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These are the biggest mental health problems caused by quarantine, and 6 things you can do to prevent them

These are the biggest mental health problems caused by quarantine, and 6 things you can do to prevent them
  • Research into the psychological impact of quarantine indicates that extended isolation can have negative impacts on mental health, from increasing stress and sadness to igniting irritability and emotional anger.
  • Amy Morin, a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, and mental strength coach, says that there are different steps you can take to safeguard your mental wellness while social-distancing.
  • Morin recommends building a routine of healthy coping skills for when you're feeling down, staying physically active, and keeping in touch virtually with friends.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The pandemic changed most people's daily routines. School and daycare closures, workers being told to work remotely, and brick and mortar store closures have resulted in most people's lives being swiftly flipped upside down.

Just as stress levels rose, many of us also lost access to our go-to coping skills. We can't get together with loved ones. We can't go to the gym. And we can't do many of the fun activities that help moderate our stress.

It's the perfect recipe for mental health problems. So it's not surprising that researchers have discovered that quarantine can lead to a rise in mental illness.

Quarantine and the decline in mental health

Individual reactions to quarantine vary — along with the circumstances. Someone who lives alone and continues to work from home will have a very different experience than someone who loses their job and has children that need help with schoolwork during the quarantine.

Therefore, everyone's mental health is affected in a slightly different way. So while rates of depression and anxiety may increase, not everyone will develop symptoms that warrant a clinical diagnosis. This doesn't mean they won't still experience a decline in psychological well-being, however.

It's a common misconception that people are either mentally healthy or mentally ill. But in reality, mental health is a continuum. And on any given day, we may slide up the continuum toward better mental health, or we may slide down the continuum toward poorer mental health.

The stress related to quarantine causes many people to experience a decline in mental health.

A 2019 study published in The Lancet reviewed previous studies that assessed quarantine and the impact it had on mental health. Researchers discovered that during and after quarantine, people often experienced increased:

  • Sadness
  • Numbness
  • Fear
  • Insomnia
  • Low mood
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Anger
  • Confusion
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • Stress
  • Irritability
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Emotional disturbance

In addition to increased mental health issues, substance abuse may also increase during and after quarantine. The same study found that substance and alcohol dependency were more common up to three years after quarantines had ended.

How to stay mentally healthy

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to build mental strength and improve your mental health during and after quarantine.

Read the original article on Business Insider

6. Reach out for support

6. Reach out for support
Seek out virtual therapy or counseling. fizkes/Shutterstock

If you're feeling stressed out, or you've noticed a decline in your mood, seek professional help. Fortunately, you don't have to wait for quarantine to end to speak to a licensed mental health professional. You can get help from an online therapist in the comfort of your own home.

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5. Practice healthy self-care

5. Practice healthy self-care
Make self-care a priority during isolation. Lechatnoir/Getty Images

If you're not sleeping well, not eating well, and not caring for yourself, your mental health will decline. It's important to make sure you're taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually if you want to function at your best. So make self-care a priority to help you maintain your mental health.

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4. Stay active

4. Stay active
Try following online workout tutorials. Nitat Termmee/Getty Images

Physical activity does wonders for your mood and your mental health. If it's safe to do so, go outside and get some exercise. If not, find some workouts you can do from home. Physical activity is a powerful way to combat mental health problems.

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3. Connect with others

3. Connect with others
Stay in touch with loved ones over the phone. SammyVision/Getty Images

Whether you schedule a weekly video call with a loved one, or you text your friends throughout the day, stay connected with other people. Even on the days when you might not feel like you have much to say, reach out and say hello.

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2. Find healthy coping skills

2. Find healthy coping skills
Find new ways to decompress. Shutterstock

Think about strategies you can use to manage your stress right now. You may need to get a little creative if you can't rely on some of your usual coping skills (like going out with friends). Look for ways to relax, have fun, and enjoy life — like taking a virtual yoga class or watching a funny movie. Just make sure the coping skills you use don't create bigger problems in your life (which could happen if you turn to food or alcohol to feel better).

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1. Empower yourself

1. Empower yourself
Look at being on lockdown as an opportunity. Gu/Getting Images

If you view yourself as "being stuck," you'll feel like a victim. If, however, you tell yourself that you're choosing to stay home to help everyone stay safe, this will empower you. It will help you look at quarantine as an opportunity (where you can read more books or learn a new skill) rather than a threat to your well-being. And an outlook like this can help you stay strong.

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COVID-19IndiaCases: 936kDeaths: 24.3kRecovered: 592k
COVID-19WorldCases: 12.96MDeaths: 570kRecovered: 7.37M
COVID-19USACases: 3.28MDeaths: 134kRecovered: 1.04M