April 4, 2020
Photo: Getty Images
The confinement imposed by the crisis of the coronavirus affects our psychological needs to be essential, and it is not necessary to minimize the frustration that the situation may engender.
This text is part of the special Research on the COVID-19
Loss of bearings, loss of a job sometimes, or at least unable to work the same way as ordinary, decrease of social interactions. The confinement imposed by the crisis of the coronavirus affects the perception we have of our skills, on our desire for autonomy, as well as the relationships we have with others. Three psychological needs are essential to every human being.
A first study, published in mid-march in China shows that 40 % of the population has symptoms of anxiety ranging from moderate to severe, reveals Frederick L. Philippe, a professor in the Department of psychology, UQAM.
“The results will arrive because the Chinese have been confined before us,” he says. But we can also build on a literature review recently published in The Lancet and who is concerned with the consequences of another containment, linked to the SARS a few years ago. There has been a resurgence of cases of depression, anxiety disorders and even post traumatic stress disorder. “
This time of year, there are two types of behaviors that are not adaptive : the panic, which pushes us to go to the supermarket to make provisions in a manner completely out of proportion, and the denial, which is to convince them that there is nothing going on.
“Alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, or parental, depending on the psychological resources of each, some individuals may develop an inadequate response in the face of anxiety,” says Mr. Philip. The behaviors most adaptive on the other hand are those who are to accept the situation. “
This does not mean do nothing. “But rather than suffer his wrath, we are trying to comprendrepourquoi being felt, says the researcher. As long as one is under the grip of emotion, our cognitive abilities are not at their maximum. “
“We are social beings,” says Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier,a clinical psychologist and a professor in the Department depsychologie of the UQAM. With Frédérick L. Philippe, she has written a guide entitled” Speak of the COVID-19 children : manage the psychological impact.
“The confinement has changed all of our social relationships. We are limited to this level, and some people may experience it as a threat. “
With the closure of schools and the work that is done at home for many individuals, the families are found to live 24 hours on 24 all. However, turning to the others, outside the family circle limited, it is a kind of valve “emotional” which we all need, ” says the researcher.
“For the children, it is the whole routine changes. They don’t always understand why they can’t go to see their friends, to which they have not even had the opportunity to say goodbye. All of this can make them anxious. Same thing in adolescence, a period during which the social relations are of primary importance. “
In order to reduce anxiety and prevent mental health problems in the longer term, Ms Beaulieu-Pelletier advises parents to talk with their children, while placing himself at their level of understanding.
“What poses a problem for adolescents, in particular, is the feeling of not being able to mobilise, not being able to do gestures in relation with their values,” she explains. But in reality, staying at home, they are trying to have a social responsibility. “
What about romantic relationships
But stay at home, it is also the inability to make new friends, which is especially problematic for single people.
“All the places where traditionally people are closed, note Chiara Piazzesi, a professor in the Department of sociology at UQAM and a specialist in romantic relationships. As for the followers of encounters digital, they are forced to delay the time to go for a coffee to get to know you better. “
It is not necessary to minimize the frustration that the situation may cause, ” said Chiara Piazzesi. The frustration of not having the freedom and ability to decide for himself, the frustration of having to put his life on pause. Here, the researcher admits humbly not able to make projections about the consequences of this containment as the situation is unprecedented. She did not imagine, however, that it may not be.
“The intimacy, by definition, it is the contact,” she says. However, we are asked to stop all contact. There are couples who do not live together and who are forced to live their relationship at a distance. There is among many a loss of desire because they are going through a difficult period. Couples spend more time together, but the news is so catastrophic, that it makes that time unavailable. “
Frédérick L. Philippe warns that if many of us will find a balance at the end of the containment, this will not be the case for the whole population.
“As during natural disasters, the the most fragile people could be serious relapses well after the crisis,” he says. As a society, we should be very careful. “