Children & coronavirus infection (COVID-19): How to avoid post-traumatic stress disorder

May 06, 2020

COVID-19 is a pandemic that has forced many states to declare restrictive measures in order to prevent their wider spread. These measures are necessary to protect the health of adults, children and people with disabilities. Long quarantine periods could cause an increase in anxiety crisis, fear of contagion and post-traumatic stress disorder (frustration, boredom, isolation, fear, insomnia, difficulty concentrating).

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops as a consequence of one or more physical or psychological traumatic events, such as exposure to natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis; wars, torture, death threats; road accidents, robbery, air accidents; diseases with unfavorable prognosis; complicated or traumatic mourning; physical and sexual abuse and abuse during childhood; victimization and discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity. It can also develop following changes in lifestyle habits caused by the COCOVID-19 epidemic. The arrival of the pandemic caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the world is bringing families, teachers, educators and all the people who care for children every day. Long quarantine periods could cause an increase in anxiety crisis, fear of contagion and post-traumatic stress disorder (frustration, boredom, isolation, fear, insomnia, difficulty concentrating). It is important to speak calmly and directly to children.

The child may also be told that isolation is needed to avoid contact with the virus until we have effective drugs or a vaccine. For children, staying at home is not a problem, they are used to holidays; they spend their time playing, watching television, talking with family members, in some cases where the restrictive measures are not too strict, I can play outdoors. In these cases it is essential to reassure the children, to structure their day, to divide the times and spaces according to patterns and rhythms. We can say that based on previous quarantine experiences that long periods of isolation can lead to psychological symptoms such as emotional disturbances, depression, stress, mood disturbances, irritability, insomnia and signs of traumatic post-stress disorders. Therefore it is important to be able to explain to children what is happening and how to manage this traumatic event following the COVID-19 pandemic.
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