Salman Farsi Khan

Can Social isolation cause any psychological disorders?

Can social isolation cause us any psychological disorders? The answer is Yes, it can. Due to the coronavirus outbreak for several months, some countries around the world are implementing   strict lockdowns and curfews. Social isolation basically means to keep oneself away in contact with people by staying at home. It also means that physical interaction with others is avoided as well. But now, the question is, for how long can a person keep him/her in this situation? 

Prof. Rory O’Connor, from the University of Glasgow said,       “Increased social isolation, loneliness, stress and economic downturn are a perfect storm to harm people’s mental health from wellbeing.” He said nothing would risk a rise in conditions such as anxiety and depression, and more  people turning to alcohol, drugs and gambling, as well as other consequences, such as homelessness.

Reference: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52295894

Let us have a look at some effects that social isolation may cause to us:

1. The length of quarantine, with three studies indicating that a longer duration of quarantine for more than 10 days may cause post-traumatic stress symptoms, avoidance behaviors and anger.

2.  Frustration and boredom arising from the loss of usual routine and physical contact.

Reference: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/mental-health/news/What-is-the-impact-of-self-isolation-and-quarantining-on-our-mental-health.as

3. Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind said that the ultimate consequence of self isolation can be a rise in self-harm and suicides.

Ref: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52295894

4. For those who have been isolating for some time, predominantly the over 70s and those with existing medical conditions, repeated exposure to information highlighting their increased risks of dying or needing an intensive therapy unit (ITU), may heighten anxiety and depression. 

Ref: https://coronavirusexplained.ukri.org/en/article/pub0002/

After all such consequences, we also need some solutions to these problems. Some are mentioned below :

1. Professor Stephanie Cacioppo, an expert in behavioral neuroscience and psychiatry at the University of Chicago says adjusting our mindset and expectations is key to avoiding feelings of loneliness. This means accepting events are beyond our control and knowing that being away from the people and things we love is only temporary.

Ref: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-52196816

2.  To get virtually connected with people. Well this may be a common solution to all of us who has smartphones. For the people who are living alone, communicating with their friends and family through some apps like Skype, Messenger, Whatsapp etc. may help neutralize their loneliness.

3. Trying to maintain a daily routine with productive works.

Ref: https://www.priorygroup.com/blog/ways-to-cope-with-feeling-lonely-in-coronavirus-self-isolation

4. Emma Carrington, advice and information manager at Mental Health UK, says: “Do your best to eat well. If you haven’t got people who can bring food to you then see if you can sign up to home deliveries from your local supermarket.” In short, eat healthy.

Ref: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/coronavirus-mental-health-self-isolate-how-to-manage-quarantine-a9404431.html

This corona outbreak may give us a hard time inside our homes, but we still need to stay inside and remain mentally healthy as much as we can.


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