Lockdown / Quarantine Problems

INTRODUCTION

The unfolding, devastating COVID-19 pandemic has caused countries around the world, to institute lockdowns of about 3 weeks in an effort to halt or delay the spread of infection. But these lockdowns or quarantines have undesired results. This article looks at such lockdown / quarantine problems.

The Public Health measures of lockdown and quarantine have proved beneficial to varying degrees across the globe. In Wuhan province China where the disease broke out in December 2019, very strict and protracted restrictions were put in place and enforced. The result was that new coronavirus infections fizzled out to the point of zero per day towards the end of last month (February 2020).

South Africa, which recorded the highest number of proven COVID-19 cases in Africa, instituted a 3-week National Lockdown on the night of Thursday 26th March, 2020. New daily COVID-19 cases which were numbering in excess of 200 in the days running up to the lockdown, declined sharply over the weekend until yesterday, 30th March.

So, lockdowns or quarantine laws are definitely going to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 globally. This will save millions of lives, reduce suffering and protect the global economy.

SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

The downside is that there are many adverse health effects associated with lockdowns / quarantines. And many regions and countries are already reporting some.

The aim of this two-part article is to explore, from a Family Practice point of view, some of the commonest health problems that can arise as a result of people staying at home under lockdown conditions. The aim is also to offer appropriate advice so as to prevent their occurrence, or to advise on what to do should the problems ensue.

In this first part of the discussion, we will deal with the

  1. Psychological / Mental health and
  2. Social / Family health problems.

Though lockdown is an extraordinary situation, many of the conditions here can be expected. Why? Because people experience them to varying degrees when

  • they retire,
  • during job lay-offs,
  • when they are on annual leave,
  • or even on (long) weekends.

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PRODUCT LINKS

1. #Ad  10-Day Program to End Panic, Anxiety and Claustrophobia

 

2. #Ad No More Fighting: The Relationship Book for Couples

 

A picture of a young lady seated on the ground in a typical depressed pose, face buried into her arms.
Disruption of normal life very commonly causes depression.

PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC ILL EFFECTS

* Depression (“the blues”) *

This is very common and unfortunately, under-recognised. It results mostly from breaking with the daily routines, routines that for some people could have been going on for decades. It can also result from the idle state, as old and suppressed painful experiences may spring up (this is common in Pensioners and in-between jobs or educational institutions).

The effects of depression on individuals, families, communities, nations and the global population are catastrophic. That is why depression is one of the top priorities of The World Bank and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The damage to the economy, caused by any ongoing infectious disease, is compounded.

Therefore, prevention of depression is a Sustainable Development Goal. And if depression sets in, it is important to recognise it early and take corrective action.

Depression will be dealt with in detail in another post on this website. But it needs to be mentioned that (1) COVID-19 related suicides are unfortunately already being reported in various countries, and (2) hobbies including EXERCISE (see next article) are very good and scientifically proven in preventing and treating depression and anxiety (below).

* Anxiety *

This is a very common condition that is also on the rise because of the stresses of modern life.

Obviously, lockdown for any reason in itself causes an abnormal situation that causes people to lose their equilibrium, leading to anxiety.

Currently, the world is faced with a pandemic, more-so one caused by a new, highly contagious and deadly virus, COVID-19. And it comes on top of a still raging HIV pandemic. This causes anxiety even in people with the strongest mental resources.

A picture of a man sitting near a closed window. He is looking out the window. An illustration has been superimposed, of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particles floating in the air outside.
The ongoing lockdowns are due to a new, pretty aggressive and terrifying infectious disease. This is anxiety provoking.

 

Relaxation techniques including

  • yoga,
  • breathing exercises,
  • stretches and
  • meditation

are helpful for prevention and treatment of anxiety. Television and videos, though useful in keeping people’s minds occupied, can cause anxiety if overused, by a variety of mechanisms.

* Claustrophobia *

This is an irrational fear of closed spaces. It is overwhelming and disabling. Obviously sufferers face difficulties under lockdown conditions.

