The Covid-19 lockdowns introduced as a counter-measure to the pandemic in many parts of the world have had a massive effect on our lifestyles. Things that we previously took for granted are now taken away, regardless of the fact that the suspension is temporary.

Having to spend most of your time at home cut off from society can affect mental health in more ways than one. Research on the topic of quarantines and mental health has already been carried out. Here are some of the most important findings.

Is Quarantine Ruining Your Mental Health?

The Covid-19 pandemic is still a new occurrence. This is why research on its effects is still largely limited. Previous studies on quarantines and mental health shed a lot of insight into the current situation.

On March 14, 2020, a research team presented its findings in the reputable Lancet journal. The clinicians examined 24 mental health studies that looked at the connection between quarantines and psychological problems. These were conducted during previous pandemics with SARS, the H1N1 flu and others.

Unsurprisingly, quarantined individuals experienced both short-term and long-term mental health effects.

Some of the most common mental health issues that quarantined individuals had to deal with included stress, insomnia and sleep disturbances, anxiety, emotional exhaustion and even substance abuse.

In one of the studies examined, 34 percent of quarantined individuals (or 938 people) reported high levels of psychological stress in comparison to only 12 percent of people who were not subjected to a quarantine.

Another study that was conducted during the SARS outbreak and it examined the mental health of hospital workers in Beijing who had to be quarantined. Almost half of all hospital workers enrolled in the study reported alcohol abuse for a period that was three years longer than the period of alcohol abuse for healthcare workers who didn’t work in high risk settings.

Isolation Does Not Have to Affect Mental Health

Although isolation and social distancing can be very unpleasant, negative effects on mental health leading to more serious problems can be avoided.

In the current settings when the Circuit Breaker period has just been extended, there’s some probability for social distancing to turn into a long-term occurrence. Thus, mental health professionals are considering strategies that can mitigate some of the most common risks and help the vast majority of people emerge stronger from the isolation.

Quarantine does seem to produce timeframe-dependent negative effects if not managed properly. The longer a person is kept in isolation, the more anxiety and stress they seem to go through. Such negative effects start becoming profound and all-encompassing after a few weeks of social distancing.

The elderly and people who live on their own are at an especially high risk of suffering from extreme loneliness and anxiety. These can easily contribute to the development of unhealthy mental states.

In addition, older people already live in a world that is characterised by high levels of social distancing. US reports suggest that a quarter of Americans aged 65 or older are already isolated in their day-to-day life. Elderly people are less capable of socialising with new people and they’re also less likely to master the digital technologies that allow for the effortless maintenance of long-distance relationships.

Families and friends can counter such occurrences by coming closer together with the means available to them, even if they are not staying in the same household.

In Singapore, individuals are allowed to take care of older family members as long as the circuit breaker measures are fully-embraced. Family and friends not living in the same household having started checking in with each other frequently via phone and other means of communication like video calls when lockdowns are introduced. Here are some methods to manage your mental well-being during this period of social distancing.

New technologies also simplify the process of remote psychological and medical assistance. What matters in such instances is for the person dealing with some kind of distress to reach out after acknowledging they need help.

Take Good Care of Your Mental Health

Chances are that you’re currently worried more than usual because of the risks presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s also possible to experience loneliness, regardless of your living arrangements.

The current moment makes it very important to pay attention to your feelings and the way these are impacting your everyday life.

Some mental health problems can have a debilitating effect.

If you find it difficult to get out of bed, to perform simple everyday tasks or maintain focus, you should get in touch with a mental health professional. The same applies to a sudden loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Apathy and listlessness could be indicative of depression. Don’t ignore such feelings and don’t wait for things to get better on their own. Depression starts a downward spiral and once the descend starts, many people find it impossible to get back up on their own.

Seek Help!

While the Singapore circuit breaker measures make it harder to get a person-to-person consultation with a psychologist, you can still get assistance.

Remote therapy and consultancy sessions are still taking place at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. Make use of such opportunities if you feel that something has gone really wrong with your inner peace and emotional balance.

The Adelphi Psych Medicine team of experienced psychiatrists and psychologists in Singapore is ready to help you, albeit remotely.

Do not hesitate to reach out. Use the form on the Contact Us page and let us know what issue you’re dealing with. One of our team members will get back to you as soon as possible. Depending on the specifics of the situation, we’ll either consult you remotely or we’ll be capable of scheduling a person-to-person session that adheres to all circuit breaker guidelines.

Social distancing is pushing us all really hard but the situation will get resolved. Until that happens, remember to take good care of yourself, engage in enjoyable activities like frequent exercise if you can, rest and spend time with loved ones even if the goal can solely be accomplished remotely.