‘PANDEMIC FATIGUE’ leads to an alarming increase in mental health consultations in Spain’s Andalucía
Last year saw the Oxford dictionary add a string of new words to its repertoire to reflect the global health crisis, and now it seems another phrase is on the up and up: pandemic fatigue. Manuel Garcie Sedeno from the Department of Psychology of the UCA said that an alarming number of people are reporting to health consultants suffering from anxiety and insomnia related to the stresses associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is normal that in the face of uncertainty, confinement and lack of social relationships, alterations in emotional states are experienced,” Mr Garcia Sedeno told Spanish daily Dairio de Cadiz. He said that the main cause of pandemic fatigue is unexpected events being thrown at people abruptly, leading to feelings of loss of control.
According to a poll conducted by the Official College of Psychology of Western Andalucía, there has been an increase of about 30 per cent in people seeking mental health support in the last year. College president Jeronimo Acosta said that those most affected, understandably, are health workers, the physically ill and those who have suffered economically from the pandemic.
Spain in general is ranked as one of the nations with the highest use of tranquilisers, but experts warn that this number will rise even further as a result of the health crisis. A study carried out by the University of Barcelona and CCOO on the effects of the pandemic on the salaried population shows that one in five (21.5 per cent) participants had used sedatives or sleeping pills in the weeks leading up to the poll. Of these, more than half were new users, while one in three people using these drugs pre-pandemic admitted to having upped their dosage.
The Minister of Health, Jesus Aguirre, confirmed this week that anxiety and depression had grown exponentially during the last year in Andalucía, and warned against “self-medication”. However, during times of stress, Mr García Sedeño pointed out that many people opt for a quick fix that will help them feel better.
“Why suffer, why wait, if I can fix it in a moment? The ease of obtaining a product and the option to change status quickly increases that hyper-consumption,” the specialist said.
“I believe that today’s society has generated individuals with low tolerance for frustration. We want immediate reinforcement and have mechanisms at hand that allow certain more or less legal ‘drugs’ to be available at will, they help so that consumption increases,” he concluded.