Currently in the US, there are still active cases of Covid-19 in most states, and although many have managed to flatten the curve, that doesn’t mean it’s something we can forget about any time soon (if ever).
With much of the world having experienced some level of quarantine, and many countries and states still adhering to certain social distancing laws, isolation is bound to impact the mental health of millions of people.
When it comes to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), there are two things we want to cover in this article. Firstly, how to deal with your ongoing PTSD while you’re in quarantine; and secondly, how you cope with PTSD as a result of quarantine.
Dealing With Ongoing PTSD While In Quarantine
If you are living with PTSD, being isolated in quarantine may feel as though a full step backwards on your road to recovery. However, there are many ways you can cope with your symptoms, even if you’re feeling cut off from family, friends and your work. To start with, stay away from alcohol and drugs, and instead, spend more time outside. Take a walk, meditate, enjoy nature, and just breathe.
Exercise can work wonders with mood disorders as it releases endorphins that have a positive impact on your mental health – not to mention it’s excellent for your physical health as well. You might not be in a position to take up a new sport, but if you have found yourself with ample spare time (you may have lost your job or you’re now working from home), try something new. The entire world has experienced lockdown of some type, so the amount of YouTube videos offering free lessons and classes for things like martial arts, weight training or aerobics has increased dramatically.
Most importantly, remember you’re not alone. There is an abundance of online support groups that you can join to talk to people who are in the same position as you – or who at least understand where you’re at mentally.
PTSD As A Result Of Quarantine
Although PTSD is often associated with war, it has also been found in people who have experienced or seen a traumatic event, such as an accident, assault or abuse. It is also prevalent in people who have experienced a significant health scare themselves, or who have witnessed repeated trauma due to their career (police, ambulance, firefighters). As such, there’s a genuine threat that PTSD cases could spike as a result of Covid-19.
While there’s no sure way to tell what the future holds, many specialists can only go by what has happened in the past – and as such, are looking back on studies conducted during other pandemics. According to quarantine studies following the SARS epidemic, symptoms of PTSD and depression were observed in around 1/3 of people who were quarantined. The longer these people were in quarantine, the worse their symptoms were.
The study also found that healthcare workers had higher rates of PTSD, substance abuse and avoidance behavior than ever before. And people who had direct exposure to someone with SARS diagnosis also had higher levels of PTSD and depressive symptoms.
Taking Care Of Your Loved Ones
If you have concerns about a loved one, pay particular attention to their behavior. People who are suffering from PTSD may be very emotional, often cry, feel anxious, have trouble sleeping, and they may get angry very quickly. They can become dependent on alcohol or drugs, experience flashbacks and fear, and lose interest or pleasure in activities.
If you have concerns about someone you love, or if you need someone to talk to, get in touch with our team today. We’re here for you.