The coronavirus has globally infected nearly every country. Initial disbelief gave way to panic and fear of life-threatening and understandable fear of an unknown disease. In defense against a rapidly spreading infectious disease, authorities in most states imposed national “quarantines.” These procedures, in addition to their important benefits, had (and still have) some secondary effects: a slowing down of the economy and a reduction in social contact. There was also the danger of another kind of epidemic developing – a rapid increase in mental disorders and diseases. A COVID-19 pandemic caused by coronavirus could have a huge negative impact on the mental health and well-being of a large part of the world’s population. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health is likely to have more far-reaching effects than on physical ailments. Psychologists believe that one of the most common problems could be the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder and misophobia.
Many people will feel anxious even after the pandemic is over, for example because of the potential threat of another strain of coronavirus or related to an uncertain future. Another problem is chronic loneliness due to prolonged isolation and loss of social ties or voluntary withdrawal from social life to reduce stressful triggers, as well as the resulting increase in addictions due to loneliness (to alcohol, games, the internet).
Regular physical activity and contact with other people, not only the immediate family, are essential for maintaining mental health. Unfortunately, their absence can promote its deterioration. The forced situation of being with the same people in a relatively small space can also have a negative impact on family relations. On the one hand, having to work from home helps save time on the commute, but on the other hand, it makes it harder to maintain a healthy balance between work, personal life and leisure.
Most people can adapt to an crisis situation. A healthy mobilization occurs. However, in a situation of prolonged stress, the adaptive capacity of the human psyche begins to deplete. Prolonged exposure to stress primarily increases the risk of developing depressive and anxiety symptoms and disorders. It can both be a trigger for the onset of symptoms in previously healthy individuals, as well as cause a worsening of the course of existing psychiatric disorders.
The deterioration of mental health caused by both the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath (e.g., social isolation) necessitates appropriate action. Both mental health promotion and improved access to professional psychiatric and psychological care become important. In most cases, the key is to enable therapeutic and medical support in specialized clinics, consultations both on-site and remotely.
The impact of COVID-19 on mental health is not just an increase in depression, drug disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder. A pandemic, it has fostered the development of mental health disorders that significantly reduce quality of life. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has changed the picture of daily functioning in family, school, and work, which is not without its impact on mental health.