With the rapid and lethal spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, personal and global finances have been seriously affected and, consequently, society itself. Life as we knew it has changed and the psychological and emotional state of many people could become an alarming issue.
Rosmerys Bernal Piña
At the time of writing this article, more than 10 million people have been reported to be infected in the world and in 185 countries with 500,000 dead. And life is something else.
Routines, personal projects, short- and long-term plans have been frozen in time, in a hold-up that we hope ends soon. Nevertheless, the forecasts are not encouraging in this sense and many specialists are already talking of an endemic, as it could be that the virus does not disappear.
Scientists from all over the globe are developing candidate vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs in search of a cure for this disease; but there are still no conclusive studies. Social isolation and health and hygiene measures have become the main antidotes for this pandemic.
A group of specialists from the Faculty of Psychology at Havana University pointed out that Covid-19 has fractured the balance with which we used to live our daily lives.
Great concern exists about the unknown, as we go out of our comfort zones as part of the crisis and we must wait for whatever will happen.
The experts refer to diverse emotions that are breaking loose, often negative, strong and painful, which stop our routine methods of carrying out daily activities, expressing feelings and seeing reality.
Doctor Alexis Lorenzo Ruiz, President of the Cuban Society of Psychology, explained to Prensa Latina that, at a global level, this pandemic is considered a very stressful and life-threatening event, which could be seen as a catastrophic situation.
“The global population is frightened and frequently approaching paranoid behaviours (…) the quantity and variety of false or pseudoscientific information is generating severe pictures of anxiety and anguish, with marked uncertainty”, he said.
In this sense, he points out that it is even possible to get pictures of generalised anxiety and panic attacks, as well as restlessness, nervousness, fears, sadness, apathy, depression and hopelessness.
Many people also display a state of frustration, emotional reactions or feelings of exhaustion; even irritability and aggression towards other people.
Regarding the possible psychophysiological manifestations, the specialist indicates: pains of a different nature, insomnia, nightmares, decrease or loss of appetite, abandonment of personal hygiene and sudden changes in sexuality.
We are all vulnerable to contracting the disease; but perception, understanding, confrontation and both social and psychological impacts are going to be manifested in different ways in each human being.
Doctor Lorenzo Ruiz stated that this will depend on socio-demographic variables, levels of preparation, belief systems, levels of socio-economic and financial development, existence and consolidation of support networks, previous experiences, magnitude and essence of losses (direct and indirect), among other elements.
Adults over 60 years of age are considered a high-risk group as they often suffer from other conditions that can aggravate their clinical presentation in case they contract the virus.
This situation causes them to be very worried by these events, they can have a more negative perception of the situation and an increase in their feelings of vulnerability.
In doctor Alexis Lorenzo Ruiz’s opinion, all this is reflected in frequent displays of anguish, anxiety, unease, sadness and depression, even leading to pessimism and hopelessness.
Afterwards or simultaneously, insomnia, negativity, decrease or total loss of appetite and desire to bathe, converse and share with their family is shown, the specialist explained to the news agency.
On the other hand, social isolation measures can cause anxiety and depression in this age range; primarily in those who live alone. The decrease of their activities and routines, as well as social contact, can alter their state of mind and influence them negatively.
In the child and youth population, such psychological and social manifestations vary from one age to another, as their personalities are in the middle of development and training; therefore, family and socioeconomic living conditions are an influence.
Younger children can show dissatisfaction due to the impossibility of carrying out their habitual activities, such as games, or due to sudden changes in their timetables; while uncertainty may be evident in young people facing the possibility of achieving or not achieving their already defined future life plans or those still to be defined.
In this population group, their own living conditions in distancing and isolation have an influence on, for example, a greater consumption of new information technologies (mobile phones, computers, internet and social networks, among others), occasionally becoming excessively harmful and addictive. Cuban psychologists agree that the most vulnerable facing this situation are the elderly and children, which is why we must be attentive to their mood and support them emotionally. (PL)
(Translated by Donna Davison – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay