Home Articles Psychology under fear of corona virus-Ways of its Treatments

Psychology under fear of corona virus-Ways of its Treatments

Muhammad Arif : Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), Former Head of FSCD SBP, Former Head of Research ArifHabib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, Former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan

The appearance of Corona Virus has changed the thinking of all of us about future of human beings. Nobody knows when it is going to end. Be sure till its vaccine and drugs are not brought forward nobody would be sure that it has ended. This has also raised the question, when technology has gone much advanced and we claim to do anything, than why, we are not in a position to find any cure for Corona Virus on immediate basis. Only social distancing is not the solution. The solution would be to have its reliable treatment.

Everyone would agree that rarely has the threat of disease occupied so much of our thinking. Media newspaper radio and TV program are doing back-to-back coverage on the latest death tolls; and depending on who you follow social media platforms are filled with frightening statistics, practical advice or gallows humor.

As others have already reported, this constant bombardment can result in heightened anxiety, with immediate effects on our mental health. But the constant feeling of threat may have other, more insidious, effects on our psychology. Due to some deeply evolved responses to disease, fears of contagion lead us to become more conformist and tribalistic and less accepting of eccentricity. Our moral judgments become harsher and our social attitudes more conservative when considering issues such as immigration or sexual freedom and equality. Daily reminders of disease may even sway our political affiliations.

Increased xenophobia (fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign)  may already be the first sign of this.

The behavioral immune system (The behavioral immune system is a phrase to refer to a suite of psychological mechanisms that allow individual organisms to detect the potential presence of disease-causing parasites in their immediate environment and to engage in behaviors that prevent contact with) would develop.

Our heightened distrust and suspicion will also shape our responses to people of different cultural backgrounds. According to Schaller, this may arise from those fears about non-conformity: in the past, people outside our group may have been less likely to observe the specific prescriptive norms that were meant to protect the population from infection, and so we feared that they would unwittingly (or deliberately) spread disease. But today, it can result in prejudice and xenophobia.

The influence of the behavioral immune system varies from individual to individual; not everyone would be affected to the same degree. “Some people have a particularly sensitive behavioral immune system that makes them react extra-strongly to things that they interpret as a potential infection risk,” says Aarøe. According to the research, those people would already be more respectful of social norms and more distrustful of outsiders than the average person, and an increased threat of disease would simply harden their positions.

In this situation people should look out for signs of distressed mental health in themselves and others. Symptoms may include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs like sleeping pills.

“Humans are social animals,” Professor Ian Hickie at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre says. Prolonged quarantine or social isolation (without compensatory methods in place) will exacerbate anxiety, depression and a sense of helplessness. To fight out against this situation-

  1. Create a routine— Change out of your pajamas, shower and make a to-do of all the things you want to achieve each day to create a sense of normality and productivity.
  2. Break up your day— Find tasks to break up your day and, where possible, change your environment for different activities.
  3. Take care of your body— Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. That could include conducting indoor workout classes, stretching and practicing meditation.
  4. Help others— If you’re not under strict isolation rules yourself, and you’re in a position to do so, find ways to support those in need by offering to run errands and collect supplies for them.
  5. Stay connected— Make the most of technology and stay in touch with colleagues, friends and family via phone calls, texts, social media and video conferencing.
  6. Limit media intake— Stay informed about the situation via reliable sources, but limit your news and social media intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  7. Prepare medical supplies — The National Alliance on Mental Illnessadvises, where necessary, asking your doctor for extended prescription supplies to tide you over for quarantine periods.
  8. Fight boredom — Make the most of catching up TV series, reading and exploring projects you have been putting off to beat boredom and stay mentally active.
  9. Avoid burnout — Set strict limits to your work to avoid becoming overwhelmed and make time to unwind.
  10. Focus on the positives— Amplify good news stories and honor caregivers working tirelessly to resolve the situation.
  11. Take one day at a time— Try not to project too far into the future. Remember that these are temporary measures and you are not alone.
  12. Finally try to keep your money safe as markets can panic over Corona Virus.


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