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HomeMedicinePsychology and PsychotherapyA review of the psychological impact of quarantine

A review of the psychological impact of quarantine

A recent review highlighted the psychological impact of quarantine and the ways to alleviate its effects. 

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the world drastically. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Several people who had potential exposure to the virus are being asked to isolate themselves or quarantine. Quarantine is the restriction of movement in public settings for individuals who have been exposed to infectious disease, to prevent the transmission of disease. The term is interchangeably used with isolation, which refers to the separation of an individual diagnosed with the disease from a healthy person. With the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases across the globe, several countries are declaring a state of emergency and asking people to self-isolate and quarantine. These efforts can have a subsequent psychological impact.

In a recent study, published in The Lancet, researchers reviewed the psychological impact of quarantine and suggested ways to reduce these effects. The researchers conducted a review of 24 papers from three electronic databases.

The analysis showed that quarantine causes considerable and long-lasting effects on the psychological well-being and mental health of an individual including irritability, frustration, and anger. Among the most common stressors for individuals in quarantine were fear of infection, boredom, financial loss, and incomplete information

Although quarantine can have a negative psychological impact, it is an important way in which to curb the spread of disease, in this case, COVID-19. According to the researchers, authorities should make sure that the experience is endurable by providing necessities including food, medical supplies, and water, along with initiating creative activities and providing clear information to the public.

Written by Sakina Bano Mendha


Brooks, S. K., Webster, R. K., Smith, L. E., Woodland, L., Wessely, S., Greenberg, N., & Rubin, G. J. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet, 395(10227), 912–920. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30460-8

Image by Pexels from Pixabay



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