Authorities can be approached to help and advise in such cases. Resources are also provided in the links above, and Reference 2 below – don’t suffer in silence please!

SOCIAL & FAMILY EFFECTS

Lockdown separates people from family and loved ones, colleagues and associates.

But it also brings together couples that probably rarely spend time together because of long work hours. Suddenly people discover their incompatibilities. Conflicts ensue or escalate, especially among young couples.

Some parts of the world which went into quarantine in the past months, are already experiencing an explosion in divorce rates. Gender based violence (GBV) has reached epidemic proportions in many parts of the world.

A beautiful illustration of how feuds between parents negatively affect children. The husband and wife are having a heated exchange, which unfortunately bounces onto their son and daughter.
Family feuds are rife because of quarantine measures. Unfortunately, parental disharmony of any intensity, has harmful effects on children.

 

It is important for families in countries under Lockdown, to keep contact with weak, sick and vulnerable relatives. These include the elderly, children especially orphaned ones, people living with disabilities, drug and alcohol abusers, and known or suspected victims of domestic abuse (there is no escape for many of these groups of people under Lockdown conditions).

IN CONCLUSION

Lockdowns or quarantines are used to deal with disease outbreaks. Different generations inhabiting the world as of now, know them to differing degrees. Currently in 2020, these Public Health measures have been brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have touched on some of the psychosocial adverse effects of lockdowns or quarantine measures. In the next article (which can be found here), we will deal with the physical health problems.

Some useful resources are referenced for the reader’s convenience below.

REFERENCES

1. https://www.junglefind.com/317/best-books-about-relaxation-techniques/

2. https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/36932/claustrophobia

3. https://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Safe-Homes-Research-Practice/dp/0875531970

ANY COMMENTS?

Comments, questions or indeed any contribution are very welcome. They go a long way to improving this website that is at your service, Esteemed Reader.

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Kindly take a minute or so to share your thoughts on this or any other article on this website. And thanks in advance!

#Quarantine #Lockdown #FamilyHealth #Fitness #SportAndExercise #DeepVeinThrombosis #COVID19

29 Replies to “Lockdown / Quarantine Problems”

  1. You’ve beautifully captured the impact of the quarantine; it seems that we are trying to get rid of one problem and creating another.

    I am experiencing some level of depression myself. It’s not completely related to the state of the economy, it’s more that I miss my routine and I miss my friends. Having to be stuck in the house and having to create a routine for the sake of creating a routine leads to giving up the routine which creates a sense of being lost.

    I am looking forward to the days when our world will go back to some level of normalcy. 

    1. Hi Linda,

      Thanks very much for your input.

      Sorry to hear that it has been difficult coping in your case. You are definitely not alone.

      Let us hope a cure or vaccine will be discovered in the next few months, so that the world can return to, probably, a new normal.

      Warmest regards.

  2. Hi there, this is quite an excellent informative article. Very valuable for every reader I suppose. Yes, with all the manipulations, mix messages, distortions of facts, and figures going on about this global Covid-19 Pandemic, people are becoming very skeptical about every report, recommendations, and guidelines, even from authorities.

    But thank God, common sense is still active. The side effects, health effects of the Lockdown/Quarantine will not be completely known or reported. But individuals like you are doing a great job of researching to give some insights. Because creating awareness to the public about the effects of the Lockdown to their health and relationships and how to manage it can save a lot of health issues and family break downs. No doubt, many people are getting sick and tired of the whole process, and many are already sick, ranging from an anxiety attack, depression, and other body aches, and so forth.

    I will really take your suggestion about not sitting in one place for too long, but getting up to workaround for a few minutes.

    Poor blood circulation is a serious health issue that we must try to avoid. And personally, this is one of the things I hate now about my online job.

    Good read!

    Favorme.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks so very much for your input!

      You are so right – some jobs are very risky if awareness is not created about the required care and precautions. Fatalities do occur globally from sedentary jobs. 2 hours is the absolute maximum, even without risk factors!!

      Warmest regards.

