The psychological impact of quarantine

Best Practice Nordic | Maalis 2020 | COVID-19 |

The Lancet has done a literature review in order to uncover the psychological impact of quarantine and isolation1. In this COVID-19 perspective we present some of the key findings from this review and shed light on some of the psychological consequences of infectious diseases and what can be done to diminish these consequences. Quarantine, isolation and social distancing have become global preventive measures for reducing the spread of the current infectious disease COVID-19. Even though these means are known to be greatly effective in the battle against outbreaks of contagious disease, quarantine is often associated with a wide range of mental health concerns. 24 studies where included in the literature review, and it reveals a list of several negative effects of quarantine, including post-traumatic stress (PTSD) symptoms, anxiety, stress and depression. Also, several mental health concerns in relation to outbreaks of infectious diseases have showed to be inflamed by stressors such as: Infection fears Frustration Boredom Inadequate supplies, Lack of information Financial loss Stigma The distinction between quarantine and isolation The Lancet points out that the terms quarantine and isolation should be kept distinct from each other and not used interchangeably. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1 has defined the terms: ”Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people, who are not sick.” “Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people, who were exposed to a contagious disease to observe if they become sick.” Clear, consistent information is paramount Many mental health concerns have showed to be inflamed by the lack of clear rationale information from public health authorities and from the media. This includes clear guidelines about actions to take, the reasons and purposes of quarantine, clarity about the levels of risk and transparency about the severity of the pandemic. The Lancet refers to an online survey...