The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines quarantine as the separation and restriction of the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
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There is a lot of uncertainty and stress lingering during the pandemic. Thinking about how to spend your time during your quarantine days can take a serious toll on your mental health. Quarantine has an impact on three important elements of mental health - emotional well-being, psychological well-being and social well-being .
The fact that quarantine has left many people being confined to their homes has led to an increase in several health risks. These include depressive symptoms, impaired cognitive function, poor sleep, poor heart health and low immunity.
Even though quarantine is temporary, brief periods of loneliness and isolation can have harmful consequences on your mental well-being.
A study published in the journal The Lancet showed that people who were in quarantine reported psychological symptoms, which includes depression, stress, low mood, insomnia, irritability, emotional disturbance, anger, post-traumatic stress symptoms and emotional exhaustion .
The psychological symptoms were triggered due to longer quarantine duration, inadequate information, inadequate supplies, boredom, frustration, infection fears, stigma and financial loss.
Another study examined the psychological impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak that occurred in 2003. About 10 per cent of the people experienced post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTS) .
Long-term effects of quarantine were also seen three years after the SARS outbreak .
The psychological symptoms can be problematic only for people with pre-existing mental health problems.
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Some governments have come forward to address mental health concerns. Governments should be able to communicate quarantine measures effectively to the public while supplying essential supplies.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has listed down some ways to handle mental health problems.Ways to handle social isolation
If you experience anxiety, practice deep-breathing for a few minutes.
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Quarantine is better tolerated when people get accurate information about the nature of the disease and when people understand the role of quarantine to fight a pandemic.
Here are some ways to do so as suggested by The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
Being quarantined at home with family members provides an opportunity for families to come together and strengthen their bonds. For children, it can be a great time as they can spend ample quality time with their parents.
On the other hand, adolescents may be less enthusiastic and excited and they may feel bored. So, the best way to cope with mental health problems is by engaging in activities, thinking positive and staying connected with others.
The coronavirus outbreak has brought the whole world to a halt as almost all the countries are struggling to maintain their daily routine by quarantining themselves. Experts warn this prolonged isolation may trigger or worsen mental health problems.
Now that most countries are under lockdown to fight the pandemic, there is one section of people who are struggling with the lack of freedom, social activities, fresh air and exercise, making them bored and lonely. This can have an impact on people's mental well-being, which should not be overlooked.