11 August, 2022

Pandemic: Its effect on young people

Photo: Pixabay

Drag. Margarita Mendoza Burgos

When reflecting the Covid-19 pandemic in figures, statistics such as the number of infected are taken into account, fatalities, of recovered and vaccinated people. However, there are other data, perhaps just as important, that remain in a second or third plane.

One of them, definitely, is the psychological impact it has generated on the population, but especially in the young . While it does not appear in the daily reports of the figures, digging a bit in specialized sites it is evident that this has resulted in pictures of depression that in many cases go as far as self-harm or even attempted suicide.

Remember that adolescence is a period of tension for all young people, since changes are taking place at a physical and mental level.

The adolescent is rebellious by nature and not as a simple posture, rather, it is part of how he questions what was imposed in his previous stage with his own evaluations and adoption of behaviors that for the most part will be part of his adult personality.

On the other hand, there is a certain nostalgia for leaving that childhood that probably in most cases has been adequate and pleasant. In the midst of that stage full of conflicts, the pandemic erupts to deepen that "crisis."

Confinement occurred first: a very drastic change that affected them without being minimally prepared for it. On the other hand, months later, the return to classes in a partial or segmented way, it didn't help either. Unlike, that further encouraged exclusion. Well, surely since they are smaller groups, they had to choose even more who to add or exclude within an already limited environment, and with little chance of trial and error.

Maybe that's why, once internalized in the problem, We are struck by how suicide attempts in adolescents have increased during the pandemic. There is another more striking fact: while among men the increase was barely 3.7%, in the case of women, it rose to 51%. Four out of every five adolescents who came to an emergency unit with suspected suicide attempt were female.

The Covid 19, especially in times of quarantine, it modified the habits of many young people and limited their mobility.

As a consequence of the confinement, teenagers took refuge in social networks, which they used more than ever, from TikTok to Snapchat or Instagram. And that has a negative effect, particularly among women, who tend to compare themselves to friends - and even strangers- your same age. In them they tend to see an "enviable fabulous life" that has nothing to do with their "miserable" present.

The effect may be worse if the pandemic included the loss of work of some of the family members or, even more serious, if anyone died from this disease.

Well to loneliness, anxiety and frustration already provoked by adolescence, the pandemic and its restrictions joined, with which they have not been able to make a due duel what

of course it also affects. In the best of cases they have been able to express that regret with much pain and crying, but with the withdrawal of young people from adults at this stage and if they have few activities with their peers with whom they could do more catharsis, that relief will be more difficult.

In the end, may in most cases end up creating an unresolved duel. This may influence the expected pathologies at that age or, even worse, in emotional difficulties throughout their adult life.

It is true that there has always been a high number of self-injurious behaviors at this age, as explained above, but the pandemic has had an abysmal impact on our way of life and of which, being global, there is no way to escape. Thus, it is best to know how to treat it.

 Ideally, this depression in adolescents should be treated with professional therapy and in most cases supplemented with some type of medication., that well chosen and applied can lead to a prompt and satisfactory resolution of cases. Unfortunately, most doctors tend to use inappropriate doses of drugs and almost always in excess.

The adolescent is not yet an adult and should not be treated pharmacologically in the same way, In other words, lower doses must be applied, which should only be increased in case we do not achieve the expected result..

With my clinical practice I can assure that they tend to work better with low doses of drugs as well as possible., we must avoid polypharmacy.
If you have questions about whether your child is a victim of depression, there is always a way to know, no matter how hard they try to hide it: sudden changes in behavior, isolation, not be happy with things that used to give them pleasure, weight gain or loss, sleeping problems, regressive behaviors , excessive anxiety , self-harm, talk about life not worth it, Giving away your possessions are quite striking symptoms that should not be missed, it is just a matter of detecting any abnormality and acting on time.