I wrote the book on pandemic psychology. Post-Covid will take some getting used to – The Guardian

The pandemic changed everything about our lives: how we worked, socialised, travelled. Dealing with so many changes at once was a mental challenge for us all. As Covid-19 fizzles out, and things go back to “normal”, some of these pressures will ease as life becomes more recognisable. But the end of a pandemic will require an adjustment, just as the beginning did.

For a start, we are not entering the same “normal” that we left – and we are not the same people we were then. Some of us will face lingering mental health problems, including those who have developed severe, chronic grief over the loss of loved ones, or people who have developed post-traumatic stress disorder because of experiences with the disease.

A new vocabulary of psychological terms has blossomed during the pandemic. “Cave syndrome”, a fear of going out among the vaccinated; “coronaphobia”, an intense fear of catching the virus; and “Covid stress syndrome”. These neologisms provided labels that helped people to better understand their experiences and the experiences of those around them. But the terms, having served their purpose, will probably fall by the wayside once the pandemic is over, to be replaced with more conventional psychiatric labels – “agoraphobia’”, “adjustment disorder” – as described in the latest edition of the psychiatric bible, DSM-5-TR, due to be released next month.

Meanwhile, pandemics typically do not have clean, neat endings. Restrictions in England might be ending on Thursday, but it is unlikely that you’ll wake up one morning to news reports declaring that Covid has gone. It may take months or longer for some people to reassure themselves that the pandemic is truly over, and even longer for some to relax into activities that were fraught with risk for two years.

Many may suspect that the “end” of the pandemic is more a political construct than anything else. As pandemic fatigue set in, people became increasingly tired and frustrated with government restrictions on travel and socialisation. The growing weariness with Covid motivates some people, especially those who see the threat as overblown, to protest against remaining restrictions. Governments initially clamped down on …….

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/24/pandemic-psychology-end-covid-pandemic-normal

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