  3. Thanks for this educational article. I suffered for a while with anxiety when this pandemic started. I was so focused on following the news and wanting to know what changes have brought to the lockdown measures that I just lost myself. I did experience moments where I felt like I had a panic attack. I took it upon myself to cut loose a bit on the news and to focus on workouts, goalsetting and I saw an improvement. I didn’t realise the impact of the lockdown on our health. In the beginning it was all fun and games, thinking cause I’m an introvert that I could take it. 

    1. Hi Tuma,

      Thanks very much for reading the article and providing your valuable input, especially sharing your story. Sorry to hear about the trauma you went through. But congratulations and well done for the way you bounced back and made a healthy choice!!

      Regards.

  4. Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information here with us. I must say i really did enjoyed going through your article as it contains detailed information’s one can hold on to. Quarantine is the solution to stay free from the virus but we must to be alerted of other situations that will occur as a consequence of living like that. Thanks for sharing this

  5. Thank you Teboho for this enlightening post! I’m sure when the authorities instituted lockdown, they never realized that the implications were as grave as you have explained in your post.

    I find it quite interesting to learn from your post about some of the causes of depression. Who would have thought that idleness would trigger past painful experiences.

    But I see light at the end of the tunnel – taking exercises as a new habit to help keep the body and mind active.

  6. Hi Teboho. It is unfortunate that the entire world has to suffer the pandemic fate which has brought about many fatalities. Thank you for alerting us about the possible health issues that can arise as a result of immobility due to the lockdown as well as how to address them. While we try to prevent the infection and spread of the COVID-19, it is important that we don’t increase our risk for other illnesses especially non-communicable diseases.

    1. Hello Mojisola,

      Thanks so much for your input!

      We need to avoid compounding the problem.

  7. Hello,

    You are talking about something that the world is struggling to overcome.You reported very well about “health problems that arise as a result of lockdown”. 

    This info especially important: “Awareness of these problems is important and individuals, families, communities, and authorities should prepare for such events during periods of lockdown”.Therefore I just prefer to say “well done”!

  8. Hello Teboho,

    Thank you for putting this article together on the possible psychological and physical effects of quarantine on families.

    I have noticed more tension in our family simply because we are around each other all the time.  We are fortunate to have a treadmill in the house, and I have been changing the air filter on our furnace more often.

    Still, you have to be mentally tough to feel comfortable in these kinds of circumstances.  And really, it’s only a matter of time before we all crack under the pressure.

    Thanks for putting your thoughts to the page.  I enjoyed your article quite a bit.

    Michael

    1. Hi Michael,

      Thanks so very much for your incredible input!

      You are so enlightened and have done so well to cope with the circumstances! I wish and pray that you all could have the strength till the end.

      Warmest regards.

  9. Thanks for your well written and researched article. I live in Victoria Australia and we are the most locked-down state in Australia. We still cannot go to cafes, restaurants other than to take away and we are still supposed to work from home if we can. I think how well people deal with lockdown comes from their mindset. I’m looking forward to getting back to cafes and the cinema but I have enjoyed lockdown. My relationship with my husband has strengthened because we have started to exercise together. Prior to the gyms being closed he would go to the gym and I would go for a walk. Now we do a 7-minute workout in the morning (with an app) and go for a brisk hour-long walk in the early evening. It gives the day a lovely rhythm and has strengthened our bond. We are going to keep up the practice even with the gyms reopening. So lockdown can be problematic or wonderful depending on how you choose to see it, don’t you think?

    1. Hi Deb,

      Thanks so much for reading through and providing valuable input!

      You are absolutely right, we must learn to “turn crises into opportunities”. I mean, some people have created online businesses during lockdowns, some have written whole proposals for mortar and brick businesses, while others have erected structures at home that they had been dreaming of, but we’re unable to do!

      But we must admit that our make-up as human beings, is very different. Some people crack under the slightest pressure, and this, is EXTREME pressure!

      Warmest regards!

  10. Getting stuck in one place and been isolated or restricted from movements can be bad for some people. the negative impact on health is one major worry and i would say that you have outline almost all the possible health dangers that can occur due to the lock down initiated in an attempt to stop the spread of corona virus.

