Quarantine’s link to anxiety and depression under investigation
Neurological scientists from Radboud University Medical Center are part of an international study into the exact impact the coronavirus and social isolation it brings with it has on people's state of mind. The researchers expect that social distancing and home isolation in particular will lead to anxiety and depression, AD reports.
The DynaMORE study is being conducted in 21 European countries, China, America, and Israel. It consists of an online survey that can be completed here. The questionnaire has already been competed by 10 thousand people, including some 500 Dutch. The survey will be online for another few weeks.
Most people usually have friends or family to fall back on when they're feeling down, for a positive view of the situation, appreciation, and a sense of security. Now they have only themselves to rely on, neurological scientist Judith van Leeuwen of Radboudumc said to AD. "Home isolation can lead to negative thoughts, insomnia, worrying, and a short fuse. In short term stress situations we see that most people recover, but we don't know whether this also applies to a crisis that lasts for months."
Uncertainty also adds to the psychological distress, she added. Nobody knows how long this crisis is going to last and when we can return to our normal lives. The economic consequences - like losing your job - can also weigh on the mind. Van Leeuwen thinks that a significant part of the Dutch population will develop so much anxiety that they will need psychological help to recover.
"We can see from early figures from China that many people suffer from anxiety and depression. In Europe too, we hear these sounds through the media: more domestic violence, friction in families, people who feel lonely. It is not unlikely that this situation can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder," Van Leeuwen said to the newspaper.
Past research showed that people who live alone or have had mental health problems in the past are slightly more at risk of developing new problems, Van Leeuwen said. "But this exceptional situation makes it difficult to predict. We have never experienced a global crisis of this magnitude before."
Van Leeuwen stressed that people should seek help when they feel bad. "Look for alternatives such as Facetime, Skype or Zoom to keep that social contact."