Today’s high school seniors are living through a unique historical event. Being born in the aftermath of 9/11, they find themselves graduating in a global pandemic. According to a Henry Ford Health System-based family medicine physician, they are at a tender age of development, and so it is even more critical to realize the severity of what they are living through. While they are connected to each other through social media, they also must stay apart because of social distancing.
Most states have banned every non-essential activity and have asked people to stay home. This form of social distancing might help to limit the aggressive spread of COVID-19 or gradually flatten the curve. One of the major security protocols to stay secure from COVID-19 is social distancing. As the world is practicing social distancing diligently, the mental health experts have started warning people about the psychological impacts of this act. Dennis Begos,a medical expert observes and analyses insightful views on side effects of social distancing
Dennis Begos discusses the side-effects of social distancing
Psychiatrists from Uniformed Services University in Bethesda say that for a few people, the lack of social connections is similar to not eating food–nearly impossible. The medical study and research on the psychological impacts of social distancing are limited. However, according to a new March 14 Lancet review, one can read about a few essential clues. The researchers assessed 24 studies checking the psychological effects of people who were in quarantine, at the time of Ebola, SARS, H1N1 flu, as well as other fatal ailments occurring in the early 2000s.
Several quarantined individuals witnessed both long-term and short-term mental health issues, like substance abuse, stress, emotional exhaustion, and insomnia. Studies compared the emotional and the mental health differences between non-quarantined and quarantined people during the influenza outbreak. From a list of 2,760 quarantined people, approximately 938 recorded increased psychological distress. They exhibited mental health issues like depression and anxiety in comparison to 12% of the non-quarantined people.
The other study observed the impact of 2003 SARS on 549 hospital caregivers in Beijing. Those who worked in a high-risk environment or were quarantined recorded increased alcohol abuse for three years in comparison to workers present in less strenuous conditions.
Teenagers feel restless during COVID-19 social distancing
The prefrontal cortexes of people are not fully developed until they are in their mid-to-late twenties. This is why teenagers often feel invincible and why the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing might impact them differently than it does adults. Teenagers are undergoing a mixture of conflicting emotions, so they need careful attention and parental guidance.
What contributes to trauma and mental issues?
Specific factors maximized the risk of psychological issues, for instance, the fourteen-day quarantine period. This long period of isolation is often linked to post-traumatic stress. Initially, medical experts weren’t able to provide the exact rationale for quarantine, which confused some people. Also, the initial absence of necessary supplies and restricted movement contributed to mental chaos and restlessness, which triggered people differently.
On the other hand, psychiatrists from King’s College London assert that social isolation and distancing is an unpleasant process. But when executed correctly, it shouldn’t endanger people’s mental health as it did in the past.