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Pandemic isolation erodes mental health in several ways | Living

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According to a recent poll, almost half of all adults in the United States report that a pandemic has worsened their mental health. Unfortunately, the measures taken to protect public health, such as closing schools, limiting staff, closing businesses, and moving away from society, have left isolation and loneliness. Cause further.

Here are some situations where isolation can be particularly detrimental to an individual’s mental health:

• Behavioral or developmental disorders: People with learning, language, physical movement or behavioral disabilities are at increased risk of anxiety and depression and can be exacerbated by isolation from others.

• Caregivers: During a pandemic, caring for an older parent or sick child can be particularly isolated. Keeping households safe from exposure to COVID-19 can mean that caregivers take on more work on their own rather than finding relief from outside assistance.

• Children: Due to the interruption of grades, many children may miss the social interactions that result from traditional activities. Adolescents at high risk of depression may experience greater reactions to new social limits.

• Grief of Loss: Losing family and friends is difficult in all circumstances, but pandemics make grief even more difficult due to travel and large gathering restrictions. Not being able to say goodbye or completely mourn someone’s loss can be traumatic.

• History of depression or anxiety: People with a history of depression and anxiety are at increased risk of adverse effects from isolation during a pandemic.

• Elderly: Adults over the age of 65 are at increased risk of being severely ill with COVID-19, and many need to take special precautions to stay away from others. Elderly people can be particularly isolated because of their high risk of depression and the lack of face-to-face support from friends and family.

Workaround

During this time, stress and change can be difficult to manage, so individuals should prioritize self-management to maximize their feelings. Here are some tips:

• Avoid drugs and alcohol.

• Connect with friends and family through phone, chat and video calls.

• Eat a healthy diet.

• Establish and maintain routines.

• Regular exercise.

• Get enough sleep.

• Take a break from news and social media.

Signs of pain

It is important to be aware of when the action mechanism is not working. Anyone who has consistently experienced these signs of distress or feels unable to perform normal functions should seek help:

•anger.

• Changes in appetite, energy or activity levels.

• Difficult to concentrate.

• Feelings of numbness, anxiety, and fear.

• Headache, body aches, stomach problems, or other physical reactions.

• Increased use of substances such as tobacco, drugs and alcohol.

• Exacerbation of chronic health problems.

Individuals should contact their healthcare provider to discuss their mental health concerns and potential treatment options. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available in English at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and in Spanish at 1-888-628-9454.

Dr. Christing Legory (DO) is the Director of Behavioral Health Medicine at Blue Cross Blue Shield, Michigan.See below for mental health tips AHealthierMichigan.org..

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