, even remotely. It may seem to us that we have fully adapted to the new, pandemic lifestyle, but these are just appearances. It's not worth staying too long in survival mode.

Surviving a pandemic is only half the battle. It's time to barricade the psyche


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