COVID-19 could spark a mental-health tsunami
2020-03-25 from www.theglobeandmail.com
It’s peculiar to think we could be watching the neuroses of a generation developing in real time. It wouldn’t be so bad if the religious hand-washing sticks, of course. But the other, suddenly normal new behaviours – the hoarding of disinfectants, the wide berth we give each other on the streets, the unfamiliar anxiety crowds of people now provoke – could be the lingering psychosocial effects of a global emergency that has upended our lives so abruptly and completely.
Children of the Great Depression still cringe at food waste. Now, we might keep bottles of Lysol in our storage closets in a perpetual state of “just in case.”
The COVID-19 pandemic poses an urgent threat to both the physical welfare of individuals and the collective economic health of our communities. But there’s also a looming mental-health crisis just waiting to erupt, poised to compound what is already a massively volatile global situation. A few new neuroses in the long term might be the best-case scenario. Depending on how long we’re forced to exist in this suspended state, it could get a whole lot worse.
There are acute mental-health issues: addicts in recovery without access to physical meetings; economic anxiety from job losses, financial instability and business closures; depression fuelled by physical seclusion; feelings of isolation, loneliness, panic and fear. Issues like child abuse and intimate-partner violence are often exacerbated by isolation, which is something we’re now supposed to embrace for the foreseeable future for the sake of our physical health.
For those who suffer with anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia and panic disorder, the virus has weirdly validated many of the fears they’ve long worked to counter as irrational. Imagine years of therapy to train your brain out of the thought that something bad will happen if you don’t wash your hands seven times, only to be suddenly bombarded with messages about the critical importance of washing your hands. Then add on the realization that you can’t find hand sanitizer anywhere.
Read more here