Anxiety is difficult to detect for many people because the body builds defenses to contain it
Today it is impossible to have an accurate picture of what the “new normal” will be like, which can generate anxiety in many people who will have to leave home in the coming days and that will accumulate to that generated by confinement.
The current situation leaves many questions open that increase uncertainty, and that generates an increase in anxiety, “said José Javier Mendoza, an academic at the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
However, what usually happens in situations like this is that people will normalize the new situations that are experienced after confinement, he said.
As time goes by, we will get used to anxiety, just as a violent place gets used to living in violence, ”said the founder of the CAMBIA Mental Health clinic.
The pandemic raised doubts in many people, he noted, which generated a burden of overinformation in a certain sector of the population, which, in turn, also generates anxiety.
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“People need to solve their doubts to resolve their anxiety, to find certainty; but the more they search, the more uncertainty is generated, so it is better to fear a plan to only learn enough, “he recommended.
Although the effect has been different for each person, the specialist indicated that forced confinement during the health contingency affected the mental health of the entire population of the world.
We all had the same obstacle put in our way and we are all going to have different opportunities to solve it. It changed our life and we had to adapt to it ”, he explained.
Mendoza explained that the quarantine inevitably generated changes in people’s lives, a situation that intensified as time and uncertainty progressed.
“Being confined is a situation that generates many changes, such as increased anxiety and symptoms such as depression, post-traumatic stress and, in some cases, complications such as violence and drug use,” he described.
“We have been responding to a change in our needs because we all experience a different anxiety.”
Hard to spot
Anguish is difficult to detect for many people because the body generates defenses to contain it, which can be a risk if not addressed in time, Mendoza said.
In places like Mexico City, he said, people already lived before the health contingency with high levels of anxiety due to different causes, such as mobility, housing costs, changes in temperature or pollution. “And in the midst of all that stress, the pandemic and quarantine fell,” he added.
As the stress of daily life accumulates, people get used to it. “The brain, in this stress that is becoming chronic over time, to defend itself causes the organs in charge of the central nervous system to change so that it continues to give us the same response that the stress hormone, which is cortisol, releases” he exposed.
The specialist of Psychiatry and Mental Health of the Faculty of Medicine of the UNAM stressed that all these processes of the brain happen in the hippocampus, which is also in charge of learning memory.
So there is a point at which, to decrease the feeling and perception of stress, we begin to deteriorate structures that are also useful for other things, so that people do not realize their stress because the body, trying to protect itself, destroyed the alert mechanisms and is not aware until the damage appears, “he said.
Contingency affects everyone
Mendoza noted that the pandemic and confinement could affect people in three ways.
The first is that they already came with some important personal antecedent and that it was unleashed with the stress of the pandemic, ”he said.
The second point, he assured, is the fear of being infected, which was high at the beginning of the health contingency and decreased as the confinement progressed. “But when you talk about a return to normality, the fear of getting infected reappears,” he reiterated.
The last point is the forced coexistence in some homes: “Having to live 24 hours with the same people without a clear knowledge of when you are going to leave, because nobody knew in the world context how long this pandemic will last.”
Some people had better tools than others to adapt and to live through this adverse situation during the pandemic. Not all of us fell to the ground, but it unbalanced us all ”, he stressed.
With information from Carlos Tomasini