As coronavirus cases increase, some states and municipalities have begun to re-impose superfluous restrictions on citizens.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, some cities placed controls on the number of people who could gather together. Other cities have shut down schools again, some have done away with indoor dining while limiting outdoor dining.
Many have mandatory mask mandates.
Far-left politicians have begun to re-issue stay-at-home orders with curfews for residents. Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., as one example, declared a10:00 p.m. curfew, but has threatened more "drastic" measures. Mayor Regina Romero, D-Tuscon, Ariz., proposed an 8:00 p.m. curfew for residents.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has danced around the subject of a national lockdown, despite input from an adviser. Lockdowns and curfews have proven to be detrimental to the economy, and are an infringement on the liberties of American citizens.
Not often discussed, however, is how damaging all of this is to our individual and collective mental health.
Some major impacts of mandatory lockdowns on mental health include:
—Social isolation is injurious to mental health. With limited contact with others, especially physical contact, we can expect increases in rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Humans are inherently social beings, and being around others releases the love hormone, dopamine. This hormone is essential to feelings of happiness. The CDC reported that in June 2020, rates of depression were four times higher than the same period in 2019, and the rate of adults seriously thinking about suicide was double. In fact, Japan saw more suicides than deaths by coronavirus in October.
—Coping skills are reduced. Lockdowns minimize, and for some completely eliminate, coping skills used to manage stress. Exercise, for example, reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. The closure of fitness centers might limit the ability for some to get exercise, or at least the exercise that has worked for them. Other common coping skills, such as massage, meeting up with friends, and travel, would be restricted. Given the inherent stressors that occur as a result of a lockdown (potential loss of employment, being in close quarters with family for extended time, etc.), the ability to manage stress is evermore important.
—An idle mind is never good. Boredom and lack of mental stimulation allow the mind to wander. For those with a history of depression or under stress, this wandering could meander into a very dark place. When people are bored, they can also turn to maladaptive coping skills or activities to kill time. In one survey, over half of respondents reported an increase in alcohol use related to the pandemic.
—Rates of substance use, in general, have increased across the board.
—Domestic and child abuse will rise. Statistically, it is more likely for abuse toward children or partners to occur when they are around each other more. Increased stress among parents is a major predictor of physical abuse and neglect of children. The lack of reporting of abuse makes finding accurate numbers difficult. However, one hospital reported a "horrifying surge" in injuries sustained from domestic abuse based on x-ray evidence.
—Unfortunately, during a lockdown many of the abused are unable to reach out for help.
—Mental health problems can exacerbate physical ailments. The impacts on mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and a lockdown have been well-documented. Physical health can be adversely affected by mental health problems. For example, mortality rates of cancer increase if a person is in distress. Depression is associated with increased rates of heart disease. Stress, anxiety, and depression negatively impact sleep, which in turn exacerbates nearly all medical conditions.
Mental health is public health, yet the mainstream media continues to focus almost soley on coronavirus numbers, ignoring what will ultimately be a longer-lasting mental health pandemic. The negative impacts on mental health as a result of unempirical lockdowns mandated by power-hungry politicians is likely to far-outweigh the physical impacts, especially with the course of treatment being better understood at this phase.
Americans should be able to exercise their freedom and autonomy to make those decisions which are best for themselves and their families, inclusive of matters significantly impacting physical and mental health.
Dr. Katherine Kuhlman is a police and clinical psychologist based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has spent her career helping law enforcement and other first responders throughout their careers, including debriefings following officer-involved shootings, suicides, and mass casualty incidents. She is a national speaker on officer wellness and trauma. Dr. Kuhlman an expert in the field of behavioral threat assessment and targeted violence. She serves as an Executive Board Member for the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence. Read Dr. Katherine Kuhlman's Reports — More Here.
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