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< Back to question Is spending time quarantined bad for your mental health? Show more Show less

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left people who have come into contact with the virus self-isolating to avoid infecting others. As the world's population goes into quarantine, does spending time quarantined lead to negative mental health outcomes?

Yes, quarantine is bad for your mental health Show more Show less

Being isolated from friends and family and reduced social interactions are proven to cause significant damage to our mental health.
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Quarantine causes depression

Quarantine leads to elevated rates of depression and anxiety among those affected.
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Context

In a study examining the effects of quarantines during the 2003 SARS, researchers found elevated rates of depression.

The Argument

31% of those quarantined during the SARS epidemic displayed symptoms of depression following the epidemic.[1] Symptoms of depression include reduced energy and motivation, hopelessness, eating significantly more or less than usual, sleeping significantly more or less than usual, and loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyable.[2] Quarantine restrictions, such as not being able to see friends or attend social gathering, can contribute to making people feel isolated.[3] Even more at risk of feeling isolated are the people, such as some healthcare workers and individuals at risk for severe COVID-19, who cannot see any of their friends or family. Feeling isolated, and not having the proper social support to cope with that, can lead to or worsen depression.[4] Another way in which quarantine can contribute to depression is the absence of one's "normal" schedule. Having regular schedules, like a regular sleep schedule or work schedule, can be very beneficial for people who are prone to depression. Losing that regular schedule could cause or worsen depression. For example, if someone has to get up for work or school early in the morning, they may have a fairly regular sleep schedule since they have to be awake at a certain time. If quarantine forces that person to work from home or transition to online classes, then that person may not need to wake up by a certain time anymore. Without any early obligations, they may oversleep regularly and disrupt their sleep schedule, which can contribute to the unhealthy sleeping habits which are a factor of depression.

Counter arguments

Quarantine does not necessarily cause depression. Unhealthy responses to and coping mechanisms during quarantine cause depression, not just the quarantine itself. If one maintains consistent social contact and other healthy habits, quarantine will not cause or worsen depression. Additionally, if someone is not predisposed to depressive tendencies, and they exercise healthy habits during quarantine, it is unlikely they will develop depression. Though other events that could occur during quarantine, such as a job loss or family death, could cause or worsen depression, that does not mean that quarantine itself causes or worsens depression.

Premises

[P1] Quarantine leads to higher rates of depression. [P2] Therefore, quarantine is bad for our mental health.

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3323345/
  2. https://www.sharp.com/health-news/sadness-and-depression-during-self-quarantine.cfm
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
  4. https://psychcentral.com/lib/social-support-is-critical-for-depression-recovery/

This page was last edited on Monday, 20 Jul 2020 at 21:56 UTC

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