Isolation and its impact on mental well-being

Going from active daily routines to repetitive days for a long time is affecting body and mind.

The confinement, according to the psychologist Álvaro Martínez, is unleashing mental health problems in many people. Those who were used to going out to the office every day, then having lunch at the usual restaurant, meeting friends at the bar and returning home at night may be having a bad time.

Martínez compares the feeling that many Colombians are experiencing with what it feels like when someone retires. “At that time people get stressed and the mind begins to get anxious because the routine changes,” explains the specialist.

He adds that although many individuals adapt to this new reality, other people do not experience the same process because each one faces situations differently. Ultimately, there are those who become a little aggressive and others who lose interest in what motivated them before.

“The person to be locked in a space begins to experience feelings of disinterest, when this isolation is longer the mind becomes susceptible to any disorder,” he explains.

According to Martínez, in this extensive quarantine, people are prone to developing anxiety disorders, episodes of paranoia and aggravate obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Imagine a person with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). At this time, their behaviors can be multiplied by up to 100 ”, she says. This, due to constant messages of extreme hygiene measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, for example.

According to the expert, the mental health of many people is at risk and predicts that after the emergency is over, patients who require psychological consultations will multiply. Either from the exacerbation of a disorder or because during that time he began to develop one.

The cognitive part can also be severely affected due to confinement.

Confinement and reduced social interaction can lead to a reduction in the ability to identify and track memories.

The prefrontal part of the brain, which is in charge of managing attention and language, is the most affected in this whole process.

Older adults are the most affected. A study by the Manuela Beltrán University of Bogotá showed that 46% of 200 people analyzed, at an average age of 71 years, have presented deterioration of cognitive processes in quarantine.

According to the expert, this is because they are not developing their activities as they did before, so there is little cognitive stimulation.

Martínez states that, for example, some people due to this situation can read a text and not understand it, they decrease reading comprehension.

Emphasize that there may be an aggravation in Alzheimer’s patients. In this case, it is best to keep most of the activities that were contemplated in your daily routines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had already warned about the impact on mental health that the quarantine would generate.

“The current situation, with isolation, fear, uncertainty and economic crisis, can cause psychological disorders,” said Dévora Kestel, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

According to the WHO, anguish is the most experienced sensation in countries that have been hit hardest by COVID-19.


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