Confinement depression: factors that facilitate its onset.
Experiences and situations associated with the onset of depression due to confinement.
Mood disorders are a very common form of distress, and of these, depression is one of the most frequent types. This is due, among other things, to the fact that there are a wide variety of experiences that make us more and more vulnerable to this psychopathology.
The set of situations that increase our chances of developing depression acts as a kind of psychological funnel: many different experiences, added to certain personal predispositions, can lead to similar results.
However, through years of research on this subject, the science of psychology has provided evidence that there are situations with greater risk than others when it comes to promoting the onset of depression. And unfortunately, it appears that the experience of pandemic confinement, such as coronavirus, is associated with several of them. Here I will discuss this phenomenon, confinement depression.
Can confinement lead to depression?
The first thing to be clear about this topic is that there is still not much conclusive research on the impact of COVID-19 confinement on the mental health of Spaniards or of the population in general. of Spaniards or of the general population; all this is still relatively recent and at the same time it is a complex phenomenon, the study of which requires many combined efforts. However, that does not mean that we know absolutely nothing about what it usually entails for the human mind to undergo such experiences for weeks or months at a time; there are similar precedents, such as the severe acute Respiratory syndrome epidemic of 2002-2004, among others.
On the other hand, although we know that radical measures to avoid contagion applied over large territorial areas tend to wear down the mental health of many people, this does not mean that confinement produces depression. Technically, it is correct to consider that confinement usually goes hand in hand with associated factors, which are the ones that increase the probability of suffering this psychological disorder.
And as always in these cases, it is necessary to emphasize the word "probabilities": in psychology, we almost always adopt a probabilistic approach when analyzing the implications that a social phenomenon has on the mental health of the population.. No one is guaranteed to suffer or not to suffer from depression because this psychopathology is statistically associated with what they are going through.
Finally, the term "depression by confinement" does not mean that there is a psychological disorder that officially has this name: the way it is known as "depression by confinement" is not the same as the way in which it is known.The term "confinement depression" does not mean that there is a psychological disorder with this official name: the way in which this mood disturbance is known is major depressive disorder, according to the most widely used diagnostic manuals in psychiatry and clinical psychology. Thus, the depression due to confinement is simply depression whose causes include the importance of factors linked to confinement and all that surrounds it: a certain social isolation, less movement, etc.
Confinement depression: factors promoting this disorder
These are the most important aspects that characterize depression due to confinement
1. Reduced social interaction
Social interactions are experiences that, in many cases, are mentally stimulating and are able to provide us with incentives..... With confinement, exposure to this kind of stimuli, sources of small daily motivations, is reduced, and it is known that a lifestyle devoid of too many exciting or fun experiences is associated with the onset of depression.
2. Sedentary lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing depression. It is believed that this has to do with the fact that it worsens the state of health (through lack of movement). (through lack of movement and proper nutrition), and depression is "fueled" by inflammatory processes in the body that can affect the nervous system.
3. Too much exposure to anxiety
In a context of pandemic confinement, it is much easier to suffer from anxiety problems: many people feel helpless about not being able to go out whenever they want, about not being able to see loved ones in a normal way, about what might happen to their work or their projects, and so on. Related to this, st is known that suffering from anxiety is also associated with a higher probability of presenting depressive symptoms, or even of developing other psychopathological disorders.or even of developing other psychopathologies such as addictions (which, in turn, also contribute to the development of major depressive disorder).
4. Lack of sleep
Such a radical change of habits as the move to confinement often leads to disruptions in the sleep schedule, often leads to disruptions in the sleep schedule.. This disorganization often leads to problems to sleep well, or the necessary hours. And yes, too little sleep also goes hand in hand with an increased risk of depression.
Are you interested in professional counseling?
If you are going through a confinement situation that you find difficult and you notice that it is significantly damaging your emotional well-being, please contact me. I am a psychologist specialized in the cognitive-behavioral model, one of the most effective and adaptable, and I have been working for years helping people to better manage the cognitive and emotional processes that come with the problems that life brings us.
I work in my office in Madrid, and I also provide psychological assistance in online format. On this page you will find my contact details.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington, DC: Author.
- Delgado, P (2000). Depression: the case for a monoamine deficiency. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61: pp. 7 - 11.
- Hagen, E. H. (2002). Depression as bargaining: The case postpartum. Evolution and Human Behavior. Elsevier.
- Huang, Y.; Li, L.; Gan, Y.; Wang, C.; Jiang, H.; Cao, S.; Lu, Z. (2020). Sedentary behaviors and risk of depression: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Translational Psychiatry, 10: 26.
- Leyva-Jiménez, R., Hernández-Juárez, A.M., López-Gaona, G. (2007). Depresión en adolescentes y funcionamiento familiar. Revista Médica del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social.
- National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health. Depression. (2009). The treatment and management of depression in adults (updated edition). National Clinical Practice Guideline Number 90. London: British Psychological Society and Royal College of Psychiatrists.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)