    1. Thanks very much for your comment.

      I appreciate that you appreciate the effort made in the article, of addressing the problems that be brought upon our bodies (all major systems), our minds, our spirits and our societies.

  11. Quarantine is the solution to stay free from the coronavirus but we really have to be aware of other situations that will occur as a consequence of living like that. I have experienced a lot of anxiety and stress. Even going for grocery shopping is a dilemma for me, I do not want to be the one that will bring the virus to my family but at the same time, I can’t let them starve.

    I think because of this situation, we are all sick to some different degree. The government should put in place a system that will allow us to be taken care of. There are those who are infected with the virus and others that are sick because of the existence f the virus.

    The essential thing to do is to be sure to stay healthy physically and mentally, check with your doctors as much as you can.

    Thanks

    1. Thanks very much! You are absolutely right – as they used to say about HIV and AIDS, “if you are not infected, you are affected”! Our lives will never be the same after this. Sorry to hear you are experiencing significant stress and anxiety. But I am encouraged to hear that you are aware of what needs to be done. And we have tried to list some preventive and therapeutic measures. Let’s take action timeously, for the sake of ourselves and our loved ones.

      Thanks again and best wishes!

      Teboho

  12. The ravaging pandemic has indeed caused a lot of havoc across the globe as a result of the lockdown, it has recently increased emotional devastation on peoples health because life hasn’t been easy. A lot of people in doors barely could afford one meal a day, they have been stopped from going out to find a source to survive and its not been easy at all.

    In various African nations, the dead rates has increased not basically on the covid 19 pandemic but as a result of people starving to death, the rate of hunger has increased.. Thanks for such a revealing article on how to cope with the anxiety, stress and emotional disturbance that has emerged as a result of the pandemic, it should be really published to help people over the globe, it will really save lives out there.

    1. Thanks so very much!

      Economists have already predicted a recession in Sub-Saharan Africa, directly as a result of the lockdowns. One wishes that African countries, through the AU and the regional economic blocks like SADC, ECOWAS, etc can start working on a massive relief program, to help affected business interests, Farmers, families, etc to recover from this devastation.

      I am trying as best as I can to share the article as widely as I can. I was advised by a Professor (and I agree) that the traditional medical journals will be too slow as the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving so rapidly. I am quite happy to use electronic media and radio stations to spread the essential message. And actually, within 24 hours of the publication of this article, one major media house was discussing it.

      Let’s all help each other!

  13. Great to see your post about the lockdown and how it has some very serious health implications. Many times, I have learnt about some of the diseases that you shared on your platform but I didn’t know that they could also be related to this lockdown. I just hope a vaccine is released very soon so that we can go back to our lives. Thanks

    1. You are absolutely right Riley – a vaccine is the best bet! In the presence of a vaccine, it will not be necessary to institute these very unnatural measures, which are also bad for the world economy that has not even recovered from the 2008 recession!

      Thanks very much!

  14. Hi, thank you for this post.

    The covid 19 pandemic has sent fear across the globe leading to lockdowns. Though lockdown is an extraordinary situation, you have said that many of the conditions here can be expected, because people experience them to varying degrees and this is really true. this is infromative

  15. This post I’d a very informative post and deserves to be publicise as fast as possible because most people just like me did not know about all these health issues that could arise from the lockdown. This is great and thank you so much for sharing. I feel that anyone who sees any of these symptoms or experiences any should contact medical professionals ASAP.

    1. Hi Ella,

      Thanks very much!

      I am trying as best as I can to share the article as widely as I can. I was advised by a Professor (and I agree) that the traditional medical journals will be too slow as the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving so rapidly. I am quite happy to use electronic media and radio stations to spread the essential message. And actually, within 24 hours of the publication of this article, one major media house was discussing it.

      You are absolutely right – people should seek help with their personal or family problems ASAP! But we must use all of the modern technology we have to keep contact with family and friends, especially the weak and vulnerable ones. Let’s not forget the introverts among us who may not cry for help!

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