Stress is an adaptive response of the organism to a stimulus that is perceived as threatening and two types must be distinguished: acute and chronic.
For this reason, faced with confinement as a preventive measure due to coronavirus and with all the alterations of daily life, as well as general concern, the psychiatrist and psychotherapist Wáscar Verduzo recommends self-care and dedicate at least 30 minutes a day of pleasant activities; But if the symptoms become more acute and there is an inability to carry out daily activities, the numbers that the authorities have made available to the public for guidance should be called.
“With acute stress, it is estimated that a period of 30 days must pass for the organism to recover its basal state. When this time is exceeded, there is talk of chronic stress. At this time, we are under acute stress due to information on the pandemic, but if we have been informing ourselves about COVID-19 for months, when it was released, then there are many people who are already under chronic stress, “says Verduzco, a professor at the UNAM Faculty of Medicine.
The specialist details that chronic stress may not be adaptive because it generates a series of symptoms that will have a negative impact on daily life.
The symptoms are: emotional, physical and cognitive. Emotional symptoms manifest with low mood, increased anxiety, and irritability; Physicists can be identified with gastritis, colitis, headache, migraine, joint pain, fatigue, skin symptoms, eye symptoms of any nature, insomnia, difficulties in falling asleep and / or maintaining sleep.
“If a person already had irritable colon or nervous colitis, with chronic stress they could see their symptoms exacerbated, even if it is controlled with medication,” explains the specialist. While cognitive symptoms will manifest with frequent forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and / or making decisions.
“A person with chronic stress can present some or all of the symptoms. The more present, the more difficulties they will have to continue with their daily life, their family, social, work and school life. In this country, most of the country’s inhabitants have chronic stress and now, in the face of the pandemic, we have more stressors. Each person will have more or less difficulty managing them. If a person can continue with his life, we can talk about efficient stress management, “he explains. Verduzco remembers that the substance that causes stress symptoms is called cortisol, therefore it is necessary for the body to generate other substances that counteract its effects, such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, among others.
“When these chemicals are released, the person has a feeling of well-being, so it is very important for people to identify what are those activities of daily life that can bring gratification. For example, reading, listening to music, watching movies, Pray, do physical activity. Scientific evidence indicates that the minimum to counteract cortisol is 30 minutes a day of pleasant activity. It is time to spend that time for ourselves, it is always important, but in confinement it is much more recommended ” , indicates. And he adds: “There are people who feel gratified with the consumption of coffee, tobacco and alcohol, if they resort to the last two they must take into account that they will have unhealthy physical consequences, so I do not recommend it in any way.”
The specialist points out that, if a person has difficulties that prevent him from continuing with his daily life and has difficulty in his interpersonal relationships, he should go to the psychiatrist to identify if his symptoms have turned into mood disorders such as depression and anxiety that require pharmacological treatments.
“There will be those who do not need pharmacological treatment, but they do need psychotherapy or at least psychoeducational interventions; that is, if we have information about what is happening to us, we can reduce uncertainty, anxiety and mood stabilize, physical symptoms decrease and cognitive symptoms are muffled. If we are going to look for information, let us do it with serious and trustworthy sources “, indicates.
However, he warned that due to the instructions of the health authorities to stay in the homes and not saturate the health services, use the telephone numbers where you can receive guidance and if the person you are treating considers that medical intervention is necessary. , you should ask where to go. The telephones are 787-999-6202 (information line on COVID-19); 939-268-4319 (COVID-19 line of the Municipality of San Juan); and the PAS Line 1-800-981-0023.