The COVID-19 outbreak took place in Wuhan, China that resulted in the complete lockdown of the city to prevent further spread of the disease.
However, the virus transmitted further, and consequently, the whole country was under quarantine as the condition was worsening. This lockdown proved to be successful, and by the mid of February 2020, there was a decline in the number of cases.
After the recovery of china, the pandemic spread in most of the countries that resulted in the complete lockdown. People under quarantine are facing various psychological problems.
Factors Leading to the Psychological Impacts of Quarantine
There are several stressors that lead to the psychological effects of quarantine. These can be frustration, deficient supplies, social distancing, and inaccurate information. Following are explained some of these factors:
Social distancing can lead to isolation. Although a healthy person can stay indoors with his family, still he has to keep up distancing from people to stay safe from the virus transmission.
As a result of this isolation, an individual faces depression, negativity, and frustration. To prevent oneself from these issues, one must engage in various healthy activities. Maintaining online contact with their family and friends can be helpful as well.
2- The Time Span of Quarantine
A major cause leading to the psychological effects is the duration of the quarantine. Normally, an infected person stays under quarantine for 14 days as the virus is unable to transmit after that.
However, this duration can vary from person to person, depending upon the severity of the case.
Studies show that a longer duration of quarantine has led the patients to frustration, avoidance behavior, and depression.
3- Fear of Getting Infected
People are extremely afraid of getting infected, most of which include pregnant women, aged people, and diabetic patients.
Moreover, the already infected patients fear of infecting other people, their family members, and children. The healthcare workers also fall prey to these fears. These suspicions might lead to poor mental health.
4- Deficient or Unauthentic Information
Whenever in history such outbreaks have taken place; people have created hype out of it and worsened the condition due to lack of knowledge.
Inaccurate information about the spreading disease can be chaotic. At times the healthcare workers and the government officials fail to make people realize the severity of the pandemic or epidemic.
Psychological Impacts after the Containment of Pandemic
Other than the psychological effects during quarantine, there are various post-quarantine psychological impacts as well.
Patients after completing their duration of quarantine, still face its psychological effects like suspicions, isolation, avoidance behavior, and depression.
Some of the impacts of quarantine are explained as follows:
1- The delusion of virus transmission
Even after the containment of the outbreak in China, many people are still afraid of getting infected. This is because the fear of virus transmission is now in the subconscious of the population.
People have started to avoid social gatherings, thronged places, and meeting friends.
The main reason behind this avoidance behavior is that the masses are psychologically affected by this pandemic. To overcome this impact, one must understand that the conditions are now stable, and there are no chances to get infected anymore.
2- Financial Issues
Due to the lockdown, there is a major drop in financial stats all over the world. These financial losses have caused severe anguish among societies.
As this issue is long-lasting and the recovery might take a lot of time, people are frustrated and suffer from depression and anxiety. In the past outbreaks, people who had low-income suffered a lot and were unable to fulfill their routine expenses.
3- Avoiding People who once got Infected
Healthcare workers and quarantined participants faced a lot of stigmatization. People avoided them as they were once infected and quarantined.
Even after the full recovery, they were treated differently in their societies, neighborhoods, and public places. These outbreaks have always lead to intra-family conflicts.
These problems seem to be long-lasting and can create mental distress among the masses.
How to Overcome the Psychological Effects of Quarantine?
Quarantine has always been a successful preventive measure in infectious disease outbreaks.
However, this article is about the negative psychological impacts of quarantine and methods to cope up with these effects.
These impacts are mostly due to insufficient and erroneous information about infectious diseases.
Providing people with accurate information is the responsibility of healthcare workers and government officials.
By keeping people informed about the ultimate consequences of the disease and the importance of self-isolation, individuals are convinced to maintain social distancing.
Other than this, studies show that healthcare workers should make the infected people feel like a survivor instead of a victim.
Maintaining online contact with family and friends play a major role in preventing people from depression and loneliness.
Engaging oneself in healthy and productive activities aids in the mental health of individuals.
Moreover, the duration of quarantine is a major factor in poor mental health. Extension in the span of quarantine can create distress and frustration among people under quarantine.
To overcome these impacts of quarantine, the responsible departments should keep the duration short as scientifically proven.
The government must financially support the families with low income as the lockdown affects the finances as well.
Providing the masses with adequate supplies rapidly can relax their mental statuses as well.
Here is an Infographic that will show you more about how to manage the psychological effects of quarantine.
After going through this article and Infographic we can conclude that the stressors leading to poor mental health can be managed by taking several preventive measures.
The purpose of this article is not to contradict the concept of quarantine but to highlight its psychological effects. Providing meaningful activities, sufficient supplies, and accurate information is helpful in the relaxation of mental state. People can cope up with these long-lasting with the help of healthcare workers and public health officials.